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On the Carlitz rank of permutation polynomials. (English) Zbl 1232.11124
Summary: A well-known result of L. Carlitz [Proc. Am. Math. Soc. 4, 538 (1953; Zbl 0052.03704)], that any permutation polynomial \(p(x)\) of a finite field \(\mathbb F_q\) is a composition of linear polynomials and the monomial \(x(q-2)\) implies that \(p(x)\) can be represented by a polynomial \(P_n(x) = (...((a(0)x + a(1))(q-2) + a(2))(q-2)...+ a(n))(q-2) + a(n+1)\). for some \(n\geq 0\). The smallest integer \(n\), such that \(P_n(x)\) represents \(p(x)\) is of interest since it is the least number of “inversions” \(x(q-2)\), needed to obtain \(p(x)\). We define the Carlitz rank of \(p(x)\) as \(n\), and focus here on the problem of evaluating it. We also obtain results on the enumeration of permutations of \(\mathbb F_q\) with a fixed Carlitz rank.

MSC:
11T06 Polynomials over finite fields
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