This article deals with the computation of the characteristic polynomial of dense matrices over small finite fields and over the integers. We first present two algorithms for the finite fields: one is based on Krylov iterates and Gaussian elimination. We compare it to an improvement of the second algorithm of Keller-Gehrig. Then we show that a generalization of Keller-Gehrig's third algorithm could improve both complexity and computational time. We use these results as a basis for the computation of the characteristic polynomial of integer matrices. We first use early termination and Chinese remaindering for dense matrices. Then a probabilistic approach, based on integer minimal polynomial and Hensel factorization, is particularly well suited to sparse and/or structured matrices. |