ideal (ring theory)
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In
ring theory In algebra, ring theory is the study of rings—algebraic structures in which addition and multiplication are defined and have similar properties to those operations defined for the integers. Ring theory studies the structure of rings, their r ...
, a branch of
abstract algebra In mathematics, more specifically algebra, abstract algebra or modern algebra is the study of algebraic structures. Algebraic structures include group (mathematics), groups, ring (mathematics), rings, field (mathematics), fields, module (mathe ...
, an ideal of a
ring Ring may refer to: * Ring (jewellery), a round band, usually made of metal, worn as ornamental jewelry * To make a sound with a bell, and the sound made by a bell :(hence) to initiate a telephone connection Arts, entertainment and media Film and ...
is a special subset of its elements. Ideals generalize certain subsets of the
integer An integer is the number zero (), a positive natural number (, , , etc.) or a negative integer with a minus sign ( −1, −2, −3, etc.). The negative numbers are the additive inverses of the corresponding positive numbers. In the languag ...
s, such as the
even numbers In mathematics, parity is the property of an integer of whether it is even or odd. An integer is even if it is a multiple of two, and odd if it is not.. For example, −4, 0, 82 are even because \begin -2 \cdot 2 &= -4 \\ 0 \cdot 2 &= 0 \\ ...
or the multiples of 3. Addition and subtraction of even numbers preserves evenness, and multiplying an even number by any integer (even or odd) results in an even number; these closure and absorption properties are the defining properties of an ideal. An ideal can be used to construct a
quotient ring In ring theory, a branch of abstract algebra, a quotient ring, also known as factor ring, difference ring or residue class ring, is a construction quite similar to the quotient group in group theory and to the quotient space in linear algebra. ...
in a way similar to how, in
group theory In abstract algebra, group theory studies the algebraic structures known as group (mathematics), groups. The concept of a group is central to abstract algebra: other well-known algebraic structures, such as ring (mathematics), rings, field ...
, a normal subgroup can be used to construct a quotient group. Among the integers, the ideals correspond one-for-one with the
non-negative integer In mathematics, the natural numbers are those numbers used for counting (as in "there are ''six'' coins on the table") and ordering (as in "this is the ''third'' largest city in the country"). Numbers used for counting are called '' cardinal ...
s: in this ring, every ideal is a
principal ideal In mathematics, specifically ring theory, a principal ideal is an ideal I in a ring R that is generated by a single element a of R through multiplication by every element of R. The term also has another, similar meaning in order theory, where ...
consisting of the multiples of a single non-negative number. However, in other rings, the ideals may not correspond directly to the ring elements, and certain properties of integers, when generalized to rings, attach more naturally to the ideals than to the elements of the ring. For instance, the prime ideals of a ring are analogous to
prime number A prime number (or a prime) is a natural number greater than 1 that is not a product of two smaller natural numbers. A natural number greater than 1 that is not prime is called a composite number. For example, 5 is prime because the only ways ...
s, and the Chinese remainder theorem can be generalized to ideals. There is a version of unique prime factorization for the ideals of a
Dedekind domain In abstract algebra, a Dedekind domain or Dedekind ring, named after Richard Dedekind, is an integral domain in which every nonzero proper ideal factors into a product of prime ideals. It can be shown that such a factorization is then necessarily ...
(a type of ring important in
number theory Number theory (or arithmetic or higher arithmetic in older usage) is a branch of pure mathematics devoted primarily to the study of the integers and integer-valued functions. German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777–1855) said, "Mat ...
). The related, but distinct, concept of an
ideal Ideal may refer to: Philosophy * Ideal (ethics), values that one actively pursues as goals * Platonic ideal, a philosophical idea of trueness of form, associated with Plato Mathematics * Ideal (ring theory), special subsets of a ring considere ...
in
order theory Order theory is a branch of mathematics that investigates the intuitive notion of order using binary relations. It provides a formal framework for describing statements such as "this is less than that" or "this precedes that". This article int ...
is derived from the notion of ideal in ring theory. A
fractional ideal In mathematics, in particular commutative algebra, the concept of fractional ideal is introduced in the context of integral domains and is particularly fruitful in the study of Dedekind domains. In some sense, fractional ideals of an integral ...
is a generalization of an ideal, and the usual ideals are sometimes called integral ideals for clarity.


History

Ernst Kummer Ernst Eduard Kummer (29 January 1810 – 14 May 1893) was a German mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics in their work, typically to solve mathematical problems. Mathematicians are concerned ...
invented the concept of
ideal number In number theory an ideal number is an algebraic integer which represents an ideal in the ring of integers of a number field; the idea was developed by Ernst Kummer, and led to Richard Dedekind's definition of ideals for rings. An ideal in the rin ...
s to serve as the "missing" factors in number rings in which unique factorization fails; here the word "ideal" is in the sense of existing in imagination only, in analogy with "ideal" objects in geometry such as points at infinity. In 1876, Richard Dedekind replaced Kummer's undefined concept by concrete sets of numbers, sets that he called ideals, in the third edition of
Dirichlet Johann Peter Gustav Lejeune Dirichlet (; 13 February 1805 – 5 May 1859) was a German mathematician who made deep contributions to number theory (including creating the field of analytic number theory), and to the theory of Fourier series and ...
's book ''
Vorlesungen über Zahlentheorie (German for ''Lectures on Number Theory'') is the name of several different textbooks of number theory. The best known was written by Peter Gustav Lejeune Dirichlet and Richard Dedekind, and published in 1863. Others were written by Leopold Krone ...
'', to which Dedekind had added many supplements. Later the notion was extended beyond number rings to the setting of polynomial rings and other commutative rings by David Hilbert and especially
Emmy Noether Amalie Emmy NoetherEmmy is the '' Rufname'', the second of two official given names, intended for daily use. Cf. for example the résumé submitted by Noether to Erlangen University in 1907 (Erlangen University archive, ''Promotionsakt Emmy Noeth ...
.


Definitions and motivation

For an arbitrary ring (R,+,\cdot), let (R,+) be its
additive group An additive group is a group of which the group operation is to be thought of as ''addition'' in some sense. It is usually abelian, and typically written using the symbol + for its binary operation. This terminology is widely used with structures ...
. A subset I is called a left ideal of R if it is an additive subgroup of R that "absorbs multiplication from the left by elements of R"; that is, I is a left ideal if it satisfies the following two conditions: # (I,+) is a
subgroup In group theory, a branch of mathematics, given a group ''G'' under a binary operation ∗, a subset ''H'' of ''G'' is called a subgroup of ''G'' if ''H'' also forms a group under the operation ∗. More precisely, ''H'' is a subgroup ...
of (R,+), # For every r \in R and every x \in I, the product r x is in I. A right ideal is defined with the condition replaced by . A two-sided ideal is a left ideal that is also a right ideal, and is sometimes simply called an ideal. In the language of
module Module, modular and modularity may refer to the concept of modularity. They may also refer to: Computing and engineering * Modular design, the engineering discipline of designing complex devices using separately designed sub-components * Mo ...
s, the definitions mean that a left (resp. right, two-sided) ideal of ''R'' is an ''R''-
submodule In mathematics, a module is a generalization of the notion of vector space in which the field of scalars is replaced by a ring. The concept of ''module'' generalizes also the notion of abelian group, since the abelian groups are exactly the mo ...
of ''R'' when ''R'' is viewed as a left (resp. right, bi-) ''R''-module. When ''R'' is a commutative ring, the definitions of left, right, and two-sided ideal coincide, and the term ideal is used alone. To understand the concept of an ideal, consider how ideals arise in the construction of rings of "elements modulo". For concreteness, let us look at the ring ℤ/''n''ℤ of integers modulo ''n'' given integer (note that ℤ is a commutative ring). The key observation here is that we obtain ℤ/''n''ℤ by taking the integer line ℤ and wrapping it around itself so that various integers get identified. In doing so, we must satisfy 2 requirements: 1) ''n'' must be identified with 0 since ''n'' is congruent to 0 modulo ''n.'' 2) the resulting structure must again be a ring. The second requirement forces us to make additional identifications (i.e., it determines the precise way in which we must wrap ℤ around itself). The notion of an ideal arises when we ask the question:
What is the exact set of integers that we are forced to identify with 0?
The answer is, unsurprisingly, the set of all integers congruent to 0 modulo ''n''. That is, we must wrap ℤ around itself infinitely many times so that the integers ..., , , , , ... will all align with 0. If we look at what properties this set must satisfy in order to ensure that ℤ/''n''ℤ is a ring, then we arrive at the definition of an ideal. Indeed, one can directly verify that ''n''ℤ is an ideal of ℤ. Remark. Identifications with elements other than 0 also need to be made. For example, the elements in must be identified with 1, the elements in must be identified with 2, and so on. Those, however, are uniquely determined by ''n''ℤ since ℤ is an additive group. We can make a similar construction in any commutative ring ''R'': start with an arbitrary , and then identify with 0 all elements of the ideal It turns out that the ideal ''xR'' is the smallest ideal that contains ''x'', called the ideal generated by ''x''. More generally, we can start with an arbitrary subset , and then identify with 0 all the elements in the ideal generated by ''S'': the smallest ideal (''S'') such that . The ring that we obtain after the identification depends only on the ideal (''S'') and not on the set ''S'' that we started with. That is, if , then the resulting rings will be the same. Therefore, an ideal ''I'' of a commutative ring ''R'' captures canonically the information needed to obtain the ring of elements of ''R'' modulo a given subset . The elements of ''I'', by definition, are those that are congruent to zero, that is, identified with zero in the resulting ring. The resulting ring is called the
quotient In arithmetic, a quotient (from lat, quotiens 'how many times', pronounced ) is a quantity produced by the division of two numbers. The quotient has widespread use throughout mathematics, and is commonly referred to as the integer part of a ...
of ''R'' by ''I'' and is denoted ''R''/''I''. Intuitively, the definition of an ideal postulates two natural conditions necessary for ''I'' to contain all elements designated as "zeros" by ''R''/''I'': # ''I'' is an additive subgroup of ''R'': the zero 0 of ''R'' is a "zero" , and if and are "zeros", then is a "zero" too. # Any multiplied by a "zero" is a "zero" . It turns out that the above conditions are also sufficient for ''I'' to contain all the necessary "zeros": no other elements have to be designated as "zero" in order to form ''R''/''I''. (In fact, no other elements should be designated as "zero" if we want to make the fewest identifications.) Remark. The above construction still works using two-sided ideals even if ''R'' is not necessarily commutative.


Examples and properties

(For the sake of brevity, some results are stated only for left ideals but are usually also true for right ideals with appropriate notation changes.) * In a ring ''R'', the set ''R'' itself forms a two-sided ideal of ''R'' called the unit ideal. It is often also denoted by (1) since it is precisely the two-sided ideal generated (see below) by the unity 1_R. Also, the set \ consisting of only the additive identity 0''R'' forms a two-sided ideal called the zero ideal and is denoted by (0).Some authors call the zero and unit ideals of a ring ''R'' the trivial ideals of ''R''. Every (left, right or two-sided) ideal contains the zero ideal and is contained in the unit ideal. * An (left, right or two-sided) ideal that is not the unit ideal is called a proper ideal (as it is a
proper subset In mathematics, set ''A'' is a subset of a set ''B'' if all elements of ''A'' are also elements of ''B''; ''B'' is then a superset of ''A''. It is possible for ''A'' and ''B'' to be equal; if they are unequal, then ''A'' is a proper subset of ...
). Note: a left ideal \mathfrak is proper if and only if it does not contain a unit element, since if u \in \mathfrak is a unit element, then r = (r u^) u \in \mathfrak for every r \in R. Typically there are plenty of proper ideals. In fact, if ''R'' is a
skew-field In algebra, a division ring, also called a skew field, is a nontrivial ring in which division by nonzero elements is defined. Specifically, it is a nontrivial ring in which every nonzero element has a multiplicative inverse, that is, an element ...
, then (0), (1) are its only ideals and conversely: that is, a nonzero ring ''R'' is a skew-field if (0), (1) are the only left (or right) ideals. (Proof: if x is a nonzero element, then the principal left ideal Rx (see below) is nonzero and thus Rx = (1); i.e., yx = 1 for some nonzero y. Likewise, zy = 1 for some nonzero z. Then z = z(yx) = (zy)x = x.) * The even
integer An integer is the number zero (), a positive natural number (, , , etc.) or a negative integer with a minus sign ( −1, −2, −3, etc.). The negative numbers are the additive inverses of the corresponding positive numbers. In the languag ...
s form an ideal in the ring \mathbb of all integers; it is usually denoted by 2\mathbb. This is because the sum of any even integers is even, and the product of any integer with an even integer is also even. Similarly, the set of all integers divisible by a fixed integer ''n'' is an ideal denoted n\mathbb. * The set of all
polynomial In mathematics, a polynomial is an expression consisting of indeterminates (also called variables) and coefficients, that involves only the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and positive-integer powers of variables. An example ...
s with real coefficients which are divisible by the polynomial ''x''2 + 1 is an ideal in the ring of all polynomials. * The set of all ''n''-by-''n''
matrices Matrix most commonly refers to: * ''The Matrix'' (franchise), an American media franchise ** ''The Matrix'', a 1999 science-fiction action film ** "The Matrix", a fictional setting, a virtual reality environment, within ''The Matrix'' (franchis ...
whose last row is zero forms a right ideal in the ring of all ''n''-by-''n'' matrices. It is not a left ideal. The set of all ''n''-by-''n'' matrices whose last ''column'' is zero forms a left ideal but not a right ideal. * The ring C(\mathbb) of all continuous functions ''f'' from \mathbb to \mathbb under
pointwise multiplication In mathematics, the pointwise product of two functions is another function, obtained by multiplying the images of the two functions at each value in the domain. If and are both functions with domain and codomain , and elements of can be mul ...
contains the ideal of all continuous functions ''f'' such that ''f''(1) = 0. Another ideal in C(\mathbb) is given by those functions which vanish for large enough arguments, i.e. those continuous functions ''f'' for which there exists a number ''L'' > 0 such that ''f''(''x'') = 0 whenever > ''L''. * A ring is called a
simple ring In abstract algebra, a branch of mathematics, a simple ring is a non-zero ring that has no two-sided ideal besides the zero ideal and itself. In particular, a commutative ring is a simple ring if and only if it is a field. The center of a sim ...
if it is nonzero and has no two-sided ideals other than (0), (1). Thus, a skew-field is simple and a simple commutative ring is a field. The matrix ring over a skew-field is a simple ring. * If f: R \to S is a
ring homomorphism In ring theory, a branch of abstract algebra, a ring homomorphism is a structure-preserving function between two rings. More explicitly, if ''R'' and ''S'' are rings, then a ring homomorphism is a function such that ''f'' is: :addition preser ...
, then the kernel \ker(f) = f^(0_S) is a two-sided ideal of R. By definition, f(1_R) = 1_S, and thus if S is not the zero ring (so 1_S\ne0_S), then \ker(f) is a proper ideal. More generally, for each left ideal ''I'' of ''S'', the pre-image f^(I) is a left ideal. If ''I'' is a left ideal of ''R'', then f(I) is a left ideal of the subring f(R) of ''S'': unless ''f'' is surjective, f(I) need not be an ideal of ''S''; see also #Extension and contraction of an ideal below. * Ideal correspondence: Given a surjective ring homomorphism f: R \to S, there is a bijective order-preserving correspondence between the left (resp. right, two-sided) ideals of R containing the kernel of f and the left (resp. right, two-sided) ideals of S: the correspondence is given by I \mapsto f(I) and the pre-image J \mapsto f^(J). Moreover, for commutative rings, this bijective correspondence restricts to prime ideals, maximal ideals, and radical ideals (see the Types of ideals section for the definitions of these ideals). * (For those who know modules) If ''M'' is a left ''R''-module and S \subset M a subset, then the annihilator \operatorname_R(S) = \ of ''S'' is a left ideal. Given ideals \mathfrak, \mathfrak of a commutative ring ''R'', the ''R''-annihilator of (\mathfrak + \mathfrak)/\mathfrak is an ideal of ''R'' called the ideal quotient of \mathfrak by \mathfrak and is denoted by (\mathfrak : \mathfrak); it is an instance of
idealizer In abstract algebra, the idealizer of a subsemigroup ''T'' of a semigroup ''S'' is the largest subsemigroup of ''S'' in which ''T'' is an Semigroup#Subsemigroups and ideals, ideal. Such an idealizer is given by :\mathbb_S(T)=\. In ring theory, if ...
in commutative algebra. * Let \mathfrak_i, i \in S be an ascending chain of left ideals in a ring ''R''; i.e., S is a totally ordered set and \mathfrak_i \subset \mathfrak_j for each i < j. Then the union \textstyle \bigcup_ \mathfrak_i is a left ideal of ''R''. (Note: this fact remains true even if ''R'' is without the unity 1.) * The above fact together with Zorn's lemma proves the following: if E \subset R is a possibly empty subset and \mathfrak_0 \subset R is a left ideal that is disjoint from ''E'', then there is an ideal that is maximal among the ideals containing \mathfrak_0 and disjoint from ''E''. (Again this is still valid if the ring ''R'' lacks the unity 1.) When R \ne 0, taking \mathfrak_0 = (0) and E = \, in particular, there exists a left ideal that is maximal among proper left ideals (often simply called a maximal left ideal); see
Krull's theorem In mathematics, and more specifically in ring theory, Krull's theorem, named after Wolfgang Krull, asserts that a nonzero ring has at least one maximal ideal. The theorem was proved in 1929 by Krull, who used transfinite induction. The theorem a ...
for more. *An arbitrary union of ideals need not be an ideal, but the following is still true: given a possibly empty subset ''X'' of ''R'', there is the smallest left ideal containing ''X'', called the left ideal generated by ''X'' and is denoted by RX. Such an ideal exists since it is the intersection of all left ideals containing ''X''. Equivalently, RX is the set of all the (finite) left ''R''-linear combinations of elements of ''X'' over ''R'': *:RX = \. :(since such a span is the smallest left ideal containing ''X''.)If ''R'' does not have a unit, then the internal descriptions above must be modified slightly. In addition to the finite sums of products of things in ''X'' with things in ''R'', we must allow the addition of ''n''-fold sums of the form , and ''n''-fold sums of the form for every ''x'' in ''X'' and every ''n'' in the natural numbers. When ''R'' has a unit, this extra requirement becomes superfluous. A right (resp. two-sided) ideal generated by ''X'' is defined in the similar way. For "two-sided", one has to use linear combinations from both sides; i.e., ::RXR = \.\, *A left (resp. right, two-sided) ideal generated by a single element ''x'' is called the principal left (resp. right, two-sided) ideal generated by ''x'' and is denoted by Rx (resp. xR, RxR). The principal two-sided ideal RxR is often also denoted by (x). If X = \ is a finite set, then RXR is also written as (x_1, \dots, x_n). * In the ring \mathbb of integers, every ideal can be generated by a single number (so \mathbb is a principal ideal domain), as a consequence of
Euclidean division In arithmetic, Euclidean division – or division with remainder – is the process of dividing one integer (the dividend) by another (the divisor), in a way that produces an integer quotient and a natural number remainder strictly smaller than ...
(or some other way). *There is a bijective correspondence between ideals and congruence relations (equivalence relations that respect the ring structure) on the ring: Given an ideal ''I'' of a ring ''R'', let if . Then ~ is a congruence relation on ''R''. Conversely, given a congruence relation ~ on ''R'', let . Then ''I'' is an ideal of ''R''.


Types of ideals

''To simplify the description all rings are assumed to be commutative. The non-commutative case is discussed in detail in the respective articles.'' Ideals are important because they appear as kernels of ring homomorphisms and allow one to define
factor ring In ring theory, a branch of abstract algebra, a quotient ring, also known as factor ring, difference ring or residue class ring, is a construction quite similar to the quotient group in group theory and to the quotient space in linear algebra. I ...
s. Different types of ideals are studied because they can be used to construct different types of factor rings. *
Maximal ideal In mathematics, more specifically in ring theory, a maximal ideal is an ideal that is maximal (with respect to set inclusion) amongst all ''proper'' ideals. In other words, ''I'' is a maximal ideal of a ring ''R'' if there are no other ideals c ...
: A proper ideal ''I'' is called a maximal ideal if there exists no other proper ideal ''J'' with ''I'' a proper subset of ''J''. The factor ring of a maximal ideal is a
simple ring In abstract algebra, a branch of mathematics, a simple ring is a non-zero ring that has no two-sided ideal besides the zero ideal and itself. In particular, a commutative ring is a simple ring if and only if it is a field. The center of a sim ...
in general and is a
field Field may refer to: Expanses of open ground * Field (agriculture), an area of land used for agricultural purposes * Airfield, an aerodrome that lacks the infrastructure of an airport * Battlefield * Lawn, an area of mowed grass * Meadow, a grass ...
for commutative rings. *
Minimal ideal In the branch of abstract algebra known as ring theory, a minimal right ideal of a ring ''R'' is a nonzero right ideal which contains no other nonzero right ideal. Likewise, a minimal left ideal is a nonzero left ideal of ''R'' containing no other n ...
: A nonzero ideal is called minimal if it contains no other nonzero ideal. * Prime ideal: A proper ideal ''I'' is called a prime ideal if for any ''a'' and ''b'' in ''R'', if ''ab'' is in ''I'', then at least one of ''a'' and ''b'' is in ''I''. The factor ring of a prime ideal is a
prime ring In abstract algebra, a nonzero ring ''R'' is a prime ring if for any two elements ''a'' and ''b'' of ''R'', ''arb'' = 0 for all ''r'' in ''R'' implies that either ''a'' = 0 or ''b'' = 0. This definition can be regarded as a simultaneous generaliz ...
in general and is an
integral domain In mathematics, specifically abstract algebra, an integral domain is a nonzero commutative ring in which the product of any two nonzero elements is nonzero. Integral domains are generalizations of the ring of integers and provide a natural s ...
for commutative rings. *
Radical ideal In ring theory, a branch of mathematics, the radical of an ideal I of a commutative ring is another ideal defined by the property that an element x is in the radical if and only if some power of x is in I. Taking the radical of an ideal is called ' ...
or semiprime ideal: A proper ideal ''I'' is called radical or semiprime if for any ''a'' in ''R'', if ''a''''n'' is in ''I'' for some ''n'', then ''a'' is in ''I''. The factor ring of a radical ideal is a
semiprime ring In ring theory, a branch of mathematics, semiprime ideals and semiprime rings are generalizations of prime ideals and prime rings. In commutative algebra, semiprime ideals are also called radical ideals and semiprime rings are the same as reduced ...
for general rings, and is a
reduced ring In ring theory, a branch of mathematics, a ring is called a reduced ring if it has no non-zero nilpotent elements. Equivalently, a ring is reduced if it has no non-zero elements with square zero, that is, ''x''2 = 0 implies ''x'' = ...
for commutative rings. *
Primary ideal In mathematics, specifically commutative algebra, a proper ideal ''Q'' of a commutative ring ''A'' is said to be primary if whenever ''xy'' is an element of ''Q'' then ''x'' or ''y'n'' is also an element of ''Q'', for some ''n'' > 0. Fo ...
: An ideal ''I'' is called a primary ideal if for all ''a'' and ''b'' in ''R'', if ''ab'' is in ''I'', then at least one of ''a'' and ''b''''n'' is in ''I'' for some
natural number In mathematics, the natural numbers are those numbers used for counting (as in "there are ''six'' coins on the table") and ordering (as in "this is the ''third'' largest city in the country"). Numbers used for counting are called ''cardinal ...
''n''. Every prime ideal is primary, but not conversely. A semiprime primary ideal is prime. *
Principal ideal In mathematics, specifically ring theory, a principal ideal is an ideal I in a ring R that is generated by a single element a of R through multiplication by every element of R. The term also has another, similar meaning in order theory, where ...
: An ideal generated by ''one'' element. * Finitely generated ideal: This type of ideal is finitely generated as a module. *
Primitive ideal In mathematics, specifically ring theory, a left primitive ideal is the annihilator of a (nonzero) simple left module. A right primitive ideal is defined similarly. Left and right primitive ideals are always two-sided ideals. Primitive ideals ar ...
: A left primitive ideal is the annihilator of a
simple Simple or SIMPLE may refer to: *Simplicity, the state or quality of being simple Arts and entertainment * ''Simple'' (album), by Andy Yorke, 2008, and its title track * "Simple" (Florida Georgia Line song), 2018 * "Simple", a song by Johnn ...
left
module Module, modular and modularity may refer to the concept of modularity. They may also refer to: Computing and engineering * Modular design, the engineering discipline of designing complex devices using separately designed sub-components * Mo ...
. * Irreducible ideal: An ideal is said to be irreducible if it cannot be written as an intersection of ideals which properly contain it. * Comaximal ideals: Two ideals \mathfrak, \mathfrak are said to be comaximal if x + y = 1 for some x \in \mathfrak and y \in \mathfrak. * Regular ideal: This term has multiple uses. See the article for a list. *
Nil ideal In mathematics, more specifically ring theory, a left, right or two-sided ideal of a ring is said to be a nil ideal if each of its elements is nilpotent., p. 194 The nilradical of a commutative ring is an example of a nil ideal; in fact, it is ...
: An ideal is a nil ideal if each of its elements is nilpotent. *
Nilpotent ideal In mathematics, more specifically ring theory, an ideal ''I'' of a ring ''R'' is said to be a nilpotent ideal if there exists a natural number ''k'' such that ''I'k'' = 0. By ''I'k'', it is meant the additive subgroup generated by the set of ...
: Some power of it is zero. *
Parameter ideal In mathematics, a system of parameters for a local ring, local Noetherian ring of Krull dimension ''d'' with maximal ideal ''m'' is a set of elements ''x''1, ..., ''x'd'' that satisfies any of the following equivalent conditions: # ''m'' is a M ...
: an ideal generated by a system of parameters. Two other important terms using "ideal" are not always ideals of their ring. See their respective articles for details: *
Fractional ideal In mathematics, in particular commutative algebra, the concept of fractional ideal is introduced in the context of integral domains and is particularly fruitful in the study of Dedekind domains. In some sense, fractional ideals of an integral ...
: This is usually defined when ''R'' is a commutative domain with
quotient field In abstract algebra, the field of fractions of an integral domain is the smallest field in which it can be embedded. The construction of the field of fractions is modeled on the relationship between the integral domain of integers and the field ...
''K''. Despite their names, fractional ideals are ''R'' submodules of ''K'' with a special property. If the fractional ideal is contained entirely in ''R'', then it is truly an ideal of ''R''. *
Invertible ideal In mathematics, in particular commutative algebra, the concept of fractional ideal is introduced in the context of integral domains and is particularly fruitful in the study of Dedekind domains. In some sense, fractional ideals of an integral dom ...
: Usually an invertible ideal ''A'' is defined as a fractional ideal for which there is another fractional ideal ''B'' such that . Some authors may also apply "invertible ideal" to ordinary ring ideals ''A'' and ''B'' with in rings other than domains.


Ideal operations

The sum and product of ideals are defined as follows. For \mathfrak and \mathfrak, left (resp. right) ideals of a ring ''R'', their sum is :\mathfrak+\mathfrak:=\, which is a left (resp. right) ideal, and, if \mathfrak, \mathfrak are two-sided, :\mathfrak \mathfrak:=\, i.e. the product is the ideal generated by all products of the form ''ab'' with ''a'' in \mathfrak and ''b'' in \mathfrak. Note \mathfrak + \mathfrak is the smallest left (resp. right) ideal containing both \mathfrak and \mathfrak (or the union \mathfrak \cup \mathfrak), while the product \mathfrak\mathfrak is contained in the intersection of \mathfrak and \mathfrak. The distributive law holds for two-sided ideals \mathfrak, \mathfrak, \mathfrak, *\mathfrak(\mathfrak + \mathfrak) = \mathfrak \mathfrak + \mathfrak \mathfrak, *(\mathfrak + \mathfrak) \mathfrak = \mathfrak\mathfrak + \mathfrak\mathfrak. If a product is replaced by an intersection, a partial distributive law holds: :\mathfrak \cap (\mathfrak + \mathfrak) \supset \mathfrak \cap \mathfrak + \mathfrak \cap \mathfrak where the equality holds if \mathfrak contains \mathfrak or \mathfrak. Remark: The sum and the intersection of ideals is again an ideal; with these two operations as join and meet, the set of all ideals of a given ring forms a
complete Complete may refer to: Logic * Completeness (logic) * Completeness of a theory, the property of a theory that every formula in the theory's language or its negation is provable Mathematics * The completeness of the real numbers, which implies t ...
modular lattice In the branch of mathematics called order theory, a modular lattice is a lattice that satisfies the following self- dual condition, ;Modular law: implies where are arbitrary elements in the lattice,  ≤  is the partial order, and & ...
. The lattice is not, in general, a
distributive lattice In mathematics, a distributive lattice is a lattice in which the operations of join and meet distribute over each other. The prototypical examples of such structures are collections of sets for which the lattice operations can be given by set ...
. The three operations of intersection, sum (or join), and product make the set of ideals of a commutative ring into a
quantale In mathematics, quantales are certain partially ordered algebraic structures that generalize locales ( point free topologies) as well as various multiplicative lattices of ideals from ring theory and functional analysis ( C*-algebras, von Neumann ...
. If \mathfrak, \mathfrak are ideals of a commutative ring ''R'', then \mathfrak \cap \mathfrak = \mathfrak \mathfrak in the following two cases (at least) *\mathfrak + \mathfrak = (1) *\mathfrak is generated by elements that form a regular sequence modulo \mathfrak. (More generally, the difference between a product and an intersection of ideals is measured by the
Tor functor In mathematics, the Tor functors are the derived functors of the tensor product of modules over a ring. Along with the Ext functor, Tor is one of the central concepts of homological algebra, in which ideas from algebraic topology are used to con ...
: \operatorname^R_1(R/\mathfrak, R/\mathfrak) = (\mathfrak \cap \mathfrak)/ \mathfrak \mathfrak.) An integral domain is called a
Dedekind domain In abstract algebra, a Dedekind domain or Dedekind ring, named after Richard Dedekind, is an integral domain in which every nonzero proper ideal factors into a product of prime ideals. It can be shown that such a factorization is then necessarily ...
if for each pair of ideals \mathfrak \subset \mathfrak, there is an ideal \mathfrak such that \mathfrak \mathfrak = \mathfrak \mathfrak. It can then be shown that every nonzero ideal of a Dedekind domain can be uniquely written as a product of maximal ideals, a generalization of the
fundamental theorem of arithmetic In mathematics, the fundamental theorem of arithmetic, also called the unique factorization theorem and prime factorization theorem, states that every integer greater than 1 can be represented uniquely as a product of prime numbers, up to the ord ...
.


Examples of ideal operations

In \mathbb we have :(n)\cap(m) = \operatorname(n,m)\mathbb since (n)\cap(m) is the set of integers which are divisible by both n and m. Let R = \mathbb ,y,z,w/math> and let \mathfrak = (z, w), \mathfrak = (x+z,y+w),\mathfrak = (x+z, w). Then, * \mathfrak + \mathfrak = (z,w, x+z, y+w) = (x, y, z, w) and \mathfrak + \mathfrak = (z, w, x + z) * \mathfrak\mathfrak = (z(x + z), z(y + w), w(x + z), w(y + w))= (z^2 + xz, zy + wz, wx + wz, wy + w^2) * \mathfrak\mathfrak = (xz + z^2, zw, xw + zw, w^2) * \mathfrak \cap \mathfrak = \mathfrak\mathfrak while \mathfrak \cap \mathfrak = (w, xz + z^2) \neq \mathfrak\mathfrak In the first computation, we see the general pattern for taking the sum of two finitely generated ideals, it is the ideal generated by the union of their generators. In the last three we observe that products and intersections agree whenever the two ideals intersect in the zero ideal. These computations can be checked using
Macaulay2 Macaulay2 is a free computer algebra system created by Daniel Grayson (from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign) and Michael Stillman (from Cornell University) for computation in commutative algebra and algebraic geometry. Overvi ...
.


Radical of a ring

Ideals appear naturally in the study of modules, especially in the form of a radical. :''For simplicity, we work with commutative rings but, with some changes, the results are also true for non-commutative rings.'' Let ''R'' be a commutative ring. By definition, a
primitive ideal In mathematics, specifically ring theory, a left primitive ideal is the annihilator of a (nonzero) simple left module. A right primitive ideal is defined similarly. Left and right primitive ideals are always two-sided ideals. Primitive ideals ar ...
of ''R'' is the annihilator of a (nonzero) simple ''R''-module. The
Jacobson radical In mathematics, more specifically ring theory, the Jacobson radical of a ring R is the ideal consisting of those elements in R that annihilate all simple right R-modules. It happens that substituting "left" in place of "right" in the definition y ...
J = \operatorname(R) of ''R'' is the intersection of all primitive ideals. Equivalently, :J = \bigcap_ \mathfrak. Indeed, if M is a simple module and ''x'' is a nonzero element in ''M'', then Rx = M and R/\operatorname(M) = R/\operatorname(x) \simeq M, meaning \operatorname(M) is a maximal ideal. Conversely, if \mathfrak is a maximal ideal, then \mathfrak is the annihilator of the simple ''R''-module R/\mathfrak. There is also another characterization (the proof is not hard): :J = \. For a not-necessarily-commutative ring, it is a general fact that 1 - yx is a
unit element In algebra, a unit of a ring is an invertible element for the multiplication of the ring. That is, an element of a ring is a unit if there exists in such that vu = uv = 1, where is the multiplicative identity; the element is unique for thi ...
if and only if 1 - xy is (see the link) and so this last characterization shows that the radical can be defined both in terms of left and right primitive ideals. The following simple but important fact ( Nakayama's lemma) is built-in to the definition of a Jacobson radical: if ''M'' is a module such that JM = M, then ''M'' does not admit a
maximal submodule In mathematics, more specifically in ring theory, a maximal ideal is an ideal that is maximal (with respect to set inclusion) amongst all ''proper'' ideals. In other words, ''I'' is a maximal ideal of a ring ''R'' if there are no other ideals c ...
, since if there is a maximal submodule L \subsetneq M, J \cdot (M/L) = 0 and so M = JM \subset L \subsetneq M, a contradiction. Since a nonzero
finitely generated module In mathematics, a finitely generated module is a module that has a finite generating set. A finitely generated module over a ring ''R'' may also be called a finite ''R''-module, finite over ''R'', or a module of finite type. Related concepts in ...
admits a maximal submodule, in particular, one has: :If JM = M and ''M'' is finitely generated, then M = 0. A maximal ideal is a prime ideal and so one has :\operatorname(R) = \bigcap_ \mathfrak \subset \operatorname(R) where the intersection on the left is called the nilradical of ''R''. As it turns out, \operatorname(R) is also the set of
nilpotent element In mathematics, an element x of a ring R is called nilpotent if there exists some positive integer n, called the index (or sometimes the degree), such that x^n=0. The term was introduced by Benjamin Peirce in the context of his work on the cla ...
s of ''R''. If ''R'' is an
Artinian ring In mathematics, specifically abstract algebra, an Artinian ring (sometimes Artin ring) is a ring that satisfies the descending chain condition on (one-sided) ideals; that is, there is no infinite descending sequence of ideals. Artinian rings are ...
, then \operatorname(R) is nilpotent and \operatorname(R) = \operatorname(R). (Proof: first note the DCC implies J^n = J^ for some ''n''. If (DCC) \mathfrak \supsetneq \operatorname(J^n) is an ideal properly minimal over the latter, then J \cdot (\mathfrak/\operatorname(J^n)) = 0. That is, J^n \mathfrak = J^ \mathfrak = 0, a contradiction.)


Extension and contraction of an ideal

Let ''A'' and ''B'' be two commutative rings, and let ''f'' : ''A'' → ''B'' be a
ring homomorphism In ring theory, a branch of abstract algebra, a ring homomorphism is a structure-preserving function between two rings. More explicitly, if ''R'' and ''S'' are rings, then a ring homomorphism is a function such that ''f'' is: :addition preser ...
. If \mathfrak is an ideal in ''A'', then f(\mathfrak) need not be an ideal in ''B'' (e.g. take ''f'' to be the
inclusion Inclusion or Include may refer to: Sociology * Social inclusion, aims to create an environment that supports equal opportunity for individuals and groups that form a society. ** Inclusion (disability rights), promotion of people with disabiliti ...
of the ring of integers Z into the field of rationals Q). The extension \mathfrak^e of \mathfrak in ''B'' is defined to be the ideal in ''B'' generated by f(\mathfrak). Explicitly, :\mathfrak^e = \Big\ If \mathfrak is an ideal of ''B'', then f^(\mathfrak) is always an ideal of ''A'', called the contraction \mathfrak^c of \mathfrak to ''A''. Assuming ''f'' : ''A'' → ''B'' is a ring homomorphism, \mathfrak is an ideal in ''A'', \mathfrak is an ideal in ''B'', then: * \mathfrak is prime in ''B'' \Rightarrow \mathfrak^c is prime in ''A''. * \mathfrak^ \supseteq \mathfrak * \mathfrak^ \subseteq \mathfrak It is false, in general, that \mathfrak being prime (or maximal) in ''A'' implies that \mathfrak^e is prime (or maximal) in ''B''. Many classic examples of this stem from algebraic number theory. For example,
embedding In mathematics, an embedding (or imbedding) is one instance of some mathematical structure contained within another instance, such as a group that is a subgroup. When some object X is said to be embedded in another object Y, the embedding is g ...
\mathbb \to \mathbb\left\lbrack i \right\rbrack. In B = \mathbb\left\lbrack i \right\rbrack, the element 2 factors as 2 = (1 + i)(1 - i) where (one can show) neither of 1 + i, 1 - i are units in ''B''. So (2)^e is not prime in ''B'' (and therefore not maximal, as well). Indeed, (1 \pm i)^2 = \pm 2i shows that (1 + i) = ((1 - i) - (1 - i)^2), (1 - i) = ((1 + i) - (1 + i)^2), and therefore (2)^e = (1 + i)^2. On the other hand, if ''f'' is surjective and \mathfrak \supseteq \ker f then: * \mathfrak^=\mathfrak and \mathfrak^=\mathfrak. * \mathfrak is a prime ideal in ''A'' \Leftrightarrow \mathfrak^e is a prime ideal in ''B''. * \mathfrak is a
maximal ideal In mathematics, more specifically in ring theory, a maximal ideal is an ideal that is maximal (with respect to set inclusion) amongst all ''proper'' ideals. In other words, ''I'' is a maximal ideal of a ring ''R'' if there are no other ideals c ...
in ''A'' \Leftrightarrow \mathfrak^e is a maximal ideal in ''B''. Remark: Let ''K'' be a field extension of ''L'', and let ''B'' and ''A'' be the
rings of integers In mathematics, the ring of integers of an algebraic number field K is the ring (mathematics), ring of all algebraic integers contained in K. An algebraic integer is a root of a polynomial, root of a monic polynomial with integer coefficients: x^n+ ...
of ''K'' and ''L'', respectively. Then ''B'' is an integral extension of ''A'', and we let ''f'' be the
inclusion map In mathematics, if A is a subset of B, then the inclusion map (also inclusion function, insertion, or canonical injection) is the function \iota that sends each element x of A to x, treated as an element of B: \iota : A\rightarrow B, \qquad \iota ...
from ''A'' to ''B''. The behaviour of a prime ideal \mathfrak = \mathfrak of ''A'' under extension is one of the central problems of algebraic number theory. The following is sometimes useful: a prime ideal \mathfrak is a contraction of a prime ideal if and only if \mathfrak = \mathfrak^. (Proof: Assuming the latter, note \mathfrak^e B_ = B_ \Rightarrow \mathfrak^e intersects A - \mathfrak, a contradiction. Now, the prime ideals of B_ correspond to those in ''B'' that are disjoint from A - \mathfrak. Hence, there is a prime ideal \mathfrak of ''B'', disjoint from A - \mathfrak, such that \mathfrak B_ is a maximal ideal containing \mathfrak^e B_. One then checks that \mathfrak lies over \mathfrak. The converse is obvious.)


Generalizations

Ideals can be generalized to any
monoid object In category theory, a branch of mathematics, a monoid (or monoid object, or internal monoid, or algebra) in a monoidal category is an object ''M'' together with two morphisms * ''μ'': ''M'' ⊗ ''M'' → ''M'' called ''multiplication'', * ''η' ...
(R,\otimes), where R is the object where the
monoid In abstract algebra, a branch of mathematics, a monoid is a set equipped with an associative binary operation and an identity element. For example, the nonnegative integers with addition form a monoid, the identity element being 0. Monoid ...
structure has been forgotten. A left ideal of R is a subobject I that "absorbs multiplication from the left by elements of R"; that is, I is a left ideal if it satisfies the following two conditions: # I is a subobject of R # For every r \in (R,\otimes) and every x \in (I, \otimes), the product r \otimes x is in (I, \otimes). A right ideal is defined with the condition "r \otimes x \in (I, \otimes)" replaced by "'x \otimes r \in (I, \otimes)". A two-sided ideal is a left ideal that is also a right ideal, and is sometimes simply called an ideal. When R is a commutative monoid object respectively, the definitions of left, right, and two-sided ideal coincide, and the term ideal is used alone. An ideal can also be thought of as a specific type of -module. If we consider R as a left R-module (by left multiplication), then a left ideal I is really just a left sub-module of R. In other words, I is a left (right) ideal of R if and only if it is a left (right) R-module which is a subset of R. I is a two-sided ideal if it is a sub-R-bimodule of R. Example: If we let R=\mathbb, an ideal of \mathbb is an abelian group which is a subset of \mathbb, i.e. m\mathbb for some m\in\mathbb. So these give all the ideals of \mathbb.


See also

*
Modular arithmetic In mathematics, modular arithmetic is a system of arithmetic for integers, where numbers "wrap around" when reaching a certain value, called the modulus. The modern approach to modular arithmetic was developed by Carl Friedrich Gauss in his boo ...
* Noether isomorphism theorem *
Boolean prime ideal theorem In mathematics, the Boolean prime ideal theorem states that ideals in a Boolean algebra can be extended to prime ideals. A variation of this statement for filters on sets is known as the ultrafilter lemma. Other theorems are obtained by consi ...
*
Ideal theory In mathematics, ideal theory is the theory of ideals in commutative rings. While the notion of an ideal exists also for non-commutative rings, a much more substantial theory exists only for commutative rings (and this article therefore only consid ...
*
Ideal (order theory) In mathematical order theory, an ideal is a special subset of a partially ordered set (poset). Although this term historically was derived from the notion of a ring ideal of abstract algebra, it has subsequently been generalized to a different noti ...
*
Ideal norm In commutative algebra, the norm of an ideal is a generalization of a norm of an element in the field extension. It is particularly important in number theory since it measures the size of an ideal of a complicated number ring in terms of an ideal ...
*
Splitting of prime ideals in Galois extensions In mathematics, the interplay between the Galois group ''G'' of a Galois extension ''L'' of a number field ''K'', and the way the prime ideals ''P'' of the ring of integers ''O'K'' factorise as products of prime ideals of ''O'L'', provides one ...
*
Ideal sheaf In algebraic geometry and other areas of mathematics, an ideal sheaf (or sheaf of ideals) is the global analogue of an ideal in a ring. The ideal sheaves on a geometric object are closely connected to its subspaces. Definition Let ''X'' be a t ...


Notes


References

* Atiyah, M. F. and Macdonald, I. G., ''
Introduction to Commutative Algebra ''Introduction to Commutative Algebra'' is a well-known commutative algebra textbook written by Michael Atiyah and Ian G. Macdonald. It deals with elementary concepts of commutative algebra including localization, primary decomposition, integral ...
'', Perseus Books, 1969, * *
Michiel Hazewinkel Michiel Hazewinkel (born 22 June 1943) is a Dutch mathematician, and Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the Centre for Mathematics and Computer Science and the University of Amsterdam, particularly known for his 1978 book ''Formal groups and a ...
, Nadiya Gubareni, Nadezhda Mikhaĭlovna Gubareni, Vladimir V. Kirichenko. ''Algebras, rings and modules''. Volume 1. 2004. Springer, 2004. *


External links

* {{Authority control Algebraic structures Commutative algebra Algebraic number theory