Cyclotomic fast Fourier transform

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The cyclotomic fast Fourier transform is a type of fast Fourier transform algorithm over finite fields.[1] This algorithm first decomposes a DFT into several circular convolutions, and then derives the DFT results from the circular convolution results. When applied to a DFT over GF(2m), this algorithm has a very low multiplicative complexity. In practice, since there usually exist efficient algorithms for circular convolutions with specific lengths, this algorithm is very efficient.[2]


The discrete Fourier transform over finite fields finds widespread application in the decoding of error-correcting codes such as BCH codes and Reed–Solomon codes. Generalized from the complex field, a discrete Fourier transform of a sequence \{f_i\}_{0}^{N-1} over a finite field GF(pm) is defined as

F_j=\sum_{i=0}^{N-1}f_i\alpha^{ij}, 0\le j\le N-1,

where \alpha is the N-th primitive root of 1 in GF(pm). If we define the polynomial representation of \{f_i\}_{0}^{N-1} as

f(x) = f_0+f_1x+f_2x^2+\cdots+f_{N-1}x^{N-1}=\sum_{0}^{N-1}f_ix^i,

it is easy to see that F_j is simply f(\alpha^j). That is, the discrete Fourier transform of a sequence converts it to a polynomial evaluation problem.

Written in matrix format,

\mathbf{F}=\left[\begin{matrix}F_0\\F_1\\ \vdots \\ F_{N-1}\end{matrix}\right]=
\alpha^0&\alpha^0 &\cdots & \alpha^0\\
\alpha^0 & \alpha^1 &\cdots &\alpha^{N-1}\\
\vdots &\vdots & \ddots & \vdots \\
\alpha^{0} & \alpha^{N-1} &\cdots & \alpha^{(N-1)(N-1)}

Direct evaluation of DFT has an O(N^2) complexity. Fast Fourier transforms are just efficient algorithms evaluating the above matrix-vector product.


First, we define a linearized polynomial over GF(pm) as

L(x) = \sum_{i} l_i x^{p^i}, l_i \in \mathrm{GF}(p^m).

L(x) is called linearized because L(x_1+x_2) = L(x_1) + L(x_2), which comes from the fact that for elements x_1,x_2 \in \mathrm{GF}(p^m),(x_1+x_2)^p=x_1^p+x_2^p.

Notice that p is invertible modulo N because N must divide the order p^m-1 of the multiplicative group of the field \mathrm{GF}(p^m). So, the elements \{0, 1, 2, \ldots, N-1\} can be partitioned into l+1 cyclotomic cosets modulo N:

\{k_1, pk_1, p^2k_1, \ldots, p^{m_1-1}k_1\},
\{k_l, pk_l, p^2k_l, \ldots, p^{m_l-1}k_l\},

where k_i=p^{m_i}k_i \pmod{N}. Therefore, the input to the Fourier transform can be rewritten as

f(x)=\sum_{i=0}^l L_i(x^{k_i}),\quad L_i(y) = \sum_{t=0}^{m_i-1}y^{p^t}f_{p^tk_i\bmod{N}}.

In this way, the polynomial representation is decomposed into a sum of linear polynomials, and hence F_j is given by


Expanding \alpha^{jk_i} \in \mathrm{GF}(p^{m_i}) with the proper basis \{\beta_{i,0}, \beta_{i,1}, \ldots, \beta_{i,m_i-1}\}, we have \alpha^{jk_i} = \sum_{s=0}^{m_i-1}a_{ijs}\beta_{i,s} where a_{ijs} \in \mathrm{GF}(p), and by the property of the linearized polynomial L_i(x), we have


This equation can be rewritten in matrix form as \mathbf{F}=\mathbf{AL\Pi f}, where \mathbf{A} is an N\times N matrix over GF(p) that contains the elements a_{ijs}, \mathbf{L} is a block diagonal matrix, and \mathbf{\Pi} is a permutation matrix regrouping the elements in \mathbf{f} according to the cyclotomic coset index.

Note that if the normal basis \{\gamma_i^{p^0}, \gamma_i^{p^1}, \cdots, \gamma_i^{p^{m_i-1}}\} is used to expand the field elements of \mathrm{GF}(p^{m_i}), the i-th block of \mathbf{L} is given by:

  \gamma_i^{p^0}  &\gamma_i^{p^1}  &\cdots  &\gamma_i^{p^{m_i-1}}\\
  \gamma_i^{p^1}  &\gamma_i^{p^2}  &\cdots  &\gamma_i^{p^{0}}\\
  \vdots & \vdots & \ddots & \vdots\\
  \gamma_i^{p^{m_i-1}}  &\gamma_i^{p^0}  &\cdots  &\gamma_i^{p^{m_i-2}}\\

which is a circulant matrix. It is well known that a circulant matrix-vector product can be efficiently computed by convolutions. Hence we successfully reduce the discrete Fourier transform into short convolutions.


When applied to a characteristic-2 field GF(2m), the matrix \mathbf{A} is just a binary matrix. Only addition is used when calculating the matrix-vector product of \mathrm{A} and \mathrm{L\Pi f}. It has been shown that the multiplicative complexity of the cyclotomic algorithm is given by O(n(\log_2n)^{\log_2\frac{3}{2}}), and the additive complexity is given by O(n^2/(\log_2 n)^{\log_2\frac{8}{3}}).[2]


  1. ^ S.V. Fedorenko and P.V. Trifonov, Fedorenko, S. V.; Trifonov, P. V.. (2003). "On Computing the Fast Fourier Transform over Finite Fields". Proceedings of International Workshop on Algebraic and Combinatorial Coding Theory: 108–111. 
  2. ^ a b Wu, Xuebin; Wang, Ying; Yan, Zhiyuan (2012). "On Algorithms and Complexities of Cyclotomic Fast Fourier Transforms Over Arbitrary Finite Fields". IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing 60 (3): 1149–1158. doi:10.1109/tsp.2011.2178844.