In mathematics, a **symmetric polynomial** is a polynomial *P*(*X*_{1}, *X*_{2}, …, *X*_{n}) in *n* variables, such that if any of the variables are interchanged, one obtains the same polynomial. Formally, *P* is a *symmetric polynomial*, if for any permutation σ of the subscripts 1, 2, ..., *n* one has *P*(*X*_{σ(1)}, *X*_{σ(2)}, …, *X*_{σ(n)}) = *P*(*X*_{1}, *X*_{2}, …, *X*_{n}).

Symmetric polynomials arise naturally in the study of the relation between the roots of a polynomial in one variable and its coefficients, since the coefficients can be given by polynomial expressions in the roots, and all roots play a similar role in this setting. From this point of view the elementary symmetric polynomials are the most fundamental symmetric polynomials. A theorem states that any symmetric polynomial can be expressed in terms of elementary symmetric polynomials, which implies that every *symmetric* polynomial expression in the roots of a monic polynomial can alternatively be given as a polynomial expression in the coefficients of the polynomial.

Symmetric polynomials also form an interesting structure by themselves, independently of any relation to the roots of a polynomial. In this context other collections of specific symmetric polynomials, such as complete homogeneous, power sum, and Schur polynomials play important roles alongside the elementary ones. The resulting structures, and in particular the ring of symmetric functions, are of great importance in combinatorics and in representation theory.

Read more about Symmetric Polynomial: Examples, Relation With The Roots of A Monic Univariate Polynomial, Special Kinds of Symmetric Polynomials, Symmetric Polynomials in Algebra, Alternating Polynomials

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