In developing a theory of index for inclusions of finite von Neumann algebras, several authors ([Kosaki, 1986], [Fidaleo & Isola,1996], etc.) define the index of a conditional expectation of a von Neumann algebra M onto a vN-subalgebra N (here, a conditional expectation is a normal, faithful N-N bimodule map fixing the subalgebra pointwise). An inclusion is said to have finite index if there exists a conditional expectation that has finite index. However, in the case where M is finite we might be interested in restricting ourselves to the conditional expectations that preserve some trace on M.

This leads us to the question: For a given (normal, faithful, finite) trace on M, Umegaki gives us a unique trace preserving conditional expectation E:M->N. Are there any nice necessary and sufficient conditions for a conditional expectation to arise in this manner? What if we allow the trace to be semifinite?

Since subfactors give rise to more than one conditional expectation, it is certainly not the case that all conditional expectations come from traces. A necessary condition is that E(xy)=E(yx) whenever x or y is an element of the relative commutant $N^\prime \cap M$. This is not sufficient, however.