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complex integer[¦käm‚pleks ′int·ə·jər]
(or Gaussian integer), a number of the form a + bi, where a and b are integers. An example is 4 – 7i. Geometrically, complex integers are represented by the points of the complex plane that have integral coordinates.
Complex integers were introduced by K. Gauss in 1831 in his investigation of the theory of biquadratic residues. The advances made in such areas of number theory as the theory of higher-degree residues and Fermat’s theorem through the use of complex integers helped clarify the role of complex numbers in mathematics. The further development of the theory of complex integers led to the creation of the theory of algebraic integers.
The arithmetic of complex integers is similar to that of integers. The sum, difference, and product of complex integers are complex integers; in other words, the complex integers form a ring.