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You are on page 1of 9

**In mathematics, a vector space or function space in which an operation for combining
**

two vectors or functions (whose result is called an inner product) is defined and has

certain properties. Such spaces, an essential tool of functional analysis and vector theory,

allow analysis of classes of functions rather than individual functions. In mathematical

analysis, an inner product space of particular importance is a Hilbert space, a

generalization of ordinary space to an infinite number of dimensions. A point in a Hilbert

space can be represented as an infinite sequence of coordinates or as a vector with

infinitely many components. The inner product of two such vectors is the sum of the

products of corresponding coordinates. When such an inner product is zero, the vectors

are said to be orthogonal (see orthogonality). Hilbert spaces are an essential tool of

mathematical physics. See also David Hilbert.

For more information on inner product space, visit Britannica.com.

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Wikipedia: inner product space

For the scalar product or dot product of spatial vectors, see dot product.

Geometric interpretation of inner product

**In mathematics, an inner product space is a vector space of arbitrary (possibly infinite)
**

dimension with additional structure, which, among other things, enables generalization of

concepts from two or three-dimensional Euclidean geometry. The additional structure

associates to each pair of vectors in the space a number which is called the inner product

(also called a scalar product) of the vectors. Inner products allow the rigorous

introduction of intuitive geometrical notions such as the angle between vectors or length

of vectors in spaces of all dimensions. It also allows introduction of the concept of

orthogonality between vectors. Inner product spaces generalize Euclidean spaces (with

the dot product as the inner product) and are studied in functional analysis.

**An inner product space is sometimes also called a pre-Hilbert space, since its completion
**

with respect to the metric induced by its inner product is a Hilbert space.

**Inner product spaces were referred to as unitary spaces in earlier work, although this
**

terminology is now rarely used.

Definition

In the following article, the field of scalars denoted F is either the field of real numbers R

or the field of complex numbers C. See below.

**Formally, an inner product space is a vector space V over the field F together with a
**

positive-definite nondegenerate sesquilinear form, called an inner product. For real

vector spaces, this is actually a positive-definite nondegenerate symmetric bilinear form.

Thus the inner product is a map

satisfying the following axioms for all :

• Conjugate symmetry:

**This condition implies that , because .
**

(Conjugation is also often written with an asterisk, as in , as is the

conjugate transpose.)

• Linearity in the first variable:

By combining these with conjugate symmetry, we get:

So is actually a sesquilinear form.

• Nonnegativity:

(This makes sense because for all .)

• Nondegeneracy:

implies x = 0.

Hence, the inner product is a nonnegative, nondegenerate Hermitian form.

The property of an inner product space V that

and is

known as additivity.

**Note that if F=R, then the conjugate symmetry property is simply symmetry of the inner
**

product, i.e.

In this case, sesquilinearity becomes standard bilinearity.

**Remark. Most mathematical authors require an inner product to be linear in the first
**

argument and conjugate-linear in the second argument, in agreement with the convention

adopted above. Many physicists adopt the opposite convention. This change is

immaterial, but the opposite definition provides a smoother connection to the bra-ket

notation used by physicists in quantum mechanics (in that it allows scalars to come

directly out of kets, which represent vectors, while making scalars become conjugated

when extracted from bras, which represent linear functionals) and is now occasionally

used by mathematicians as well. Some authors adopt the convention that < , > is linear in

the first component while < | > is linear in the second component, although this is by no

means universal. For instance (Emch [1972]) does not follow this convention.

**There are various technical reasons why it is necessary to restrict the basefield to R and C
**

in the definition. Briefly, the basefield has to contain an ordered subfield (in order for

non-negativity to make sense) and therefore has to have characteristic equal to 0. This

immediately excludes finite fields. The basefield has to have additional structure, such as

a distinguished automorphism.

**In some cases we need to consider non-negative semi-definite sesquilinear forms. This
**

means that <x, x> is only required to be non-negative. We show how to treat these below.

Examples

A trivial example are the real numbers with the standard multiplication as the inner

product

More generally any Euclidean space Rn with the dot product is an inner product space

The general form of an inner product on Cn is given by:

**with M any symmetric positive-definite matrix, and x* the conjugate transpose of x. For
**

the real case this corresponds to the dot product of the results of directionally differential

scaling of the two vectors, with positive scale factors and orthogonal directions of

scaling. Apart from an orthogonal transformation it is a weighted-sum version of the dot

product, with positive weights.

**The article on Hilbert space has several examples of inner product spaces wherein the
**

metric induced by the inner product yields a complete metric space. An example of an

inner product which induces an incomplete metric occurs with the space C[a, b] of

continuous complex valued functions on the interval [a,b]. The inner product is

**This space is not complete; consider for example, for the interval [0,1] the sequence of
**

functions { fk }k where

**• fk(t) is 1 for t in the subinterval [0, 1/2]
**

• fk(t) is 0 for t in the subinterval [1/2 + 1/k, 1]

• fk is affine in [1/2, 1/2 + 1/k]

This sequence is a Cauchy sequence which does not converge to a continuous function.

**Norms on inner product spaces
**

Inner product spaces have a naturally defined norm

This is well defined by the nonnegativity axiom of the definition of inner product space.

The norm is thought of as the length of the vector x. Directly from the axioms, we can

prove the following:

• Cauchy-Schwarz inequality: for x, y elements of V

**with equality if and only if x and y are linearly dependent. This is one of the most
**

important inequalities in mathematics. It is also known in the Russian

mathematical literature as the Cauchy-Bunyakowski-Schwarz inequality.

Because of its importance, its short proof should be noted. To prove this

inequality note it is trivial in the case y = 0. Thus we may assume <y, y> is

nonzero. Thus we may let

and it follows that

multiplying out, the result follows.

**• Orthogonality: The geometric interpretation of the inner product in terms of angle
**

and length, motivates much of the geometric terminology we use in regard to

these spaces. Indeed, an immediate consequence of the Cauchy-Schwarz

inequality is that it justifies defining the angle between two non-zero vectors x

and y (at least in the case F = R) by the identity

**We assume the value of the angle is chosen to be in the interval [0, +π]. This is in
**

analogy to the situation in two-dimensional Euclidean space. Correspondingly, we

will say that non-zero vectors x, y of V are orthogonal if and only if their inner

product is zero.

• Homogeneity: for x an element of V and r a scalar

The homogeneity property is completely trivial to prove.

• Triangle inequality: for x, y elements of V

**The last two properties show the function defined is indeed a norm.
**

Because of the triangle inequality and because of axiom 2, we see that ||·|| is a

norm which turns V into a normed vector space and hence also into a metric

space. The most important inner product spaces are the ones which are complete

with respect to this metric; they are called Hilbert spaces. Every inner product V

space is a dense subspace of some Hilbert space. This Hilbert space is essentially

uniquely determined by V and is constructed by completing V.

• Parallelogram law:

• Pythagorean theorem: Whenever x, y are in V and <x, y> = 0, then

**The proofs of both of these identities require only expressing the definition of
**

norm in terms of the inner product and multiplying out, using the property of

additivity of each component. The name Pythagorean theorem arises from the

geometric interpretation of this result as an analogue of the theorem in synthetic

geometry. Note that the proof of the Pythagorean theorem in synthetic geometry

is considerably more elaborate because of the paucity of underlying structure. In

this sense, the synthetic Pythagorean theorem, if correctly demonstrated is deeper

than the version given above.

An easy induction on the Pythagorean theorem yields:

• If x1, ..., xn are orthogonal vectors, that is, <xj, xk> = 0 for distinct indices j, k, then

**In view of the Cauchy-Schwarz inequality, we also note that <·,·> is continuous
**

from V × V to F. This allows us to extend Pythagoras' theorem to infinitely many

summands:

**• Parseval's identity: Suppose V is a complete inner product space. If {xk} are
**

mutually orthogonal vectors in V then

**provided the infinite series on the left is convergent. Completeness of the space is
**

needed to ensure that the sequence of partial sums

which is easily shown to be a Cauchy sequence is convergent.

Orthonormal sequences

A sequence {ek}k is orthonormal if and only if it is orthogonal and each ek has norm 1. An

orthonormal basis for an inner product space of finite dimension V is an orthonormal

sequence whose algebraic span is V. This definition of orthonormal basis does not

generalise conveniently to the case of infinite dimensions, where the concept (properly

formulated) is of major importance. Using the norm associated to the inner product, one

has the notion of dense subset, and the appropriate definition of orthonormal basis is that

the algebraic span (subspace of finite linear combinations of basis vectors) should be

dense.

**The Gram-Schmidt process is a canonical procedure that takes a linearly independent
**

sequence {vk}k on an inner product space and produces an orthonormal sequence {ek}k

such that for each n

By the Gram-Schmidt orthonormalization process, one shows:

Theorem. Any separable inner product space V has an orthonormal basis.

Parseval's identity leads immediately to the following theorem:

**Theorem. Let V be a separable inner product space and {ek}k an orthonormal basis of V.
**

Then the map

is an isometric linear map V → l2 with a dense image.

**This theorem can be regarded as an abstract form of Fourier series, in which an arbitrary
**

orthonormal basis plays the role of the sequence of trigonometric polynomials. Note that

the underlying index set can be taken to be any countable set (and in fact any set

whatsoever, provided l2 is defined appropriately, as is explained in the article Hilbert

space). In particular, we obtain the following result in the theory of Fourier series:

**Theorem. Let V be the inner product space C[ - π,π]. Then the sequence (indexed on set
**

of all integers) of continuous functions

ek(t) = (2π) - 1 / 2eikt

is an orthonormal basis of the space C[ - π,π] with the L2 inner product. The mapping

**is an isometric linear map with dense image.
**

Orthogonality of the sequence {ek}k follows immediately from the fact that if k ≠ j, then

**Normality of the sequence is by design, that is, the coefficients are so chosen so that the
**

norm comes out to 1. Finally the fact that the sequence has a dense algebraic span, in the

inner product norm, follows from the fact that the sequence has a dense algebraic span,

this time in the space of continuous periodic functions on [ - π,π] with the uniform norm.

This is the content of the Weierstrass theorem on the uniform density of trigonometric

polynomials.

**Operators on inner product spaces
**

Several types of linear maps A from an inner product space V to an inner product space W

are of relevance:

**• Continuous linear maps, i.e. A is linear and continuous with respect to the metric
**

defined above, or equivalently, A is linear and the set of non-negative reals {||

Ax||}, where x ranges over the closed unit ball of V, is bounded.

• Symmetric linear operators, i.e. A is linear and <Ax, y> = <x, A y> for all x, y in V.

• Isometries, i.e. A is linear and <Ax, Ay> = <x, y> for all x, y in V, or equivalently,

A is linear and ||Ax|| = ||x|| for all x in V. All isometries are injective. Isometries are

morphisms between inner product spaces, and morphisms of real inner product

spaces are orthogonal transformations (compare with orthogonal matrix).

• Isometrical isomorphisms, i.e. A is an isometry which is surjective (and hence

bijective). Isometrical isomorphisms are also known as unitary operators

(compare with unitary matrix).

**From the point of view of inner product space theory, there is no need to distinguish
**

between two spaces which are isometrically isomorphic. The spectral theorem provides a

canonical form for symmetric, unitary and more generally normal operators on finite

dimensional inner product spaces. A generalization of the spectral theorem holds for

continuous normal operators in Hilbert spaces.

**Degenerate inner products
**

If V is a vector space and < , > a semi-definite sesquilinear form, then the function ||x|| =

<x, x>1/2 makes sense and satisfies all the properties of norm except that ||x|| = 0 does not

imply x = 0. (Such a functional is then called a semi-norm.) We can produce an inner

product space by considering the quotient W = V/{ x : ||x|| = 0}. The sesquilinear form

< , > factors through W.

This construction is used in numerous contexts. The Gelfand-Naimark-Segal construction

is a particularly important example of the use of this technique. Another example is the

representation of semi-definite kernels on arbitrary sets

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