2014 USAMO Problems/Problem 1

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Let $a,b,c,d$ be real numbers such that $b-d \ge 5$ and all zeros $x_1, x_2, x_3,$ and $x_4$ of the polynomial $P(x)=x^4+ax^3+bx^2+cx+d$ are real. Find the smallest value the product $(x_1^2+1)(x_2^2+1)(x_3^2+1)(x_4^2+1)$ can take.


Factor $x^2 + 1$ as the product of two linear binomials.


Using the hint we turn the equation into $\prod_{k=1} ^4 (x_k-i)(x_k+i) \implies P(i)P(-i) \implies (b-d-1)^2 + (a-c)^2 \implies \boxed{16}$. This minimum is achieved when all the $x_i$ are equal to $1$.