The free algebra with R

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To cite the freealg package in publications, please use @hankin2022_freealg.

The free algebra is best defined by an example: with an alphabet of ${x,y,z}$, and real numbers $\alpha,\beta,\gamma$ we formally define $A=\alpha x^2yx + \beta zy$ and $B=-\beta zy + \gamma y^4$. Addition is commutative so $x+y=y+x$ (and so $A=\beta zy + \alpha x^2yx$) but multiplication is not commutative, so $xy\neq yx$; both are associative. We also have consistency in that $\alpha(\beta P)=(\alpha\beta)P$ for any expression $P$. Then:

[ A+B=(\alpha x^2yx + \beta zy) + (-\beta zy + \gamma y^4) = \alpha x^2yx + \gamma y^4 ]

[ AB= (\alpha x^2yx + \beta zy) (-\beta zy + \gamma y^4) = -\alpha\beta x^2yxzy +\alpha\gamma x^2yxy^4 -\beta^2zyzy +\beta\gamma zy^5 ]

[ BA=(-\beta zy + \gamma y^4)(\alpha x^2yx + \beta zy) = -\alpha\beta zyx^2yx -\beta^2 zyzy + \alpha\gamma y^4x^2yx + \beta\gamma y^4zy ]

This is a natural set of objects to consider. Formally, we consider the free R-module with a basis consisting of all words over an alphabet of symbols [conventionally lower-case letters] with multiplication of words defined as concatenation. The system inherits associativity from associativity of concatenation; distributivity follows from the definition of R-module. However, the free algebra is not commutative in general.

The freealg package in use

The above examples are a little too general for the freealg package; the idiom requires that we have specific numerical values for the coefficients $\alpha,\beta,\gamma$. Here we will use $1,2,3$ respectively.

(A <- as.freealg("xxyx + 2zy"))
(B <- as.freealg("-2zy + 3yyyy"))

Note that the terms are stored in an implementation-specific order. For example, A might appear as xxyz + 2*zy or the algebraically equivalent form 2*zy + xxyz. The package follows disordR discipline [@hankin2022_disordR].

Inverses are coded using upper-case letters.

A*as.freealg("X") # X = x^{-1}

See how multiplying by $X=x^{-1}$ on the right cancels one of the x terms in A. We can use this device in more complicated examples:

(C <- as.freealg("3 + 5X - 2Xyx"))

With these objects we may verify that the distributive and associative laws are true:

A*(B+C) == A*B + A*C
(A+B)*C == A*C + B*C
A*(B*C) == (A*B)*C

Various utilities are included in the package. For example, the commutator bracket is represented by reasonably concise idiom:

a <- as.freealg("a")
b <- as.freealg("b")
.[a,b] # returns ab-ba

Using rfalg() to generate random free algebra objects, we may verify the Jacobi identity:

x <- rfalg()
y <- rfalg()
z <- rfalg()

.[x,.[y,z]] + .[y,.[z,x]] + .[z,.[x,y]]

The package includes functionality for substitution:

subs("aabccc",b="1+3x")  # aa(1+3x)ccc

There is even some experimental functionality for calculus:


Above, "da" means the differential of a. Note how it may appear at any position in the product, not just the end (cf matrix differentiation).


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freealg documentation built on Dec. 12, 2022, 1:06 a.m.