Functional Calculus

In mathematics, a functional calculus is a theory allowing one to apply mathematical functions to mathematical operators. It is now a branch (more accurately, several related areas) of the field of functional analysis, connected with spectral theory. (Historically, the term was also used synonymously with calculus of variations; this usage is obsolete, but see functional derivative. Sometimes it is used in relation to types of functional equation, or in logic for systems of predicate calculus.) If f is a function, say a numerical function of a real number, and M is an operator, there is no particular reason why the expression f(M) Should make sense. If it does, then we are no longer using f on its original function domain. In the tradition of operational calculus, algebraic expressions in operators are handled irrespective of their meaning. This passes nearly unnoticed if we talk about 'squaring a matrix', though, which is the case of f(x) = x2 and M an n×n matrix. The idea of a functional calculus is to create a principled approach to this kind of overloading of the notation. The most immediate case is to apply polynomial functions to a square matrix, extending what has just been discussed. In the finite dimensional case, the polynomial functional calculus yields quite a bit of information about the operator. For example, consider the family of polynomials which annihilates an operator T. This family is an ideal in the ring of polynomials. Furthermore, it is a nontrivial ideal: let n be the finite dimension of the algebra of matrices, then {I, T, T2...Tn} is

it is rather clear what the definitions should be. The polynomial calculus is not as informative in the infinite dimensional case. The subject is closely linked to spectral theory. Multiplying by a unit if necessary. this ideal is generated by some polynomial m. since for a diagonal matrix or multiplication operator. This implies that the polynomial ∑ αi xi lies in the ideal. When this is done. So ∑ αi Ti = 0 for some scalars αi. For instance. a scalar α is an eigenvalue of T if and only if α is a root of m. Also. the polynomial m is precisely the minimal polynomial of T. not all equal to 0. . the ideal defined above is now trivial. This polynomial gives deep information about T.linearly dependent. we can choose m to be monic. sometimes m can be used to calculate the exponential of T efficiently. Thus one is interested in functional calculi more general than polynomials. Consider the unilateral shift with the polynomials calculus. Since the ring of polynomials is a principal ideal domain.

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