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Banach space

In mathematics, Banach spaces, named after Stefan Banach who studied them, are one of the central objects of study in functional analysis. Banach spaces are typically infinite-dimensional spaces containing functions.



Banach spaces are defined as complete normed vector spaces. This means that a Banach space is a vector space V over the real or complex numbers with a norm ||.|| such that every Cauchy sequence (with respect to the metric d(x, y) = ||x - y||) in V has a limit in V.


Throughout, let K stand for one of the fields R or C.

The familiar Euclidean spaces Kn, where the Euclidean norm of x = (x1, ..., xn) is given by ||x|| = (∑ |xi|2)1/2, are Banach spaces.

The space of all continuous functions f : [a, b] → K defined on a closed interval [a, b] becomes a Banach space if we define the norm of such a function as ||f|| = sup { |f(x)| : x in [a, b] }. This is indeed a norm since continuous functions defined on a closed interval are bounded. The space is complete under this norm, and the resulting Banach space is denoted by C[a, b]. This example can be generalized to the space C(X) of all continuous functions XK, where X is a compact space, or to the space of all bounded continuous functions XK, where X is any topological space, or indeed to the space B(X) of all bounded functions XK, where X is any set. In all these examples, we can multiply functions and stay in the same space: all these examples are in fact unitary Banach algebras.

If p ≥ 1 is a real number, we can consider the space of all infinite sequences (x1, x2, x3, ...) of elements in K such that the infinite seriesi |xi|p is finite. The p-th root of this series' value is then defined to be the p-norm of the sequence. The space, together with this norm, is a Banach space; it is denoted by l p.

The Banach space l consists of all bounded sequences of elements in K; the norm of such a sequence is defined to be the supremum of the absolute values of the sequence's members.

Again, if p ≥ 1 is a real number, we can consider all functions f : [a, b] → K such that |f|p is Lebesgue integrable. The p-th root of this integral is then defined to be the norm of f. By itself, this space is not a Banach space because there are non-zero functions whose norm is zero. We define an equivalence relation as follows: f and g are equivalent if and only if the norm of f - g is zero. The set of equivalence classes then forms a Banach space; it is denoted by L p[a, b]. It is crucial to use the Lebesgue integral and not the Riemann integral here, because the Riemann integral would not yield a complete space. These examples can be generalized; see L p spaces for details.

If X and Y are two Banach spaces, then we can form their direct sum XY, which is again a Banach space. This construction can be generalized to the direct sum of arbitrarily many Banach spaces.

If M is a closed subspace of the Banach space X, then the quotient space X/M is again a Banach space.

Finally, every Hilbert space is a Banach space. The converse is not true.

Linear operators

If V and W are Banach spaces over the same ground field K, the set of all continuous K-linear maps A : VW is denoted by L(V, W). Note that in infinite-dimensional spaces, not all linear maps are automatically continuous. L(V, W) is a vector space, and by defining the norm ||A|| = sup { ||Ax|| : x in V with ||x|| ≤ 1 } it can be turned into a Banach space.

The space L(V) = L(V, V) even forms a unitary Banach algebra; the multiplication operation is given by the composition of linear maps.

Dual space

If V is a Banach space and K is the underlying field (either the real or the complex numbers), then K is itself a Banach space (using the absolute value as norm) and we can define the dual space V by V = L(V, K). This is again a Banach space. It can be used to define a new topology on V: the weak topology.

There is a natural map F from V to V'' defined by

F(x)(f) = f(x)

for all x in V and f in V'. As a consequence of the Hahn-Banach theorem, this map is injective; if it is also surjective, then the Banach space V is called reflexive. Reflexive spaces have many important geometric properties. A space is reflexive if and only if its dual is reflexive, which is the case if and only if its unit ball is compact in the weak topology.

For example, lp is reflexive for 1<p<∞ but l1 and l are not reflexive. The dual of lp is lq where p and q are related by the formula (1/p) + (1/q) = 1. See L p spaces for details.

Relationship to Hilbert spaces

As mentioned above, every Hilbert space is a Banach space because, by definition, a Hilbert space is complete with respect to the norm associated with its inner product.

Not every Banach space is a Hilbert space. A necessary and sufficient condition for a Banach space to also be a Hilbert space is the parallelogram identity:

\|u+v\|^2 + \|u-v\|^2 = 2(\|u\|^2 + \|v\|^2)

for all u and v in our Banach space V, and where ||*|| is the norm on V.

If the norm of a Banach space satisfies this identity, then the space is also a Hilbert space, with inner product given by the polarization identity. If V is a real Banach space, then the polarization identity is

(u,v) = \frac{1}{4} (\|u+v\|^2 - \|u-v\|^2)

whereas if V is a complex Banach space, then the polarization identity is given by

(u,v) = \frac{1}{4} (\|u+v\|^2 - \|u-v\|^2 - i(\|u+iv\|^2 - \|u-iv\|^2))

to see why the parallelogram implies that the form defined by the polarization identity is indeed a complete inner product, one verifies algebraically that this form is additive, whence it follows by induction that the form is linear over the integers and rationals. Then since every real is the limit of some Cauchy sequence of rationals, the completeness of the norm extends the linearity to the whole real line. In the complex case, one can check also that the bilinear form is linear over i in one argument, and conjugate linear in the other.


It is possible to define the derivative of a function f : VW between two Banach spaces. Intuitively, if x is an element of V, the derivative of f at the point x is a continuous linear map which approximates f near x.

Formally, f is called differentiable at x if there exists a continuous linear map A : VW such that

\lim_{h \to 0} \frac{ \| f(x + h) - f(x) - A(h) \| }{ \|h\| } = 0.

The limit here is taken over all sequences of non-zero elements in V which converge to 0. If the limit exists, we write Df(x) = A and call it the derivative of f at x.

This notion of derivative is in fact a generalization of the ordinary derivative of functions RR, since the linear maps from R to R are just multiplications with real numbers.

If f is differentiable at every point x of V, then Df : V → L(V, W) is another map between Banach spaces (in general not a linear map!), and can possibly be differentiated again, thus defining the higher derivatives of f. The n-th derivative at a point x can then be viewed as a multilinear map VnW.

Differentiation is a linear operation in the following sense: if f and g are two maps VW which are differentiable at x, and r and s are scalars from K, then rf + sg is differentiable at x with D(rf + sg)(x) = rD(f)(x) + sD(g)(x).

The chain rule is also valid in this context: if f : VW is differentiable at x in V, and g : WX is differentiable in f(x), then the composition g o f is differentiable in x and the derivative is the composition of the derivatives:

D(g \circ f)(x) = D(g)(f(x)) \circ D(f)(x).


Several important spaces in functional analysis, for instance the space of all infinitely often differentiable functions RR or the space of all distributions on R, are complete but are not normed vector spaces and hence not Banach spaces. In Fréchet spaces one still has a complete metric, while LF-spaces are complete uniform vector spaces arising as limits of Fréchet spaces.

External links

For historical references see the Banach space entry in

See also

  • wikibooks:Algebra:Inner product spaces

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