Operator algebra


Operator algebra

In functional analysis, an operator algebra is an algebra of continuous linear operators on a topological vector space with the multiplication given by the composition of mappings. Although it is usually classified as a branch of functional analysis, it has direct applications to representation theory, differential geometry, quantum statistical mechanics and quantum field theory.

Such algebras can be used to study arbitrary sets of operators with little algebraic relation simultaneously. From this point of view, operator algebras can be regarded as a generalization of spectral theory of a single operator. In general operator algebras are non-commutative rings.

An operator algebra is typically required to be closed in a specified operator topology inside the algebra of the whole continuous linear operators. In particular, it is a set of operators with both algebraic and topological closure properties. In some disciplines such properties are axiomized and algebras with certain topological structure become the subject of the research.

Though algebras of operators are studied in various contexts (for example, algebras of pseudo-differential operators acting on spaces of distributions), the term operator algebra is usually used in reference to algebras of bounded operators on a Banach space or, even more specially in reference to algebras of operators on a separable Hilbert space, endowed with the operator norm topology.

In the case of operators on a Hilbert space, the adjoint map on operators gives a natural involution which provides an additional algebraic structure which can be imposed on the algebra. In this context, the best studied examples are self-adjoint operator algebras, meaning that they are closed under taking adjoints. These include C*-algebras and von Neumann algebras. C*-algebras can be easily characterized abstractly by a condition relating the norm, involution and multiplication. Such abstractly defined C*-algebras can be identified to a certain closed subalgebra of the algebra of the continuous linear operators on a suitable Hilbert space. A similar result holds for von Neumann algebras.

Commutative self-adjoint operator algebras can be regarded as the algebra of complex valued continuous functions on a locally compact space, or that of measurable functions on a standard measurable space. Thus, general operator algebras are often regarded as a noncommutative generalizations of these algebras, or the structure of the base space on which the functions are defined. This point of view is elaborated as the philosophy of noncommutative geometry, which tries to study various non-classical and/or pathological objects by noncommutative operator algebras.

Examples of operator algebras which are not self-adjoint include:

  • nest algebras
  • many commutative subspace lattice algebras
  • many limit algebras

See also

References

  • Blackadar, Bruce (2005). Operator Algebras: Theory of C*-Algebras and von Neumann Algebras. Encyclopaedia of Mathematical Sciences. Springer-Verlag. ISBN 3540284869. 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Reflexive operator algebra — In functional analysis, a reflexive operator algebra A is an operator algebra that has enough invariant subspaces to characterize it. Formally, A is reflexive if it is equal to the algebra of bounded operators which leave invariant each subspace… …   Wikipedia

  • Vertex operator algebra — In mathematics, a vertex operator algebra (VOA) is an algebraic structure that plays an important role in conformal field theory and related areas of physics. They have proven useful in purely mathematical contexts such as monstrous moonshine and …   Wikipedia

  • Algebra (disambiguation) — Algebra is a branch of mathematics.Algebra may also mean: * elementary algebra * abstract algebra * linear algebra * universal algebra * computer algebraIn addition, many mathematical objects are known as algebras. * In logic: ** Boolean algebra… …   Wikipedia

  • Operator (mathematics) — This article is about operators in mathematics. For other uses, see Operator (disambiguation). In basic mathematics, an operator is a symbol or function representing a mathematical operation. In terms of vector spaces, an operator is a mapping… …   Wikipedia

  • *-algebra — * ring= In mathematics, a * ring is an associative ring with a map * : A rarr; A which is an antiautomorphism, and an involution.More precisely, * is required to satisfy the following properties: * (x + y)^* = x^* + y^* * (x y)^* = y^* x^* * 1^* …   Wikipedia

  • Operator norm — In mathematics, the operator norm is a means to measure the size of certain linear operators. Formally, it is a norm defined on the space of bounded linear operators between two given normed vector spaces. Contents 1 Introduction and definition 2 …   Wikipedia

  • Algebra (Struktur) — Algebra über einem Körper berührt die Spezialgebiete Mathematik Abstrakte Algebra Lineare Algebra Kommutative Algebra ist Spezialfall von Algebraische Struktur Vektorraum …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Algebra of Communicating Processes — The Algebra of Communicating Processes (ACP) is an algebraic approach to reasoning about concurrent systems. It is a member of the family of mathematical theories of concurrency known as process algebras or process calculi. ACP was initially… …   Wikipedia

  • Algebra — This article is about the branch of mathematics. For other uses, see Algebra (disambiguation). Algebra is the branch of mathematics concerning the study of the rules of operations and relations, and the constructions and concepts arising from… …   Wikipedia

  • Algebra over a field — This article is about a particular kind of vector space. For other uses of the term algebra , see algebra (disambiguation). In mathematics, an algebra over a field is a vector space equipped with a bilinear vector product. That is to say, it is… …   Wikipedia