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Using commutative algebra methods we study the generalized minimum distance function (gmd function) and the corresponding generalized footprint function of a graded ideal in a polynomial ring over a field. The number of solutions that a system of homogeneous polynomials has in any given finite set of projective points is expressed as the degree of a graded ideal. If X is a set of projective points over a finite field and I is its vanishing ideal, we show that the gmd function and thearXiv:1707.03285v4 fatcat:n5gcighy35evrogdrsnckvpazm