Mahler’s measure for polynomials in several variables

  • David W. Boyd

    Department of Mathematics, Univ. of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z2, Canada


If P(x1,,xk)P(x_1, \ldots, x_k) is a polynomial with complex coefficients, the Mahler measure of PP, M(P)M(P), is defined to be the geometric mean of P|P| over the kk-torus, Tk\mathbb{T}^k. We briefly describe Mahler's motivation for defining this function and his applications of it to polynomial inequalities. We then describe how this function occurs naturally in the study of Lehmer's problem concerning the set of all measures of one-variable polynomials with integer coefficients. We describe work of Deninger which shows how Mahler measure arises in the study of the far-reaching Beĭlinson conjectures and leads to surprising conjectural explicit formulas for some measures of multivariable polynomials. Finally we describe some of the recent work of many authors proving some of these formulas by a variety of different methods.