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MODULE VERSUS VECTOR SPACE


Definition : (Left Module) Let M be a nonempty set. Then M is said to be
a left R-module over a ring R if (M , + ) is an abelian group together with a
scalar multiplication R × M  M defined by ( r, x) → r x , ∀ r ∈R , x∈M
such that
(i) r( x + y ) = r x + r y
( ii ) (r + s) x= r x + s x
(iii ) ( rs) x = r ( s x ) , ∀ r , s ∈R and x , y ∈ M

The elements of R are called scalars.


Similarly, we can define Right module.

Definition : (Right Module) Let M be a nonempty set. Then M is said to be


a right R-module over a ring R if (M , + ) is an abelian group together with a
scalar multiplication R × M  M defined by ( x, r) → x r ,∀ r ∈R , x∈M
Such that
(i) ( x + y )r = xr + yr
( ii ) x (r + s) = xr + x s
(iii ) x( rs) = ( x r) s , ∀ r , s ∈R and x , y ∈ M

Remark (1) When R is a commutative ring then the concept of left R-


module and right R-module coincide and in that case , we simply say , M
is R-module .
(2) It should be noted that the distinction between a left R-module and a
right R-module is merely that of notation. The theory of right R-module can
be developed in the same manner as the theory of left R-modules. But this
does not mean that the study of all left modules over a particular ring R is
equivalent to the study of all right modules over R.

Definition : ( Unitary R-module ) If R is a ring with unity 1, then a left R-


module M is said to be unitary R-module if 1. x = x , ∀ x∈M
Remark : (i) If R is a division ring , then

Left R-module = Left Vector space over R


Right R-module = Right Vector space over R

(ii) If R is a Field , then

R-module M = Vector space M over R


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Examples of Modules
Example 1. Every abelian group G is a module over the ring of integer ¢
under the scalar multiplication defined by ¢ × G  G

x + x + x +……….+ x ( n times if n > 0 )


( n , x ) →n x = 0 ( if n = 0 )
-x - x - x - ………- x ( n times if n < 0 )

Remark : In the above example G is a unitary ¢ - module as 1 is the unity


of ¢ and 1.x = x , for all x ∈ G .

Example 2. Every ring R itself an R-module , with usual multiplication in R


as the scalar multiplication. We generally denote RR for left R-
module R and RR for right R-module R.

Example 3. Let S be a sub- ring of the ring R, then R can be regarded as a


left (right ) S-module in a natural way, namely w.r.t. multiplication in R.

Remark: Since R can be regarded as a set of all constant polynomials in the


ring of polynomial R[x] , is a sub-ring of R[x] . Thus R[x] is R-module .

Example 4. Every ideal I of a ring R is an R-module under the scalar


multiplication R × I  I defined by ( x , a )  xa, for all x ∈ R and a ∈ I .

Example 5. Let R be a ring with unity and n is a positive integer . Then


the abelian group ( Rn , + ) ( under component wise addition ) is a left
(right) R-module under the external law of composition R × Rn  Rn ,
defined by r( x1 , x2 , ……., xn ) = ( r x1 , r x2 , ……., r xn ) ,
for all r ∈ R , and ( x1 , x2 , ……., xn ) ∈ Rn .

Remark : If R = F ( field ), then F n is a vector space over F.

Example 6. Let M be the set of all m × n matrices over a ring R . Then


the abelian group (M , + ) under the matrix addition can be regarded as left
R-module under the scalar multiplication R × M  M defined by

r ( ai j )  ( r ai j ) , for all r ∈ R and ( ai j ) ∈ M .


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Example 7. If ( M , + ) be an abelian group and R = End M , be the ring of
endomorphism , Then M becomes an R-module under the external law of
composition R × M  M defined by ( f , x )  f ( x ) for all f ∈ R and
x∈M.

These are some of the examples of a module over a ring and


we notice that the concept of modules goes in a similar fashion as that of a
vector space over a field . We can also defined Sub-module , Quotient
module , Direct sum of sub-modules , finitely generated Module,
Module Homomorphism etc.

Sub-module : A non-empty subset N of R-module M is called sub-module


of M if N itself an R-module under the induced external operation .

Quotient module : Let M be an R-module and N be R-sub-module of M ,


then the abelian group ( M/N, + ) inherits an R-module structure from M :
R × M/N  M/N defined by ( r , x + N )  rx + N .
Then R-module M/N called Quotient module of M by N .

Direct sum of sub-modules : Let M be an R-module and A and B be two


sub-modules of M . Then M is called the direct sum of A and B if
(i) x = a + b , a ∈A , b∈B ( ii ) A ∩ B = ∅

and it is written as M = A ⊕ B.

Finitely generated module ; An R-module M is said to be finitely


generated if there exist a finite subset S of M such that M = < S > .
 
Where < S > =  ∑ ii r x : where ri ∈ R , xi ∈ S 
 finite sum 

Module Homomorphism : Let M and N be two modules over a ring R. A


mapping f : M  N is called an R- homomorphism if and only if
f ( x + y ) = f ( x ) + f ( y) (ii) f ( r. x) = r . f ( x), for all r∈ R and x , y ∈M.

The concept of “ linearly independence” and “ basis ” for


vector space can be carried over to the modules over commutative ring
without change with only difference , in case of module we talk of rank and
in case of vector space we call it as dimension.
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Definition : (Free module ) An R-module M is said to be a free module if
and only if it has a basis .

Definition : ( Rank of a free module) Let M be a free module over a


commutative ring R, then the number of elements in the basis of M is called
the rank of M and is denoted by rankR(M) .

Examples of Free modules

Example 1 . If R is commutative ring with unity 1 , then as a module over


itself R admits R- basis , consisting of its unity element 1 or { u } , where u
be any unit in R . Thus RR ( or RR ) is a free module of rank 1.

Example 2. Every infinite cyclic group ( G , + ), where G = < x > is a free


Z- module with Z- basis { x }.

Example 3. If R be a commutative ring with unity 1 , then

S = { e1 , e2 , ….., ei , ……., en } , where ei = ( 0 , 0,…, 0 , 1 , 0, …,0)



( i-th place)
n
be the R- basis of R .

Some Important results about Free modules are :

Theorem 1 Every R-free module M of rank n is isomorphic to Rn .i.e.M ≅ Rn


 n  n
( f : M  R defined by  ∑ i i  ∑ = < { e ≤i : 1≤ i n}>
n
n f r x = ir e
i , W here R
 i =1  i 1=
is R- isomorphism )

Theorem 2 : Every R-free module M of rank n is isomorphic to direct sum


of n copies of R-module R i.e.
M ≅ ⊕ Rx , where M has basis X having n elem ents .
x ∈X

Theorem 3 : Every unitary module is a quotient of a free module.

Let M = < X > and let F be free module with basis X . Then we have

F ≅⊕ Rx, with Rx
≅ ∈x
R for all X , we have
x∈X
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 
F =  ∑a xe x a x∈ R , a x= 0 for almost all x and e=x ∀
1, x
 x∈X 
 
Now , consider the map f : F  M defined by f 

∑a e
x∈ X
x x  =

∑a x
x ∈X
x

This is an R-linear epimorphism with kernel K and so F/K ≅ M .

Some Pathologies

We know that the following results hold in case of a Vector space V


over a field F

(1) Every vector space has a basis


(2) Every L.I. subset of V can be extended to form a basis for V.
In particular , every non-zero vector can be extended to form a basis
for V.
(3) Every subset which span V contains a basis of V .
(4) Any two basis of V are either both finite or both infinite and their
cardinalities are equal and this common value is called the dimension
of V and is denoted by dimF( V ).
(5) If W be a subspace of a finite dimensional vector space V over a field
F, then W is also finite dimensional and dimF( W ) ≤ dimF( V ).
(6) Every subspace of a vector space is a direct summand of V ,
i.e. if W1 is any subspace of the vector space V , then there exist a
unique subspace W2 of V such that V = W1 ⊕ W2 .
The subspace W2 is called the complement of W1 in V.
Thus , in vector space the complement of every subspace exist and it
is unique .

It is natural to ask to what extent these results holds for :


(1) modules over arbitrary ring
(2) free modules over arbitrary ring and
(3) free modules over commutative ring
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( I ) First of all , we show that not all modules are free module

Example 1( i ) Any finite abelian group G is not a free ¢ - module.


Solution : Let G be a finite abelian group. Then G is a ¢ -module .
If possible , let G be a free module and let S be a basis for G over ¢ .
Let x ≠ 0 be any element of G such that n x = o , for some n ∈ ¥ .
[ Q G is a finite abelian group ∴ order of every element exist ]

∴ m x ≠ 0 for any m < n and n ≥ 2


Now , we have x = n1s1 + n2 s2 + ……….+ nr sr , for some s1 , s2 , …,sr ∈ S
and n1 , n2 , ……., nr ∈ ¢
0 = n x = n (n1s1 + n2 s2 + ……….+ nr sr ) = (nn1)s1+(nn2)s2+….+(nnr)sr
But S is L.I. set ⇒ nn1 = nn2 = ……..= nnr = 0
⇒ n1 = n2 = …….= nr =0 ⇒ x = 0 , a contradiction . Hence G has no basis
and so it is not a free module.

Remark : In fact any abelian group M which has a non-trivial element of

finite order ( Torsion element ) cannot be a free module

e.g. Every finite cyclic group is not a free module.

Example 1(ii) The module ¤ over ¢ is not a free module .i.e. ¤ is not a
free ¢ -module.

p
Solution : Let q (≠ 0 ) ∈ ¤ be any rational number . Then
p
n. q =0 ⇒ n=0 , where n ∈ ¢ .
p
∴ singleton set { q } is L.I. over ¢
Now , we show that any set containing two (or more ) rational no’s are L.D.
p r
Let q , be any two different rational numbers. Then we have
s

p r
(rq) . q − (ps) . = 0 , where rq , ps ∈ ¢
s
p r
⇒ { q , } is L.D. over ¢ .
s
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Now , we show that no singleton set can generate ¤ .
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To show this , let { p } , where p is a prime number generate ¤
1 1 1 1
As ∈ ¤ ∴ ∃ n ∈ ¢ such that n. p = 2 p ⇒ n=
2 2
1
But ∉ ¢ . Thus no singleton set in ¤ can generate ¤ .
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Hence , we see that ¤ admits no basis over ¢ and so ¤ is not a free
¢ -module .

( 2 ) Next , we give an example to show that a free module has a L.I. set
which cannot be extended to a basis.

Example Let R = ¢ = M . As a ¢ - module , ¢ has a free basis {1} or {-1}


Now, {2} is L.I. over ¢ . As n.2 = 0 ⇒ n = 0 , where n ∈ ¢ .
Also , we note that 2 cannot generate ¢ over ¢
∴ if at all there is a basis S containing 2 . Then S must have atleast one
more element (say ) s . But, then we have s.2 − 2.s = 0 .
i.e. {2 , s } is L.D. subset of S and hence of ¢ ,which is absurd.

( 3 ) Next , we give an example to show that a free module has a subset


S which span M but S do-not contain a basis of M.

Example : Let R = ¢ = M and S = { m , n } with m and n non-unit and


(m , n) =1 [ for example , S = {2 , 3 } ] . Then

∃ a , b ∈ ¢ such that 1 = a m + bn
∴ for any x ∈ ¢ , we have
x = x.1 = x .( a m + bn ) = (x a) m + (x b)n

⇒ ¢ = m ¢ + n ¢ i.e. S span M .
Also , we know that S is L.D. [ Q 2.3 −3.2 = 0 ]
∴ S is not a basis for ¢ . Moreover , m ¢ ≠ ¢ and n¢ ≠ ¢
⇒ S do-not contain any basis for ¢ .

( 4 ) Next , we give an example to show that a free module has different


basis having different cardinalities .

Example : Let M be a vector space of countably infinite dimension over a


division ring D. Let R = EndR( M ) . Then R is a free module over R with
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basis { 1R } . We shall show that for a given positive integer n ( say ) there
is an R-basis Sn = { s1 , s2 , ….., sn } for R having n elements .
Let S = { ek : k = 1 , 2 , 3 , ……} be a basis of M over D.
Define s1 , s2 , ……., sn ∈R .
By specifying their values on S as in the table below :

s1 s2 s3 . .…………. sn

e1 e1 0 0 . ………. … 0
e2 0 e1 0 . .. ………… 0
: : : : :
: : : : :
en 0 0 0 ………. ….. e1

en +1 e2 0 0 . ………. …. 0
en +2 0 e2 0 . .. ………… 0
: : : : :
: : : : :
e2n 0 0 0 ………. …. e2

: : : : …………… :
: : : : …………… :

: : : : ………….. :

ekn +1 ek+1 0 0 . ………. … 0


ekn +2 0 ek+1 0 . .. ………… 0
: : : : :
: : : : :
e(k+1)n 0 0 0 ………. … ek+1

: : : : …………. :
: : : : …………. :

: : : : ……………. :
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n

Clearly , Sn is an R-basis of R . Also , if ∑α s


i =1
i i = 0 , where α i ∈ R
Then evaluating on the successive blanks of n vectors namely ,
ekn +1 , ekn +2 , ……… , e(k +1)n , k = 0 , 1 , 2 , 3 ,……….., we get
α i ( ek+1 ) = 0 , for all k and 1 ≤ i ≤ n i.e α i = 0 , for all i.
⇒ Sn is linearly independent over R.
n

Also , if s ∈ R , then s = ∑α s
i =1
i i , where α i ∈ R

Are defined by their values on S as in the table above .


Thus Sn is an R- module for R . We note that S1 = { 1R } which is a
standard basis for R as R-module .
∴ For n ≠ 1 , we see that Sn be different basis for R-module R , whose
cardinality is n where as S1 = { 1R } is also standard basis for R-module R
whose cardinality is 1.

Note : In the above example we notice that R is not commutative ring .

( 5 ) Next , we give an example to show that a finitely generated free


module having a sub-module which is neither free nor finitely generated

Example : Let K be a field and R = K[ X1 , X2 , ….. , Xn , ….]. Then R is a


commutative ring .
Now, let M = R , then M is a free module with basis { 1 } .
Sub-modules of M are ideals of R .
∴ let N be the ideal of all polynomials with constant term Zero .
i.e. N = < X1 , X2 , ….. , Xn , …. > .
Now , we claim that N is not a finitely generated module .
If possible , let N be finitely generated module as an ideal in R and let
S = < s1 , s2 , …….., sr > be the generating set for N . It is clear that there
exists a positive integer n ≥ 0 such that si ∈ K[ X1 , X2 , ….. , Xn , ….],
which is a sub-ring of R .
Since Xi ∈ N , for all i .
r

∑a s i i
∴ we can write Xn+1 = i=1 , for some ai ∈ R
Since all si’ s are without constant terms
∴ if we take X1 = X2 = ……= Xn = 0 , we get
r r

Xn+1 = ∑ ai (0,0,...,0, X n +1,0,....) si (0,0,....,0) = ∑ a (0,0,...,0, X


i n +1 ,0,....).0 = 0
i =1 i =1
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which is absurd , as N is not finitely generated , it cannot be a principal ideal
and hence it is not free because the only ideals of R which are free as R-
modules are non-zero principal ideals.

(7) Next , we give an example to show that to show that every sub-
module of a module need not be a direct summand and also that if
a sub-module is a direct summand then the supplement of it need
not be unique .

Example : ( i ) Consider the ¢ - module ¢ . A non-zero subgroup < n >


of ¢ is a sub-module of ¢ , but it is not a direct summand because a
supplement which is infinite cyclic group should be isomorphic to the
quotient group ¢ / < n > ( ≅ ¢ n ) , which is not possible .

Example : ( ii ) Let M = ¡ 2
= { ( x , y ) : x , y ∈ ¡ } be a ¡ -module .

Let M1 = { ( x , x ) : x ∈ ¡ } , M2 = { ( x , 2x ) : x ∈ ¡ } ,
M3 = { ( x , 3x ) : x ∈ ¡ } .

Clearly, M1 , M2 , M3 are ¡ -sub-modules of M .

Also , M = M1 ⊕ M2 , for any element (x , y ) ∈ M can be written as

( x , y ) = ( x1 , x1) + ( x2 , 2x2 ) , where x1= 2x −y and x2 = y−x

so that ( x1 , x1) ∈ M1 and ( x2 , 2x2 ) ∈ M2. More over , M1 ∩ M2 = { 0M}

Similarly , we show that M = M1 ⊕ M3


.
Thus , M = M1 ⊕ M2 and M = M1 ⊕ M3

i.e. M2 is a supplement of M1 in M , also M3 is a supplement of M1 in


M . But M2 ≠ M3 .

Thus if a sub-module N of a module M is a summand it supplement in M


need not be unique.

NOTE : All these pathologies can be removed for a free module M over
a principal ideal domain R.
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Let us show how this happen :- We know that :

A principal ideal domain R is an Integral domain ( Commutative ring


with unity without zero divisors ) , in which every ideal is a principal
ideal i.e. generated by a single element.

Some more results for commutative ring with unity

Theorem 1. Every finitely generated free module M over a commutative


ring R has a finite bases having equal number of elements i.e. has a
constant rank M.

Some Important Theorems relating to PID.

Theorem 1 . Every submodule N of a finitely generated free module M


over a PID R is finitely generated and that rank N ≤ rank M .

Proof. Let rank M = n and B = { x1 , x2 , ……., xn } be a basis of M


Let Nk = N ∩ span{ x1 , x2 , ……., xk }, where 1 ≤ k ≤ n .
Note that N = Nn and the result can be proved by induction on k.

Theorem 2. Every finitely generated torsion free module over PID is free
module .

Remark : This result need not be true integral domain i.e. torsion free
module need not free module in an Integral domain .
For example : Q over Z is a torsion free module because r m = 0 for
r∈Z and 0 ≠ m ∈ Q implies r = 0 . But Q over Z is not free module.

The next we have the structure theorem for finitely generated


modules over a principal ideal domain which is a generalization of the
fundamental theorem of finitely generated abelian groups and roughly
states that finitely generated modules can be uniquely decomposed in
much the same way that integers have a prime factorization.

When a vector space over a field F has finite dimension n, it is


isomorphic to F n . If the field F is generalized to a principal ideal domain
R, the vector space turns into an R-module ; and it is not isomorphic to
exactly R n, but a quotient of it. This is the theorem below.
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Theorem 3 . ( Decomposition Theorem or Structure Theorem ):

If R be an PID and M be finitely generated R-module generated by n


elements . Then M is direct sum of cyclic modules
M ≅ R n −r⊕ R/Ra⊕1 R/Ra⊕2 .........
⊕ R/Ra r
Where all ai’s are non-zero, non-units in R s.t. ai  ai+1 and R/Rai ’s
are cyclic , for i =1,2,.., r-1.

Corollaries from Structure theorem :

This includes the classification of finite dimensional vector spaces as a


special case, where R = F. Since fields have no non-trivial ideals and so
r = 0 and so every finitely generated vector space M over F is free of
dimension n.

On taking R = Z we have the fundamental theorem of finitely generated


abelian groups. ( Every finitely generated abelian group G is isomorphic to

Z n ⊕ Zq1 ⊕ Zq2 ⊕........ ⊕Ztq , where q i ' s are powers of primes


.

When G is finite , then n = 0 )