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We introduce the notion of rationality for hyperholomorphic functions (functions in the kernel of the Cauchy-Fueter operator). Following the case of one complex variable, we give three equivalent definitions: the first in terms of Cauchy-Kovalevskaya quotients of polynomials, the second in terms of realizations and the third in terms of backward-shift invariance. Also introduced and studied are the counterparts of the Arveson space and Blaschke factors.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Functional Analysis. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Functional Analysis, volume 221, in 2005. DOI: 10.1016/j.jfa.2004.07.012

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