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integer.

Example (i) Find an integer x for which 56x 1 mod 93.

Solution We have already solved this in the previous Chapter. Starting with

a = 93 and b = 56 we used Euclids Algorithm to show that

93 (3) + 56 5 = 1

Modulo 93 this gives 56 5 1 mod 93. Hence x = 5 is a solution.

We can attempt to solve all such linear congruences by using Euclids

Algorithm.

Example (ii) Find all integers x for which 5x 12 mod 19.

Solution If x is an integer solution, then 5x = 12 + 19t for some t Z, or

5x 19t = 12. Such pairs (x, t) can be found by Euclids Algorithm. Since

gcd (5, 19) = 1 which divides 12, this method will give solutions. Start with

19 = 3 5 + 4

5 = 1 4 + 1,

Work back to get

Thus

1 = 514

= 5 1 (19 3 5)

1 = 4 5 1 19.

Multiply by 12 to get

5 48 19 12 = 12,

(1)

Looking at (1) modulo 19 all multiples of 19 disappear and we get 548

12 mod 19. Hence a particular answer to 5x 12 mod 19 is x = 48.

For the general solution a method is to start with the trivial

5 19 19 5 = 0.

1

Then multiplying by `, so

5 19` 19 5` = 0

for all ` Z. Add this to (1) to get

5(48 + 19`) 19 (12 + 5`) = 12

for any ` Z. Thus all solutions to 5x 12 mod 19 are given by x = 48+19`,

` Z, which is the same as x 48 mod 19, itself the same as x 10 mod 19.

Example (iii) Solve 4043x 25 mod 166361.

Solution We have seen this in the previous Chapter. For if this congruence

has a solution then

166361 (t) + 4043x = 25

for some integers x and t. Yet since gcd (166361, 4043) = 13 and 13 - 25,

this diophantine equation has no integer solution. Contradiction. Hence the

congruence has no integer solutions.

Example (iv) Find all solutions in integers x to 15x 12 mod 57.

Solution To solve 15x 12 mod 57 we will solve 15x = 12 + 57t, i.e. 15x

57t = 12 for x, t Z. Start from

57 = 3 15 + 12

15 = 1 12 + 3

12 = 4 3 + 0

to see that gcd (57, 15) = 3. Since 3|12 the equation 15x 57t = 12 and thus

the congruence will have solutions. Working back we see that

3 = 15 1 12

= 15 (57 3 15) .

Thus 57 (1) + 15 4 = 3. Multiply by 4 to get

57 (4) + 15 16 = 12.

(2)

modulo 57 we see that 15 16 = 12 mod 67 so a solution of 15x 12 mod 57

is x0 = 16.

15x0 57t0 = 12

15x 57t = 12.

Subtract to get

15 (x0 x) 57 (t0 t) = 0,

(3)

cannot deduce that 15| (t0 t) since gcd (15, 57) 6= 1. Instead divide all terms

in (3) by gcd (15, 57) = 3 to get

5 (x0 x) = 19 (t0 t) .

(4)

This time

5|LHS 5|19 (t0 t) 5| (t0 t) ,

since gcd (5, 19) = 1. Thus t0 t = 5` for ` Z. Substitute back into (4) to

get 5 (x0 x) = 19 5` or x0 x = 19`. Hence the general solution to (2) is

(x, t) = (x0 19`, t0 5`) = (16 19`, 4 5`)

for ` Z. So all the solutions to 15x 12 mod 57 are given by 1619`, ` Z.

This could be written as x 16 mod 19. But it is more usual to express the answer in the same modulus, 57, as the question. Varying `(=

0, 1, 2, 3, ...) we find solutions ..., 16, 35, 54, 73, ... . But 73 16 mod 57

and so after 16, 35 and 54 we are not getting new solutions, mod 57. Whereas

16, 35 and 54 are not congruent (i.e. are incongruent) mod 57. So we give

the solutions to 15x 12 mod 57 as

x 16, 35, 54 mod 57.

Note that the number of incongruent solutions here equals 3, which is

the same as gcd (57, 19). This is not a coincidence, as can be seen in the

following.

Theorem The congruence ax c (mod m) is soluble in integers if, and only

if, gcd (a, m) |c. The number of incongruent solutions modulo m is gcd (a, m).

Proof The ideas for this proof can be found around p.244 and are not given

here.

Example Solve 5x 6 mod 19.

Solution TRICK Note that we can change any coefficients by adding multiples of 19, as in

6 5x (5 + 19) x 24x mod 19.

Now both 6 and 24 are divisible by 6, which is coprime to 19. Thus by the

Theorem (ii) above we deduce that 4x 1 mod 19. In turn

4x 1 1 + 19 20 mod 19.

Both 4 and 20 are divisible by 4 which is coprime to 19 and so we can use

Theorem (ii) again to deduce x 5 mod 19.

A more important method uses

Definition If a0 is a solution of the congruence ax 1 (mod m) then a0 is

called the (multiplicative) inverse of a modulo m and we say that a is

invertible.

Note The congruence ax 1 (mod m) has solutions if, and only if, gcd (a, m) |1,

i.e. gcd (a, m) = 1. Thus a has an inverse modulo m iff a and m are coprime.

Example Above we solved 56x 1 mod 93, finding x = 5. Hence 5 is the

inverse of 56 modulo 93 (and also, 56 is the inverse of 5 modulo 93.)

If we can find the multiplicative inverse to a mod m we can then solve

ax b mod m by multiplying both sides by a0 to get

x (a0 a) x a0 (ax) a0 b mod m.

Solution Multiply both sides of the equation by the inverse of 53 mod 93,

i.e. 5, to get 280x 115 mod 93, i.e.

x 115 22 mod 93.

4

The advantage of finding the inverse is that once found we can solve each

of 56x b mod 93, for any b Z.

And of course, if 5 is the inverse of 53 mod 93 then 53 is the inverse of

5 mod 93. This fact can be used in:

Example Solve 5x 23 mod 93.

Solution Multiply both sides of the equation by the inverse of 5 mod 93, i.e.

56, to get 280x 1288 mod 93, that is,.

x 1288 79 mod 93.

Advice, use these techniques of either adding multiples of the modulus to

the coefficients or finding inverses to solve congruences if it doesnt take you

too long to do. If in doubt, use Euclids Algorithm to solve ax b mod m.

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