nLab direct sum of Banach spaces

Direct sums of Banach spaces

Direct sums of Banach spaces


The concept of direct sum extends easily from vector spaces to topological vector spaces; we wish to explore a similar but more general notion in the case of Banach spaces.

When taking the direct sum of two (or any finite number) of Banach spaces (i.e., in the category of Banach spaces and continuous linear maps), the only question is which norm to use; and we have a choice, entirely analogous to the choice of norms to put on the Cartesian space 2\mathbb{R}^2 (and its complexified variant 2\mathbb{C}^2): one for each extended real number p[1,]p \in [1, \infty] (and actually more choices than that). In fact, this is a special case, the direct sum of two copies of the line \mathbb{R} or \mathbb{C}.

For infinitely many summands, the naïve direct sum is not complete under any of these norms, so we must complete it, getting different results for each pp; this is analogous to the different sequence spaces l pl^p. Again, this is a special case, a direct sum of infinitely many copies of the line.

In accordance with the last analogy, we speak of l pl^p-direct sums. In fact, even more variety is possible, corresponding to other possible norms on standard Banach spaces.


Let VV be a Banach space equipped with a Schauder basis BB, so that every element of VV may be written uniquely as an infinitary linear combination of elements of BB. Suppose also that that the basis is normal: the norm of any element of BB is 11; and absolute:

ia ii= i|a i|i {\Big\| \sum_i a_i i \Big\|} = {\Big\| \sum_i {|a_i|} i \Big\|}

(where the ii are the elements of the basis and the a ia_i are scalars). The typical example is the sequence space l pl^p (or a finitary or uncountablary version) with its usual basis.

Then given a family WW of Banach spaces indexed by the set BB, the VV-direct sum of this family is a subspace of the direct product of the family, consisting of those ww such that this sum converges:

iw ii \sum_i {\|w_i\|} i

(where again the ii are the basis vectors and w iw_i is in the space W iW_i, with the norm of w iw_i taken in W iW_i and the sum taken in VV). Then the norm of ww is the norm of this sum:

w iw ii. {\|w\|} \coloneqq {\Big\| \sum_i {\|w_i\|} i \Big\|} .

We may succinctly write the VV-direct sum as follows:

i VW i{(w i) i| iw ii<}. \bigoplus^V_i W_i \coloneqq \Big\{ (w_i)_i \;\Big|\; {\Big\| \sum_i {\|w_i\|} i \Big\|} \lt \infty \Big\} .

Strictly speaking, the only condition on the right-hand side is that the sum exists in VV; then of course its norm will be finite. However, often some sense can be established for the sum outside of VV but then it will have no (finite) norm.

In particular, if V=l pV = l^p (or a finitary or uncountablary version of such) for 1p<1 \leq p \lt \infty, then

i pW i{(w i) i| iw i pp<}; \bigoplus^p_i W_i \coloneqq \Big\{ (w_i)_i \;\Big|\; \sqrt[p] {\sum_i {\|w_i\|^p}} \lt \infty \Big\} ;

and if V=l V = l^\infty, then

i W i{(w i) i|sup iw i<}. \bigoplus^\infty_i W_i \coloneqq \Big\{ (w_i)_i \;\Big|\; \sup_i {\|w_i\|} \lt \infty \Big\} .

These are the l pl^p-direct sum and l l^\infty-direct sum (which is really a special case). In particular, we have the l 1l^1-direct sum:

i 1W i{(w i) i| iw i<}. \bigoplus^1_i W_i \coloneqq \Big\{ (w_i)_i \;\Big|\; \sum_i {\|w_i\|} \lt \infty \Big\} .


If short linear maps are taken as the morphisms in the category of Banach spaces, then the l 1l^1-direct sum is the coproduct, and the l l^\infty-direct sum is the product.

We can also consider the abstract concepts of direct sum and weak direct product; here again the l 1l^1-direct sum is the direct sum, and the l l^\infty-direct sum is the weak direct product. (It is quite common for coproduct and direct sum to be the same, but weak direct product usually diverges from the product for infinitely many objects. That they match up here crucially depends on completeness.)

If every Banach space in a direct sum is a Hilbert space, then their l 2l^2-direct sum is also a Hilbert space. This is the standard notion of direct sum of Hilbert spaces. In Hilb, this the abstract direct sum, the weak direct product, and the coproduct. Thus for finitely many objects, it is a biproduct (so HilbHilb behaves rather like Vect).

Any Banach space VV with basis BB is the VV-direct sum of |B|{|B|} copies of the line (\mathbb{R} or \mathbb{C}).

Direct integrals

As l pl^p is the Lebesgue space L pL^p for a measure space with counting measure, and infinitary sums are simply the integrals on such a measure space, we may generalise from direct sums of Banach spaces to their direct integrals. This is particularly common (using p=2p = 2) for Hilbert spaces.


Here's something about direct sums of finitely many Banach spaces using norms (on n\mathbb{C}^n) other than the usual l pl^p-norms:

  • Kato, Saito, Timura (2003); On ψ\psi-direct sums of Banach spaces and convexity; Journal of the Australian Mathematical Society 75, 413–422; web

Here, ψ\psi is the norm, viewed as a convex function of multiple arguments.

Last revised on August 14, 2023 at 07:04:12. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.