# 12. Hilbert Polynomials and Bézout s Theorem

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1 12. Hilbert Polynomials and Bézout s Theorem Hilbert Polynomials and Bézout s Theorem After our study of smooth cubic surfaces in the last chapter, let us now come back to the general theory of algebraic geometry. Our main goal of this chapter will be to determine the number of intersection points of given varieties (in case this number is finite). For example, let X and Y be two plane curves, with (principal) ideals generated by two polynomials f and g, respectively. If they do not have a common irreducible component, their intersection will be zero-dimensional, and we can ask for the number of points in X Y. We will see in Bézout s Theorem as in Corollaries (b) and (b) that this number of points is at most deg f degg, and that we can even make this an equality if we count the points with suitable multiplicities. We have seen a special case of this already in Exercise 4.13, where one of the two curves was a line or a conic. In particular, this statement means that the number of points in X Y (counted with multiplicities) depends only on the degrees of the defining polynomials, and not on the polynomials themselves. One can view this as a direct generalization of the statement that a degree-d polynomial in one variable always has d zeroes, again counted with multiplicities. In order to set up a suitable framework for Bézout s Theorem, we have to take note of the following two technical observations: As mentioned above, we have to define suitable intersection multiplicities, e. g. for two plane curves X and Y. We have motivated in Remark 1.27 already that such multiplicities are encoded in the (possibly non-radical) ideal I(X) + I(Y ). Most constructions in this chapter are therefore based on ideals rather than on varieties, and consequently commutative algebra will play a somewhat greater role than before. The simplest example of Bézout s Theorem is that two distinct lines in the plane always meet in one point. This would clearly be false in the affine setting, where two such lines might be parallel. We therefore have to work with projective varieties that can have intersection points at infinity in such cases. Taking these two points into account, we see that our main objects of study will have to be homogeneous ideals in polynomial rings. The central concept that we will need is the Hilbert function of such an ideal. Definition 12.1 (Hilbert functions). (a) Let I K[x 0,...,x n ] be a homogeneous ideal. Then K[x 0,...,x n ]/I is a finite-dimensional graded K-algebra by Lemma 6.10 (c). We can therefore define the function 19 h I : N N, d dim K K[x 0,...,x n ] d /I d encoding the dimensions of the graded parts of this quotient algebra. It is called the Hilbert function of I. (b) For a projective variety X P n we set h X := h I(X), so that h X : N N, d dim K S(X) d, where S(X) = K[x 0,...,x n ]/I(X) is the homogeneous coordinate ring of X as in Construction We call h X the Hilbert function of X. Remark Note that the Hilbert function of an ideal is invariant under projective automorphisms as in Example 7.6 (a): an invertible matrix corresponding to an automorphism P n P n also defines an isomorphism A n+1 A n+1, and hence by Corollary 4.8 an isomorphism K[x 0,...,x n ] K[x 0,...,x n ] of K-algebras. As this isomorphism respects the grading, any ideal has the same Hilbert function as its image under this isomorphism.

2 96 Andreas Gathmann Example (a) The Hilbert function of P n is given by h P n(d) = dim K K[x 0,...,x n ] d = ( n+d) n for d N. (b) Let I K[x 0,...,x n ] be a homogeneous ideal with V p (I) = /0. Then I = (x 0,...,x n ) or I = (1) by the projective Nullstellensatz of Proposition In both cases we have x k i for suitable k i N for all i. This means that all monomials of degree at least k := k 0 + +k n are contained in I. Hence I d = K[x 0,...,x n ] d for all d k, or in other words h I (d) = 0 for almost all d N, where as usual we use the term almost all for all but finitely many. (c) Let X = {a} P n be a single point. To compute its Hilbert function we may assume by Remark 12.2 that this point is a = (1:0: :0), so that its ideal is I(a) = (x 1,...,x n ). Then S(X) = K[x 0,...,x n ]/I(a) = K[x 0 ], and hence Exercise Compute the Hilbert function of... (a) the ideal (x 2 0 x2 1,x3 0 ) K[x 0,x 1 ]; (b) two intersecting lines in P 3 ; (c) two non-intersecting lines in P 3. h X (d) = 1 for all d N. In order to work with Hilbert functions it is convenient to adopt the language of exact sequences from commutative algebra. The only statement that we will need about them is the following. Lemma and Definition 12.5 (Exact sequences). Let f : U V and g : V W be linear maps of vector spaces over K. Assume that f is injective, g is surjective, and that im f = kerg. These assumptions are usually summarized by saying that is an exact sequence [G5, Chapter 4]. Then dim K V = dim K U + dim K W. 0 U f V g W 0 i I Proof. This is just standard linear algebra: we have dim K V = dim K kerg + dim K img = dim K im f + dim K img = dim K U + dim K W, with the last equation following since f is injective and g is surjective. Proposition For any two homogeneous ideals I,J K[x 0,...,x n ] we have h I J + h I+J = h I + h J. Proof. Set R = K[x 0,...,x n ]. It is easily checked that 0 R/(I J) R/I R/J R/(I + J) 0 f ( f, f ) ( ) f,g f g is an exact sequence. Taking its degree-d part and applying Lemma 12.5 gives the desired result. Example (a) Let X and Y be disjoint projective varieties in P n. Then I(X) I(Y ) = I(X Y ) by Remark Moreover, by the same remark the ideal I(X) + I(Y ) has empty zero locus since V (I(X) + I(Y )) = V (I(X)) V (I(Y )) = X Y = /0, and hence its Hilbert function is almost everywhere zero by Example 12.3 (b). Proposition 12.6 thus implies that h X Y (d) = h X (d) + h Y (d) for almost all d N.

3 12. Hilbert Polynomials and Bézout s Theorem 97 In particular, this means by Example 12.3 (c) that for a finite set X = {a 1,...,a r } of r points we have h X (d) = r for almost all d N. (b) Let I = (x 2 1 ) K[x 0,x 1 ]. It is a non-radical ideal whose projective zero locus consists of the single point (1:0) P 1. In fact, it can be viewed as an ideal describing this point with multiplicity 2 as in Remark The Hilbert function remembers this multiplicity: as K[x 0,x 1 ] d /I d has basis x0 d and xd 1 0 x 1 for d 1, we see that h I (d) = 2 for almost all d, in the same way as for the Hilbert function of two distinct points as in (a). (c) Let X P 2 be the union of three points lying on a line. Then there is a homogeneous linear polynomial in K[x 0,x 1,x 2 ] vanishing on X, so that dim K I(X) 1 = 1. Hence h X (1) = dim K K[x 0,x 1,x 2 ] 1 /I(X) 1 = 3 1 = 2. On the other hand, if X consists of three points not on a line, then no linear polynomial vanishes on X, and consequently h X (1) = dim K K[x 0,x 1,x 2 ] 1 /I(X) 1 = 3 0 = 3. So in particular, we see that in contrast to Remark 12.2 the Hilbert function is not invariant under arbitrary isomorphisms, since any set of three points is isomorphic to any other such set. Together with the result of (a), for a finite set X P n we can say intuitively that h X (d) encodes the number of points in X for large values of d, whereas it gives some information on the relative position of these points for small values of d. Note that the intersection X Y of two varieties X and Y corresponds to the sum of their ideals. To obtain a formula for the number of points in X Y we therefore have to compute the Hilbert functions of sums of ideals. The following lemma will help us to do this in the case when one of the ideals is principal. Lemma Let I K[x 0,...,x n ] be a homogeneous ideal, and let f K[x 0,...,x n ] be a homogeneous polynomial of degree e. Assume that there is a number d 0 N with the following property: for all homogeneous g K[x 0,...,x n ] of degree at least d 0 with f g I we have g I. Then h I+( f ) (d) = h I (d) h I (d e) for almost all d N. Proof. Let R = K[x 0,...,x n ]. There is an exact sequence 0 R d e /I d e f R d /I d R d /(I + ( f )) d 0 for all d with d e d 0, where the second map is just the quotient map. In fact, it is obvious that this quotient map is surjective, and that its kernel is exactly the image of the first map. The injectivity of the first map is precisely the assumption of the lemma. The desired statement now follows immediately from Lemma Before we can apply this lemma, we have to analyze the geometric meaning of the somewhat technical assumption that f g I implies g I for all polynomials g (of sufficiently large degree). Remark Assume that I = I(X) is the (radical) ideal of a projective variety X. Consider the irreducible decomposition X = X 1 X r of X, so that I = I(X 1 ) I(X r ) by Remark 6.23 (c). We claim that the assumption of Lemma 12.8 is then satisfied if f does not vanish identically on any X i. In fact, in this case f is non-zero in the integral domain S(X i ) for all i (see Exercise 6.31 (b)). Hence g f I, i. e. g f = 0 S(X i ), implies g = 0 S(X i ) for all i, and thus g I. If I is not radical, a similar statement holds but in order for this to work we need to be able to decompose I as an intersection of ideals corresponding to irreducible varieties again. This so-called primary decomposition of I is one of the main topics in the Commutative Algebra class [G5, Chapter 8]. We will therefore just quote the results that we are going to need.

4 98 Andreas Gathmann Remark (Primary decompositions). Let I K[x 0,...,x n ] be an arbitrary ideal. Then there is a decomposition I = I 1 I r into primary ideals I 1,...,I r, which means by definition that g f I i implies g I i or f I i for all i and all polynomials f,g K[x 0,...,x n ] [G5, Definition 8.9 and Proposition 8.16]. Moreover, this decomposition satisfies the following properties: (a) The zero loci V a (I i ) are irreducible: by Proposition 2.9 and the Nullstellensatz, this is the same as saying that K[x 0,...,x n ]/ I i is an integral domain. So assume that f and g are two polynomials with g f I i. Then g k f k I i for some k N. But this implies that g k I i or f k I i since I i is primary, and hence that g I i or f Ii = I i. (b) Applying Remark 1.25 (c) to our decomposition, we see that V a (I) = V a (I 1 ) V a (I r ). In particular, by (a) all irreducible components of V a (I) must be among the varieties V a (I 1 ),...,V a (I r ). Moreover, we can assume that no two of these varieties coincide: if V a (I i ) = V a (I j ) for some i j, i. e. by the Nullstellensatz I i = I j, we can replace the two ideals I i and I j by the single ideal I i I j in the decomposition, which is easily seen to be primary again. However, it may well happen that there are (irreducible) varieties among V a (I 1 ),...,V a (I r ) that are strictly contained in an irreducible component of V a (I) [G5, Example 8.23]. These varieties are usually called the embedded components of I. In the primary decomposition, the ideals corresponding to the irreducible components are uniquely determined, whereas the ones corresponding to the embedded components are usually not [G5, Example 8.23 and Proposition 8.34]. Using these primary decompositions, we can now show for a homogeneous ideal I K[x 0,...,x n ] that, by a suitable homogeneous linear change of coordinates, we can always achieve that f = x 0 satisfies the condition of Lemma In fact, assume that g is a homogeneous polynomial such that gx 0 I i for all i. We distinguish two cases: If V a (I i ) {0} then I i (x 0,...,x n ) by the Nullstellensatz. Hence K[x 0,...,x n ] d I i for large d in the same way as in Example 12.3 (b), which means that g I i if the degree of g is big enough. If V a (I i ) {0} a general homogeneous linear change of coordinates will assure that V a (I i ) is not contained in the hypersurface V a (x 0 ). Then x 0 is not identically zero on V a (I i ), so that x 0 / I a (V a (I i )) = I i. Since I i is primary, we conclude that g I i. Let us now come back to our study of Hilbert functions. We have already seen that the important information in h I concerning the number of intersection points of varieties is contained in its values h I (d) for large d. We therefore have to study the behavior of h I (d) as d. The central result in this direction is that the Hilbert function is eventually polynomial, with particularly the degree and the leading coefficient of this polynomial deserving special attention. Proposition and Definition (Hilbert polynomials). Let I K[x 0,...,x n ] be a homogeneous ideal. Then there is a unique polynomial χ I Q[d] such that χ I (d) = h I (d) for almost all d N. Moreover, (a) The degree of χ I is m := dimv p (I). (b) If V p (I) /0, the leading coefficient of χ I is m! 1 times a positive integer. The polynomial χ I is called the Hilbert polynomial of I. For a projective variety X P n we set χ X := χ I(X).

5 12. Hilbert Polynomials and Bézout s Theorem 99 Proof. It is obvious that a polynomial with infinitely many fixed values is unique. So let us prove the existence of χ I by induction on m = dimv p (I). The start of the induction follows from Example 12.3 (b): for V p (I) = /0 we obtain the zero polynomial χ I. Let us now assume that V p (I) /0. By a homogeneous linear change of coordinates (which does not affect the Hilbert function by Remark 12.2) we can assume that the polynomial x 0 does not vanish identically on any irreducible component of V p (I). Hence dimv p (I + (x 0 )) m 1, and so by our induction on m we know that d h I+(x0 )(d) is a polynomial of degree at most m 1 for large d. For reasons that will be apparent later, let us choose ( d) ( 0,..., d ) as a basis of the vector space of polynomials in d of degree at most m 1, so that for suitable c 0,...,c Q we can write h I+(x0 )(d) = c i ( d i ) for almost all d N. Moreover, by Remark we can assume that Lemma 12.8 is applicable for f = x 0, so that ( ) d h I (d) h I (d 1) = h I+(x0 )(d) = c i for almost all d N. (1) i We will now show by induction on d that there is a constant c Q such that ( ) d + 1 h I (d) = c + c i for almost all d N. (2) i + 1 The start of the induction is trivial, since we can always adjust c so that this equation holds at a single value of d (chosen so that (1) holds for all larger values of d). But then for all larger d we have ( ) d + 1 (( ) ( )) d + 1 d + 1 ( ) d + 2 h I (d + 1) = h I (d) + c i = c + i c i + = c + i + 1 i c i i + 1 by (1) and the induction assumption. As the right hand side of (2) is a polynomial in d (of degree at most m), this proves the existence of χ I. Finally, if V p (I) /0 let us show that the d m -coefficient of χ I is m! 1 times a positive integer, thus proving the additional statements (a) and (b). We will do this again by induction on m. m = 0: In this case χ I is a constant, and it is clearly a non-negative integer, since it is by definition the dimension of K[x 0,...,x n ] d /I d for large d. Moreover, it cannot be zero, since otherwise I d = K[x 0,...,x n ] d for some d, which implies x d i I d for all i and thus V p (I) = /0. m > 0: In this case V p (I) has an irreducible component of dimension m (and none of bigger dimension). In our proof above, the zero locus of x 0 on this component is non-empty by Exercise 6.32 (b), and of dimension by Proposition 2.25 (c). Hence dimv p (I +(x 0 )) = m 1, and so by induction χ I+(x0 ) is a polynomial of degree m 1, with (m 1)! times the leading coefficient being a positive integer. But note that in the proof above this integer is just c, which is then also m! times the leading coefficient of χ I by (2). Remark Of course, all our statements concerning the values of the Hilbert function d h I (d) at large values of d can be transferred immediately to the Hilbert polynomial. For example, Example 12.3 implies that χ I = 0 (as a polynomial) if V p (I) = /0, and χ I = 1 if I is the ideal of a point. Similar statements hold for Proposition 12.6, Example 12.7, and Lemma Definition (Degree). Let I K[x 0,...,x n ] be a homogeneous ideal with non-empty projective zero locus, and let m = dimv p (I). Then m! times the leading coefficient of χ I, which is a positive integer by Proposition 12.11, is called the degree degi of I. The reason for this name will become clear in Example For a projective variety X, its degree is defined as degx := degi(x). Example (a) The degree of P n is n! times the d n -coefficient of dim K K[x 0,...,x n ] d = ( n+d) n, i. e. degp n = 1. By Example 12.3 (c), the degree of a single point is 1 as well.

6 100 Andreas Gathmann 20 More generally, if X P n is any linear space then its homogeneous coordinate ring is isomorphic to a polynomial ring, and hence as above degx = 1 again. (b) Let X and Y be projective varieties in P n of the same dimension m, and assume that they do not have a common irreducible component. Then the zero locus X Y of I(X) + I(Y ) has dimension smaller than m, so that χ I(X)+I(Y ) has degree less than m. Moreover, we have I(X) I(Y ) = I(X Y ), and hence considering m! times the degree-m coefficients in the Hilbert polynomials of I(X) I(Y ), I(X) + I(Y ), I(X), and I(Y ) yields deg(x Y ) = degx + degy by Proposition 12.6 (which of course holds for the Hilbert polynomials as well as for the Hilbert functions). (c) Let I K[x 0,...,x n ] be a homogeneous ideal with finite zero locus, consisting of r points. Then χ I = r by Example 12.7 (a). But I I also implies χ I χ I, and so we conclude that degi = χ I χ I = r. In fact, in Corollary we will refine this statement by interpreting degi as a sum of multiplicities for each point in V p (I), with each of these multiplicities being a positive integer. Exercise (a) Show that the degree of the Segre embedding of P m P n is ( n+m) n. (b) Show that the degree of the degree-d Veronese embedding of P n is d n. We are now ready to prove the main result of this chapter. Proposition (Bézout s Theorem). Let X P n be a projective variety of dimension at least 1, and let f K[x 0,...,x n ] be a homogeneous polynomial that does not vanish identically on any irreducible component of X. Then deg(i(x) + ( f )) = degx deg f. Proof. Let m = dimx. By Definition 12.13, the Hilbert polynomial of X is given by χ X (d) = degx d m + ad + (terms of degree less than m 1) m! for some a Q. So by Remark 12.9 we can apply Lemma 12.8 and obtain with e := deg f χ I(X)+( f ) (d) = χ X (d) χ X (d e) = degx m! (d m (d e) m ) + a(d (d e) ) + (terms of degree less than m 1) = e degx (m 1)! d + (terms of degree less than m 1). By Definition again, this means that deg(i(x) + ( f )) = e degx = degx deg f. Example Let I = ( f ) K[x 0,...,x n ] be a principal ideal. Then Bézout s Theorem together with Example (a) implies degi = deg((0) + ( f )) = degp n deg f = deg f. In particular, if X P n is a hypersurface, so that I(X) = ( f ) for some homogeneous polynomial f by Exercise 7.16 (a), then degx = deg f. This justifies the name degree in Definition Exercise Prove that every pure-dimensional projective variety of degree 1 is a linear space. Notation Let X P n be an irreducible projective variety. In certain cases there are commonly used names to describe the degree and / or the dimension of X that we have probably used informally already several times:

7 12. Hilbert Polynomials and Bézout s Theorem 101 (a) If degx = 1 then X is called a line if dimx = 1, a plane if dimx = 2, and a hyperplane if dimx = n 1. (b) For any dimension, X is called a quadric if degx = 2, a cubic if degx = 3, a quartic if degx = 4, and so on. Corollary (Bézout s Theorem for curves). Proof. (a) Let X P n be a curve, and let f K[x 0,...,x n ] be a homogeneous polynomial that does not vanish identically on any irreducible component of X. Then X V ( f ) degx deg f. (b) For any two curves X and Y in P 2 without a common irreducible component we have X Y degx degy. (a) As I(X) + ( f ) is an ideal with zero locus X V ( f ), the statement follows from Bézout s Theorem together with Example (c). (b) Apply (a) to a polynomial f generating I(Y ), and use Example For the remaining part of this chapter we will focus on the case of curves as in Corollary Our goal is to assign a natural multiplicity to each point in X V ( f ) (resp. X Y ) so that the inequality becomes an equality when all points are counted with their respective multiplicities. In order to achieve this we have to study the degree of a homogeneous ideal with zero-dimensional zero locus from a local point of view. It is convenient to do this in an affine chart of P n, and then finally in the local rings. Exercise Let I K[x 0,...,x n ] be a homogeneous ideal with dimv p (I) = 0. Assume that we have chosen coordinates so that all points in V p (I) have a non-vanishing x 0 -coordinate. Prove that the degree of I is then degi = χ I = dim K K[x 1,...,x n ]/J, where J = { f (1,x 1,...,x n ) : f I} K[x 1,...,x n ]. The following lemma now expresses this dimension as a sum of local dimensions. In case you have attended the Commutative Algebra class already you will probably recognize this as precisely the Structure Theorem for Artinian rings, stating that an Artinian ring is always the product of its localizations [G5, Proposition 7.20]. Lemma Let J K[x 1,...,x n ] be an ideal with finite affine zero locus V a (J) = {a 1,...,a r }. Then K[x 1,...,x n ]/J = O A n,a 1 /J O A n,a 1 O A n,a r /J O A n,a r, where J O A n,a i denotes the ideal in O A n,a i generated by all elements f 1 for f J. Proof. Consider the primary decomposition of J as in Remark By part (b) of this remark it is of the form J = J 1 J r for some ideals J 1,...,J r with V a (J i ) = {a i } for all i. Moreover, note that J i O A n,a j is the unit ideal for i j since a j / V a (J i ) implies that there is a polynomial in J i not vanishing at a j, so that it is a unit in the local ring O A n,a j. Hence it suffices to prove that K[x 1,...,x n ]/J = O A n,a 1 /J 1 O A n,a 1 O A n,a r /J r O A n,a r. We will do this by showing that the K-algebra homomorphism ϕ : K[x 1,...,x n ]/J O A n,a 1 /J 1 O A n,a 1 O A n,a r /J r O A n,a r, f ( f,..., f ) is bijective.

8 102 Andreas Gathmann ϕ is injective: Let f be a polynomial with ϕ ( f ) = 0. Then f lies in J i O A n,a i for all i, i. e. f 1 = g i f i for some g i, f i with g i J i and f i K[x 0,...,x n ] such that f (a i ) 0. This means that h i ( f i f g i ) = 0 for some h i with h i (a i ) 0, and hence h i f i f J i. But h i f i / I(a i ) means h i f i / J i, and thus f J i since J i is primary. As this holds for all i, we conclude that f J, i. e. f = 0 in K[x 1,...,x n ]/J. ϕ is surjective: By symmetry of the factors it suffices to prove that (1,0,...,0) imϕ. As V (J 1 +J i ) = {a 1 } {a i } = /0 for all i > 1 we see that 1 J 1 + J i, and hence also 1 J 1 +J i. There are thus a i J 1 and b i J i with a i + b i = 1, so that b i 0 mod J i and b i 1 mod J 1. Hence the product b 2 b r is an inverse image of (1,0,...,0) under ϕ. It is now straightforward to translate Bézout s Theorem for curves into a local version. Definition (Multiplicities). (a) Let I K[x 0,...,x n ] be a homogeneous ideal with finite projective zero locus, and let a P n. Choose an affine patch of P n containing a, and let J be the corresponding affine ideal as in Exercise Then is called the multiplicity of I at a. mult a (I) := dim K O A n,a/j O A n,a (b) Let X P n be a projective curve, and let a X be a point. For a homogeneous polynomial f K[x 0,...,x n ] that does not vanish identically on any irreducible component of X, the number mult a (X, f ) := mult a (I(X) + ( f )) is called the (vanishing) multiplicity of f at a. Note that mult a (X, f ) depends only on the class of f modulo I(X) and not on f itself, so that we can also construct the multiplicity mult a (X, f ) for f S(X). In this case, we will also often simplify its notation to mult a ( f ). If n = 2 and Y P 2 is another curve that does not share a common irreducible component with X, the intersection multiplicity of X and Y at a is defined as mult a (X,Y ) := mult a (I(X) + I(Y )). Remark (Positivity of multiplicities). Continuing the notation of Definition (a), note that 1 / J O A n,a if and only if a V p (I). It follows that mult a (I) 1 if and only if a V p (I). Applying this to Definition (b), we see that the vanishing multiplicity mult a (X, f ) is at least 1 if and only if f (a) = 0, and the intersection multiplicity mult a (X,Y ) is at least 1 if and only if a X Y. In fact, we will show in Exercise that there is also an easy geometric criterion for when mult a (X,Y ) = 1. Remark (Vanishing and intersection multiplicities in local rings). It is often useful to express the multiplicities of Definition (b) in terms of local rings as in Definition (a). As above, we choose an affine patch {x P n : x i 0} = A n of P n containing a. By abuse of notation, if f K[x 0,...,x n ] is a homogeneous polynomial, we will also denote by f the (not necessarily homogeneous) polynomial obtained from it by setting x i equal to 1, and then also its quotient by 1 in the local ring O A n,a (see Exercise 3.24). Then Definition can be formulated as follows: (a) Let X P n be a curve, and let f K[x 0,...,x n ] be a homogeneous polynomial not vanishing identically on any irreducible component of X. Denote by U = X A n the affine part of X in the chosen patch, and let J = I(U) be its ideal. Then the vanishing multiplicity of f at a P n is equal to dim K O A n,a/(j + ( f ))O A n,a by Definition But O A n,a/j O A n,a = O X,a by Exercise 3.23, and so we conclude that mult a (X, f ) = dim K O X,a /( f ). Note that we could use the same formula to define the vanishing multiplicity for any local function f O X,a that does not vanish identically on any irreducible component of X through a. In fact, for an irreducible variety we will even define such a multiplicity for rational

9 12. Hilbert Polynomials and Bézout s Theorem 103 functions in Construction 14.5, which then includes the case of local functions (see Exercise 9.8 (b) and Remark 14.7). (b) For two curves X,Y P 2 without common irreducible component and ideals I(X) = ( f ) and I(X) = (g) their intersection multiplicity is or alternatively with (a) mult a (X,Y ) = dim K O A 2,a/( f,g), mult a (X,Y ) = dim K O X,a /(g) = dim K O Y,a /( f ). Of course, as we have defined the multiplicities above using affine charts, we could construct them equally well for affine instead of projective varieties. However, the projective case is needed for the local version of Bézout s Theorem, which we can now prove. Corollary (Bézout s Theorem for curves, local version). Proof. (a) Let X P n be a curve, and let f K[x 0,...,x n ] be a homogeneous polynomial that does not vanish identically on any irreducible component of X. Then mult a (X, f ) = degx deg f. a X V ( f ) (b) For any two curves X and Y in P 2 without a common irreducible component we have mult a (X,Y ) = degx degy. a X Y (a) By Exercise 12.21, Lemma 12.22, and the definition of multiplicities, all applied to the ideal I(X) + ( f ), we have deg(i(x) + ( f )) = a X V ( f ) mult a (X, f ). Hence the statement follows immediately from Proposition (b) This follows from (a) for f a polynomial generating I(Y ), since degy = deg f by Example Exercise (Geometric interpretation of intersection multiplicities). Let X,Y A 2 be two affine curves containing the origin. Moreover, let I(X) = ( f ) and I(Y ) = (g) be their ideals. Show that the following statements are equivalent: (a) dim K O A 2,0/( f,g) = 1 (i. e. the intersection multiplicity of X and Y at the origin is 1). (b) X and Y are smooth at 0 and have different tangent spaces there (i. e. X and Y intersect transversely at the origin ). Example Consider the two projective curves X = V (x 0 x 2 x 2 1) and Y = V (x 2 ) in P 2, whose affine parts (which we have already considered in Remark 1.27) are shown in the picture on the right. Note that degx = 2 and degy = 1 by Example 12.17, and that a := (1:0:0) is the only point in the intersection X Y. As X and Y have the same tangent space at a, we must have mult a (X,Y ) 2 by Exercise In fact, it is easy to compute mult a (X,Y ) explicitly: by definition we have mult a (X,Y ) = mult a (x 0 x 2 x 2 1,x 2 ) = dim K O A 2,0 /(x 2 x 2 1,x 2 ) = dim K O A 2,0 /(x2 1,x 2 ), and since a is the only intersection point of X and Y we can rewrite this by Lemma as mult a (X,Y ) = dim K K[x 1,x 2 ]/(x 2 1,x 2 ) = dim K K[x 1 ]/(x 2 1) = 2. a X Y

10 104 Andreas Gathmann Note that this is in accordance with Bézout s Theorem as in Corollary (b), since mult a (X,Y ) = 2 = degx degy.

### 10. Smooth Varieties. 82 Andreas Gathmann

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