Algebras of operators on Hilbert space, C^*-algebras, von Neumann algebras, non-commutative geometry

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Norms of Commutators

If an $n$ by $n$ complex matrix $A$ has trace zero, then it is a commutator, which means that there are $n$ by $n$ matrices $B$ and $C$ so that $A= BC-CB$. What is the order of the best constant ...
45
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vector balancing problem

I believe the solution posted to the arXiv on June 17 by Marcus, Spielman, and Srivastava is correct. This problem may be hard, so I don't expect an off-the-cuff solution. But can anyone suggest ...
33
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8answers
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How to quantify noncommutativity?

If I have two operators or finite-dimensional matrices $A$ and $B$, how can I quantify the amount to which they commute or don't commute? (I would consider it a big plus if it is computable easily for ...
32
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3answers
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Quantum mechanics formalism and C*-algebras

Many authors (e.g Landsman, Gleason) have stated that in quantum mechanics, the observables of a system can be taken to be the self-adjoint elements of an appropriate C*-algebra. However, many ...
32
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Moving one family of commuting self-adjoint operators to another without losing commutativity on the way

This is actually not a question of mine, so I'll be short on motivation and say nothing beyond that if this were true, a few fancy harmonic analysis techniques that a colleague of mine used in proving ...
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Why should algebraic objects have naturally associated topological spaces? (Formerly: What is a topological space?)

In this question, Harry Gindi states: The fact that a commutative ring has a natural topological space associated with it is a really interesting coincidence. Moreover, in the answers, Pete L. ...
30
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Are the norms of graphs dense in any interval?

It is known that there is a gap between 2 and the next largest norm of a graph. Is there an interval of the real line in which norms of graphs are dense?
28
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tr(ab) = tr(ba)?

It is well known that given two Hilbert-Schmidt operators $a$ and $b$ on a Hilbert space $H$, their product is trace class and $tr(ab)=tr(ba)$. A similar result holds for $a$ bounded and $b$ trace ...
28
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How to define a differential form on a fractal?

It is well known how to construct a Laplacian on a fractal using the Dirichlet forms (see e.g. the survey article by Strichartz). This implies, in particular, that a fractal can be "heated", i.e. one ...
27
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6answers
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A remark of Connes

In an interview (at http://www.alainconnes.org/docs/Inteng.pdf) Connes remarks that I had been working on non-standard analysis, but after a while I had found a catch in the theory.... The point ...
26
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4answers
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Reference for the Gelfand-Neumark theorem for commutative von Neumann algebras

The Gelfand-Neumark theorem for commutative von Neumann algebras states that the following three categories are equivalent: (1) The opposite category of the category of commutative von Neumann ...
23
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Subalgebras of von Neumann algebras

In the late 70s, Cuntz and Behncke had a paper H. Behncke and J. Cuntz, Local Completeness of Operator Algebras, Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society, Vol. 62, No. 1 (Jan., 1977), pp. ...
22
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Can nuclearity be determined by tensoring with a single C*-algebra?

A C*-algebra is nuclear if the algebraic tensor product $A\odot B$ ($B$ is any other C*-algebra) admits a unique C*-norm. This definition requires testing the condition for nuclearity with `all' ...
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Szőkefalvi-Nagy's unitarizability theorem in the Calkin algebra?

Here's a research problem, which I think interesting. Suppose that $t$ is an invertible element in the Calkin algebra $\mathcal{Q} = \mathcal{B}(\ell_2)/\mathcal{K}(\ell_2)$ which satisfies $\sup_{n ...
21
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5answers
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Why are subfactors interesting?

I get asked this question a lot, and am not very happy with any of the answers. Vaguely I think of subfactor theory as a generalization of representation theory of groups. That is, if you have a ...
21
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Finite subgroups of unitary groups

Let $n$ be an integer. Camille Jordan showed that there exists some $m \in {\mathbb N}$ (depending on $n$), such that for any pair of $n \times n$-unitaries $u,v \in U(n)$ which generate a finite ...
21
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When are two C*-algebras isomorphic as Banach spaces?

We may consider each $C^*$-algebra as a Banach space (by forgetting the multiplication and adjoint). I wonder how drastic this step is, i.e., which properties of the $C^*$-algebra are reflected by its ...
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Finite-dimensional subalgebras of $C^\star$-algebras

Let $A$ be a unital $C^\star$-algebra and let $a_1,\dots,a_n$ be a finite list of normal elements in $A$ which (together with their adjoints) generate a norm-dense $\star$-subalgebra $B \subset A$. ...
20
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Nonseparable disintegration theory: references

I mean a theorem of the following kind. Let $A$ be a C*-algebra, and let $\pi: A\to B(H)$ be its representation. Then there exist a set $P$ with a positive measure $\mu$, a field of Hilbert spaces ...
19
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2answers
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Does left-invertible imply invertible in full group C*-algebras (discrete case)?

The following question/problem has been bugging me on and off for some time now: so I thought it might be worth broaching here on MO, as a case of "ask the experts". Let $G$ be a discrete group. ...
19
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3answers
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Can we recover a von Neumann algebra from its predual?

By definition, a von Neumann algebra is a C*‑algebra A that admits a predual, i.e., a Banach space Z such that Z* is isomorphic to the underlying Banach space of A. (We require that isomorphisms in ...
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Is the Invariant Subspace Problem interesting?

There's an amusing comment in Peter Lax's Functional Analysis book. After a brief description of the Invariant Subspace Problem, he says (paraphrasing) "...this question is still open. It is also an ...
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1answer
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What is about nonassociative geometry?

At the end of a conference given by Alain Connes in 2000 (here is a video in French), a member of the audience asked a question. I transcribed and translated it for you below: Audience: You showed ...
18
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1answer
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“Minimal” group C*-algebra?

Let $\Gamma$ be a discrete group (though this could be asked for general locally compact groups) and consider the Banach $*$-algebra $\ell^1(\Gamma)$. We have two natural $C^*$-algebra completions: ...
17
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Simplest examples of rings that are not isomorphic to their opposites

What are the simplest examples of rings that are not isomorphic to their opposite rings? Is there a science to constructing them? The only simple example known to me: In Jacobson's Basic Algebra ...
17
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Commutators in the reduced C*-algebra of the free group

Is it known whether any element of trace 0 in the reduced $C^*$-algebra of a non-abelian free group, is a limit of sums of (additive) commutators?
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What's a noncommutative set?

This issue is for logicians and operator algebraists (but also for anyone who is interested). Let's start by short reminders on von Neumann algebra (for more details, see [J], [T], [W]): Let $H$ ...
17
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1answer
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On complemented von Neumann algebras

Edit: according to Narutaka Ozawa, question 3) is still open in the type $\mathrm{II}_1$ case. In other terms, it is not known whether every topologically complemented type $\mathrm{II}_1$ factor in ...
17
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Which groups are the unitary group of a $C^*$-algebra

Which groups are the unitary group of a $C^*$-algebra? Does anyone know anything in this direction?
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3answers
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Reference request for translating from Top to C*-alg

Some recent questions on MO (for example, Do subalgebras of C(X) admit a description in terms of the compact Hausdorff space X?) have been about Gelfand duality-- namely, that the categories of ...
16
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1answer
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Commuting unitaries

Is the following true: For every unit vectors $x_1,..., x_n$, $y_1,..., y_n$ in $\mathbb{C}^k$ there exist a Hilbert space $H$, unitary operators $U_1,...,U_n$ and $V_1,...,V_n$ in $B(H)$ and unit ...
16
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Relative commutants of abelian von Neumann algebras

This question arose from the discussion over at the question Centralizers in $C^*$-algebras. Which von Neumann algebras $N$ satisfy the property that $A' \cap N = B' \cap N \implies A = B$, for all ...
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Noncommutative smooth manifolds

Connes defined a noncommutative analog of a closed oriented Riemannian spin^c manifold using spectral triples. Using his definition it is unclear how to separate the smooth structure from the metric. ...
15
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1answer
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A possible extension of a determinant inequality

It is well known that if $A, B$ are positive semidefinite matrices, then $$\det (A+B)\ge \det A+\det B.$$ I am considering a possible extension of this result. Let $\mathbb{M}_m(\mathbb{M}_n)$ ...
15
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automorphisms of C*-algebras and partial isometries

Let $A$ be a $C^*$-algebra, let $p$ and $q$ be Murray-von Neumann equivalent projections in $A$, i.e. there is a partial isometry $v$ such that $v^*v = p$ and $vv^* = q$. Suppose $\alpha \in Aut(A)$ ...
15
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1answer
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Denseness of inner automorphisms inside automorphisms of hyperfinite type III_1 factor

Let $R$ be the hyperfinite type $III_1$ factor, and let $Aut(R)$ be its group of automorphisms, equipped with the $u$-topology (topology of pointwise convergence on the predual). An automorphism ...
15
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1answer
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Operator Valued Kadison--Singer Problem

The Paving Conjecture, which is equivalent to the famous Kadison--Singer Problem, was spectacularly settled in the affirmative by Marcus--Spielman--Srivastava (arxiv:1306.3969). Let $E$ denote the ...
15
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1answer
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Convolution algebras for double groupoids?

There is a lot of work of course on convolution algebras of measured groupoids, and this gives "Noncommutative geometry". However there is a lot of interest in algebraically structured groupoids, for ...
15
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Explicit path in the unitary group of a $C^*$-algebra

For $G$ a discrete group, there is a canonical inclusion $g\mapsto u_g$ of $G$ into the unitary group of the reduced $C^*$-algebra $C^*_r(G)$. Denote by $[u_g]$ the class of $u_g$ in the (topological) ...
15
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Standard polynomials applied to matrices

The standard polynomial in $r$ non-commuting indeterminates $x_1,\ldots,x_r$ is defined by $${\mathcal S}_r(x_1,\ldots,x_r):=\sum_{\sigma\in S_r}\epsilon(\sigma)x_{\sigma(1)}x_{\sigma(2)}\cdots ...
15
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The Mackey Topology on a Von Neumann Algebra

Every von Neumann algebra $\mathcal M$ is the dual of a unique Banach space $\mathcal M_* $. The Mackey topology on $\mathcal M$ is the topology of uniform convergence on weakly compact subsets of ...
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Realizing universal C*-algebras as concrete C*-algebras

How do I in general realize a universal C*-algebra generated by some generators and relation as concrete C*-algebras? For example, I know that universal C*-algebra generated by a single unitary is ...
14
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About the category of von neumann algebras

I am looking for one (or more) reference about properties of the category of von Neumann algebra. More precisely, in an answer of a previous question, Dmitri Pavlov mentions that the $W^*$ category ...
14
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2answers
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“Explicit” embedding of $\ell^1$ as a closed subalgebra of a direct sum of matrix algebras

For sake of brevity let $A$ denote the Banach algebra formed by equipping $\ell^1({\mathbb N})$ with pointwise multiplication. This algebra is clearly not isomorphic as a Banach algebra to any uniform ...
14
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Banach spaces with few linear operators ?

Sometimes, dealing with the concrete and familiar Banach spaces of everyday life in maths, I happen nevertheless to ask myself about the generality of certain constructions. But, as I try to abstract ...
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Amenability of groups in terms of a perturbation condition

Let $G$ be a countable group and $\lambda \colon G \to U(\ell^2 G)$ its left-regular representation. Suppose that there exists a constant $C>0$ such that for all $T \in B(\ell^2 G)$ $$\inf ...
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Examples of noncommutative analogs outside operator algebras?

Theo's question made me wonder if there are other "noncommutative analogs" outside of operator algebras. Some noncommutative analogs from operator algebras include: A $C^\ast$-algebra is a ...
13
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Are almost commuting hermitian matrices close to commuting matrices (in the 2-norm)?

I consider on $M_n(\mathbb C)$ the normalized $2$-norm, i.e. the norm given by $\|A\|_2 = \sqrt{Tr(A^* A)/n}$. My question is whether a $k$-uple of hermitian matrices that are almost commuting (with ...
13
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Connes' embedding conjecture for uncountable groups

In this topic, I will use the word uncountable group referring to groups whose cardinality is $\leq|\mathbb R|$. Notation: $R$ is the hyperfinite $II_1$-factor, $\omega$ is a free ultrafilter on the ...
13
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1answer
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P-adic C* algebras

I understand that there is a definition of p-adic Banach algebras and that a significant amount of functional analysis can be developed in the non-archimedean setting. Is there a p-adic version of ...