# Semisimple algebra

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{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Merge to |date=__DATE__ |$B= Template:MboxTemplate:DMCTemplate:Merge partner }} {{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Refimprove |date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Message box|ambox}} }} In ring theory, a branch of mathematics, a semisimple algebra is an associative artinian algebra over a field which has trivial Jacobson radical (only the zero element of the algebra is in the Jacobson radical). If the algebra is finite-dimensional this is equivalent to saying that it can be expressed as a Cartesian product of simple subalgebras.

## Definition

The Jacobson radical of an algebra over a field is the ideal consisting of all elements that annihilate every simple left-module. The radical contains all nilpotent ideals, and if the algebra is finite-dimensional, the radical itself is a nilpotent ideal. A finite-dimensional algebra is then said to be semisimple if its radical contains only the zero element.

An algebra A is called simple if it has no proper ideals and A2 = {ab | a, bA} ≠ {0}. As the terminology suggests, simple algebras are semisimple. The only possible ideals of a simple algebra A are A and {0}. Thus if A is not nilpotent, then A is semisimple. Because A2 is an ideal of A and A is simple, A2 = A. By induction, An = A for every positive integer n, i.e. A is not nilpotent.

Any self-adjoint subalgebra A of n × n matrices with complex entries is semisimple. Let Rad(A) be the radical of A. Suppose a matrix M is in Rad(A). Then M*M lies in some nilpotent ideals of A, therefore (M*M)k = 0 for some positive integer k. By positive-semidefiniteness of M*M, this implies M*M = 0. So M x is the zero vector for all x, i.e. M = 0.

If {Ai} is a finite collection of simple algebras, then their Cartesian product ∏ Ai is semisimple. If (ai) is an element of Rad(A) and e1 is the multiplicative identity in A1 (all simple algebras possess a multiplicative identity), then (a1, a2, ...) · (e1, 0, ...) = (a1, 0..., 0) lies in some nilpotent ideal of ∏ Ai. This implies, for all b in A1, a1b is nilpotent in A1, i.e. a1 ∈ Rad(A1). So a1 = 0. Similarly, ai = 0 for all other i.

It is less apparent from the definition that the converse of the above is also true, that is, any finite-dimensional semisimple algebra is isomorphic to a Cartesian product of a finite number of simple algebras. The following is a semisimple algebra that appears not to be of this form. Let A be an algebra with Rad(A) ≠ A. The quotient algebra B = A ⁄ Rad(A) is semisimple: If J is a nonzero nilpotent ideal in B, then its preimage under the natural projection map is a nilpotent ideal in A which is strictly larger than Rad(A), a contradiction.

## Characterization

Let A be a finite-dimensional semisimple algebra, and

$\{0\}=J_{0}\subset \cdots \subset J_{n}\subset A$ be a composition series of A, then A is isomorphic to the following Cartesian product:

$A\simeq J_{1}\times J_{2}/J_{1}\times J_{3}/J_{2}\times ...\times J_{n}/J_{n-1}\times A/J_{n}$ where each

$J_{i+1}/J_{i}\,$ is a simple algebra.

The proof can be sketched as follows. First, invoking the assumption that A is semisimple, one can show that the J1 is a simple algebra (therefore unital). So J1 is a unital subalgebra and an ideal of J2. Therefore one can decompose

$J_{2}\simeq J_{1}\times J_{2}/J_{1}.$ By maximality of J1 as an ideal in J2 and also the semisimplicity of A, the algebra

$J_{2}/J_{1}\,$ is simple. Proceed by induction in similar fashion proves the claim. For example, J3 is the Cartesian product of simple algebras

$J_{3}\simeq J_{2}\times J_{3}/J_{2}\simeq J_{1}\times J_{2}/J_{1}\times J_{3}/J_{2}.$ The above result can be restated in a different way. For a semisimple algebra A = A1 ×...× An expressed in terms of its simple factors, consider the units eiAi. The elements Ei = (0,...,ei,...,0) are idempotent elements in A and they lie in the center of A. Furthermore, Ei A = Ai, EiEj = 0 for ij, and Σ Ei = 1, the multiplicative identity in A.

Therefore, for every semisimple algebra A, there exists idempotents {Ei} in the center of A, such that

1. EiEj = 0 for ij (such a set of idempotents is called central orthogonal),
2. Σ Ei = 1,
3. A is isomorphic to the Cartesian product of simple algebras E1 A ×...× En A.

## Classification

This theorem was later generalized by Emil Artin to semisimple rings. This more general result is called the Artin-Wedderburn theorem.