Discrete valuation

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In mathematics, a discrete valuation is an integer valuation on a field K; that is, a function

satisfying the conditions

for all .

Note that often the trivial valuation which takes on only the values is explicitly excluded.

A field with a non-trivial discrete valuation is called a discrete valuation field.

Discrete valuation rings and valuations on fields[edit]

To every field with discrete valuation we can associate the subring

of , which is a discrete valuation ring. Conversely, the valuation on a discrete valuation ring can be extended in a unique way to a discrete valuation on the quotient field ; the associated discrete valuation ring is just .


  • For a fixed prime and for any element different from zero write with such that does not divide , then is a discrete valuation on , called the p-adic valuation.
  • Given a Riemann surface , we can consider the field of meromorphic functions . For a fixed point , we define a discrete valuation on as follows: if and only if is the largest integer such that the function can be extended to a holomorphic function at . This means: if then has a root of order at the point ; if then has a pole of order at . In a similar manner, one also defines a discrete valuation on the function field of an algebraic curve for every regular point on the curve.

More examples can be found in the article on discrete valuation rings.


  • Fesenko, Ivan B.; Vostokov, Sergei V. (2002), Local fields and their extensions, Translations of Mathematical Monographs, 121 (Second ed.), Providence, RI: American Mathematical Society, ISBN 978-0-8218-3259-2, MR 1915966