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Elements of a finite field, GF(2m), are represented as elements in a ring in which multiplication is more time efficient. This leads to faster multipliers with a modest increase in the number of XOR and AND gates needed to construct the multiplier. Such multipliers are used in error control coding and cryptography. We consider rings modulo trinomials and 4-term polynomials. In each case, we show that our multiplier is faster than multipliers over elements in a finite field defined by irreducible pentanomials. These results are especially significant in the field of elliptic curve cryptography, where pentanomials are used to define finite fields. Finally, an efficient systolic implementation of a multiplier for elements in a ring defined by xn+x+1 is presented.