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Banach algebra

A Banach algebra, in functional analysis, is an associative algebra over the real or complex numbers which at the same time is also a Banach space. The algebra multiplication and the Banach space norm are required to be related by the following inequality:
||xy|| ≤ ||x|| ||y||     for all x and y
(i.e., the norm of the product is less than or equal to the product of the norms.) This ensures that the multiplication operation is continuous.

A Banach algebra is called "unitary" if it has an identity element for the multiplication and "commutative" if its multiplication is commutative.


  • The set of real (or complex) numbers is a Banach algebra with norm given by the absolute value.
  • The set of all real or complex n-by-n matrices becomes a Banach algebra if we equip it with a sub-multiplicative matrix norm.
  • Take the Banach space Rn (or Cn) with norm ||x|| = max |xi| and define multiplication componentwise: (x1,...,xn)(y1,...,yn) = (x1y1,...,xnyn).
  • The quaternions form a 4-dimensional real Banach algebra, with the norm being given by the absolute value of quaternions.
  • The algebra of bounded real- or complex-valued functions defined on some set (with pointwise multiplication and the supremum norm)
  • The algebra of continuous real- or complex-valued functions on some compact space (again with pointwise operations and supremum norm).
  • The algebra of all linear continuous operators on a Banach space (with functional composition as multiplication and the operator norm[?] as norm)
  • If G is a locally compact Hausdorff topological group and μ its Haar measure, then the Banach space L1(G) of all μ-integrable functions on G becomes a Banach algebra under the convolution xy(g) = ∫ x(h) y(h-1g) dμ(h) for x, y in L1(G).
  • Every C-star-algebra is a Banach algebra.


Several elementary functions which are defined via power series may be defined in any unitary Banach algebra; examples include the exponential function and the trigonometric functions. The formula for the geometric series and the binomial theorem also remain valid in general unitary Banach algebras.

The set of invertible elements[?] in any unitary Banach algebra is an open set, and the inversion operation on this set is continuous, so that it forms a topological group under multiplication.

Unitary Banach algebras provide a natural setting to study general spectral theory. The spectrum of an element x consists of all those scalars λ such that x -λ1 is not invertible. (In the Banach algebra of all n-by-n matrices mentioned above, the spectrum of a matrix coincides with the set of all its eigenvalues.) The spectrum of any element is compact. If the base field is the field of complex numbers, then the spectrum of any element is non-empty.

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