p-adic order

In number theory, for a given prime number p, the p-adic order or p-adic valuation of a non-zero integer n is the highest exponent such that divides n. The p-adic valuation of 0 is defined to be infinity. The p-adic valuation is commonly denoted . If n/d is a rational number in lowest terms, so that n and d are coprime, then is equal to if p divides n, or if p divides d, or to 0 if it divides neither. The most important application of the p-adic order is in constructing the field of p-adic numbers. It is also applied toward various more elementary topics, such as the distinction between singly and doubly even numbers.[1]

Definition and properties


Let p be a prime number. The p-adic order or p-adic valuation for is the function [2] defined by

where denotes the natural numbers.

For example, since .

Rational numbers

The p-adic order can be extended into the rational numbers as the function [3] defined by

For example, .

Some properties are:

Moreover, if , then

where inf is the infimum (i.e. the smaller of the two).

p-adic absolute value

The p-adic absolute value on is defined as |·|p :

For example, and .

The p-adic absolute value satisfies the following properties.


The symmetry follows from multiplicativity and subadditivity from the non-Archimedean triangle inequality .

A metric space can be formed on the set with a (non-Archimedean, translation-invariant) metric defined by d : ×

The p-adic absolute value is sometimes referred to as the "p-adic norm", although it is not actually a norm because it does not satisfy the requirement of homogeneity.

The choice of base p in the formula makes no difference for most of the properties, but results in the product formula:

where the product is taken over all primes p and the usual absolute value (Archimedean norm), denoted . This follows from simply taking the prime factorization: each prime power factor contributes its reciprocal to its p-adic absolute value, and then the usual Archimedean absolute value cancels all of them.

See also


  1. Dummit, David S.; Foote, Richard M. (2003). Abstract Algebra (3rd ed.). Wiley. ISBN 0-471-43334-9.
  2. Ireland, K.; Rosen, M. (2000). A Classical Introduction to Modern Number Theory. New York: Springer-Verlag. p. 3.
  3. Khrennikov, A.; Nilsson, M. (2004). p-adic Deterministic and Random Dynamics. Kluwer Academic Publishers. p. 9.
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