In Galois theory, a branch of modern algebra, a generic polynomial for a finite group G and field F is a monic polynomial P with coefficients in the field L = F(t1, ..., tn) of F with n indeterminates adjoined, such that the splitting field M of P has Galois group G over L, and such that every extension K/F with Galois group G can be obtained as the splitting field of a polynomial which is the specialization of P resulting from setting the n indeterminates to n elements of F. This is sometimes called F-generic relative to the field F, with a Q-generic polynomial, generic relative to the rational numbers, being called simply generic.
The existence, and especially the construction, of a generic polynomial for a given Galois group provides a complete solution to the inverse Galois problem for that group. However, not all Galois groups have generic polynomials, a counterexample being the cyclic group of order eight.
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