This tag is for questions about rings, which are a type of algebraic structure studied in abstract algebra and algebraic number theory.

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71
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A short proof for $\dim(R[T])=\dim(R)+1$?

If $R$ is a commutative ring, it is easy to prove $\dim(R[T]) \geq \dim(R)+1$. For noetherian $R$, we have equality. Every proof I'm aware of uses quite a bit of commutative algebra and non-trivial ...
48
votes
12answers
3k views

Do groups, rings and fields have practical applications in CS? If so, what are some?

This is ONE thing about my undergraduate studies in computer science that I haven't been able to 'link' in my real life (academic and professional). Almost everything I studied I've observed be ...
48
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5answers
2k views

Why “characteristic zero” and not “infinite characteristic”?

The characteristic of a ring (with unity, say) is the smallest positive number $n$ such that $$\underbrace{1 + 1 + \cdots + 1}_{n \text{ times}} = 0,$$ provided such an $n$ exists. Otherwise, we ...
46
votes
4answers
2k views

Algebra: Best mental images

I'm curious how people think of Algebras (in the universal sense, i.e., monoids, groups, rings, etc.). Cayley diagrams of groups with few generators are useful for thinking about group actions on ...
42
votes
6answers
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Is there a non-commutative ring with a trivial automorphism group?

This question is related to this one. In that question, it is stated that nilpotent elements of a non-commutative ring with no non-trivial ring automorphisms form an ideal. Ted asks in the comment for ...
38
votes
4answers
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What kind of work do modern day algebraists do?

Often times in my studies I get the impression that algebra is just a tool to help with other branches of mathematics, like algebraic geometry, algebraic number theory, algebraic topology, etc. How ...
32
votes
1answer
453 views

A ring isomorphic to its finite polynomial rings but not to its infinite one.

I was messing with the ring $k[x_1,\dots,x_n,\dots]$ of polynomials in numerable many variables in order to solve an exercise of Atiyah, and the following question came to me and made me curious: ...
31
votes
6answers
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Quotient ring of Gaussian integers

A very basic ring theory question, which I am not able to solve. How does one show that $\mathbb{Z}[i]/(3-i) \cong \mathbb{Z}/10\mathbb{Z}$. Extending the result: $\mathbb{Z}[i]/(a-ib) \cong ...
30
votes
4answers
785 views

$\mathbb C[X]/(X^2)$ is isomorphic to $\mathbb R[Y]/((Y^2+1)^2)$

This question led me to the following: Prove that $\mathbb C[X]/(X^2)$ is isomorphic to $\mathbb R[Y]/((Y^2+1)^2)$.
28
votes
4answers
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Fermat's Last Theorem and Kummer's Objection

In 1847 Lamé had announced that he had proven Fermat's Last Theorem. This "proof" was based on the unique factorization in $\mathbb{Z}[e^{2\pi i/p}]$. However, Kummer, proved that when $p=23$ we do ...
28
votes
1answer
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An example of a division ring $D$ that is **not** isomorphic to its opposite ring

I recall reading in an abstract algebra text two years ago (when I had the pleasure to learn this beautiful subject) that there exists a division ring $D$ that is not isomorphic to its opposite ring. ...
28
votes
2answers
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Why are the only division algebras over the real numbers the real numbers, the complex numbers, and the quaternions?

Why are the only (associative) division algebras over the real numbers the real numbers, the complex numbers, and the quaternions? Here a division algebra is an associative algebra where every ...
27
votes
3answers
832 views

Ideals of $\mathbb{Z}[X]$

Is it possible to classify all ideals of $\mathbb{Z}[X]$? By this I mean a preferably short enumerable list which contains every ideal exactly once, preferably specified by generators. The prime ...
26
votes
3answers
2k views

Does every Abelian group admit a ring structure?

Given some Abelian group $(G, +)$, does there always exist a binary operation $*$ such that $(G, +, *)$ is a ring? That is, $*$ is associative and distributive: \begin{align*} &a * (b * c) = ...
25
votes
3answers
936 views

A finite ring is a field if its units $\cup\ \{0\}$ comprise a field of characteristic $\ne 2$

Suppose $R$ is a finite ring (commutative ring with $1$) of characteristic $3$ and suppose that for every unit $u \in R\:,\ 1+u\ $ is also a unit or $0$. We need to show that $R$ is a field. Is this ...
23
votes
6answers
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What is Abstract Algebra essentially?

In the most basic sense, what is abstract algebra about? Wolfram Mathworld has the following definition: "Abstract algebra is the set of advanced topics of algebra that deal with abstract algebraic ...
22
votes
4answers
654 views

Why do we study prime ideals?

I hope this isn't an inappropriate question here! I'd like to ask the following (perhaps slightly ill-posed) question: why do we study prime ideals in general (commutative or non-commutative) rings? ...
22
votes
1answer
629 views

$Ra=Rb$ if and only if $aR=bR$

On which classes of (non commutative) rings we have the following property: $aR=bR$ if and only if $Ra=Rb$ ? While I googling around I found the notion of "Duo Ring" in which $aR=Ra$ for every $a\in ...
21
votes
1answer
674 views

A ring with few invertible elements

Let $A$ be a ring with $0 \neq 1 $, which has $2^n-1$ invertible elements and less non-invertible elements. Prove that $A$ is a field.
20
votes
5answers
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Why can't the Polynomial Ring be a Field?

I'm currently studying Polynomial Rings, but I can't figure out why they are Rings, not Fields. In the definition of a Field, a Set builds a Commutative Group with Addition and Multiplication. This ...
20
votes
2answers
597 views

What is the coproduct of fields, when it exists?

This is a slightly more advanced version of another question here. Let $\textbf{CRing}$ be the category of commutative rings with unit. Let $\textbf{Dom}$ be the category of integral domains – by ...
20
votes
3answers
489 views

A Laskerian non-Noetherian ring

A Laskerian ring is a ring in which every ideal has a primary decomposition. The Lasker-Noether theorem states that every commutative Noetherian ring is a Laskerian ring (as an easy consequence of the ...
19
votes
4answers
573 views

What are the zero divisors of $C[0,1]$?

Suppose you have a ring $(C[0,1],+,\cdot,0,1)$ of continuous real valued functions on $[0,1]$, with addition defined as $(f+g)(x)=f(x)+g(x)$ and multiplication defined as $(fg)(x)=f(x)g(x)$. I'm ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

necessary and sufficient condition for trivial kernel of a matrix over a commutative ring

In answering Do these matrix rings have non-zero elements that are neither units nor zero divisors? I was surprised how hard it was to find anything on the Web about the generalization of the ...
18
votes
0answers
335 views

Classification of local Artin (commutative) rings which are finite over an algebraically closed field.

A result in deformation theory states that if every morphism $Y=\operatorname{Spec}(A)\rightarrow X$ where $A$ is a local Artin ring finite over $k$ can be extended to every $Y'\supset Y$ where $Y'$ ...
17
votes
12answers
2k views

Proving that $\mathbb{Z}[x]$ and $\mathbb{Q}[x]$ are not isomorphic.

I am trying to prove that $\mathbb{Z}[x]$ and $\mathbb{Q}[x]$ are not isomorphic. I was thinking of arguing the following: Suppose there exists an isomorphism $\varphi: ...
17
votes
3answers
591 views

What does the topology on $\operatorname{Spec}(R)$ tells us about $R$?

Let $R$ be a commutative ring with a unit. $\newcommand{\spec}{\operatorname{Spec}}\spec(R)$ denotes the set of all prime ideals in $R$, and it can be topologized using the Zariski topology. Last ...
17
votes
3answers
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Why doesn't 0 being a prime ideal in Z imply that 0 is a prime number?

I know that 1 is not a prime number because $1\cdot\mathbb Z=\mathbb Z$ is, by convention, not a prime ideal in the ring $\mathbb Z$. However, since $\mathbb Z$ is a domain, $0\cdot\mathbb Z=\{0\}$ ...
17
votes
2answers
769 views

A (non-artificial) example of a ring without maximal ideals

As a brief overview of the below, I am asking for: An example of a ring with no maximal ideals that is not a zero ring. A proof (or counterexample) that $R:=C_0(\mathbb{R})/C_c(\mathbb{R})$ is a ...
17
votes
2answers
737 views

Proof that a certain subset of the reals is not a ring

Let $A = \{x \sin x : x \in \mathbb{Z}\} \subset \mathbb{R}$. Is $A$ a ring under the usual addition and multiplication operations of $\mathbb{R}$? It looks like it's not, but I can't find something ...
17
votes
1answer
412 views

When is a group ring an integral domain

If $R$ is an integral domain (I am having $\mathbb{Z}$ or a field in mind) and $G$ a (not necessarily finite) group then we can form the group ring $R(G)$. Note that if $g^{n+1} = e$ then ...
16
votes
7answers
1k views

Does every unital ring contain all the integers?

Let us suppose there is a ring $R$ with the multiplicative identity $1$. We know that $1+r\in R$, where $r$ is any element of the ring $R$. Does this mean $1+1$ is also part of the ring, or does ...
16
votes
3answers
845 views

Motivation for Eisenstein Criterion

I have been thinking about this for quite sometime. Eisentein Criterion for Irreducibility: Let $f$ be a primitive polynomial over a commutative unique factorization domain $R$, say $$f(x)=a_0 + ...
16
votes
4answers
690 views

Does $ab=1$ imply $ba=1$ in a ring?

Let $R$ be a ring with unity $1$ and let $a,b\in R$ be not zero divisors. Is there any counterexample for: $$ab=1\quad\Rightarrow \quad ba=1$$
16
votes
3answers
714 views

Ring such that $x^4=x$ for all $x$ is commutative

Let $R$ be a ring such that $x^4=x$ for every $x\in R$. Is this ring commutative?
16
votes
4answers
667 views

Smallest non-commutative ring with unity

Find the smallest non-commutative ring with unity. (By smallest it means it has the least cardinal.) I tried rings of size 4 and I found no such ring.
16
votes
1answer
210 views

How 'commutative' can a non-commutative ring be?

Let $R$ be a finite non-commutative ring. Let $P(R)$ be the probability that two elements chosen uniformly at random commute with each other. Consider the value $$S=\sup_RP(R)$$ where the supremum ...
16
votes
2answers
342 views

Example of unital non-commutative ring with $(ab)^2=(ba)^2$ for all $a,b$

I'm trying to exhibit a unital, non-commutative ring $R$ such that $(ab)^2=(ba)^2$ for all $a,b\in R$. This is an exercise out of Herstein's Topics in Algebra. In the previous exercise, I showed ...
15
votes
5answers
745 views

Why is ring addition commutative?

What is the motivation behind axiomatically forcing the underpinning group of a ring to be abelian? Noncommutative rings are vastly more complex than commutative ones, so I am assuming that allowing ...
15
votes
3answers
578 views

Generalization of a ring?

I've just started learning about rings. Rings are one additive abelian group strung together, through the associative law, with another structured operation. Couldn't we continue stringing together ...
15
votes
2answers
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if every commutator is idempotent, then the ring is commutative

Let $R$ be a ring and for $x,y\!\in\!R$, define the commutator as $[x,y]:=xy-yx$. An $r\!\in\!R$ is idempotent iff $r^2=r$. How can one prove, that if every commutator is idempotent, then the whole ...
15
votes
1answer
297 views

Does a finite ring's additive structure and the structure of its group of units determine its ring structure?

Let $A$ and $B$ be finite commutative rings with unity. Denote the additive group structure of each to be $A^{(+)}$ and $B^{(+)}$, and the multiplicative group of units of each to be $A^{(\times)}$ ...
15
votes
1answer
326 views

Hopkins-Levitzki: an uncanny asymmetry?

Not every left Noetherian ring is left Artinian. Take $\mathbb{Z}$ as a quick example. But: Hopkins-Levitzki theorem: a left Artinian ring is left Noetherian. I find this quite amazing. I find ...
14
votes
6answers
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Show that $\langle 2,x \rangle$ is not a principal ideal in $\mathbb Z [x]$

Hi I don't know how to show that $\langle 2,x \rangle$ is not principal and the definition of a principal ideal is unclear to me. I need help on this, please. The ring that I am talking about is ...
14
votes
7answers
5k views

How to show that every Boolean ring is commutative?

A ring $R$ is a Boolean ring provided that $a^2=a$ for every $a \in R$. How can we show that every Boolean ring is commutative? Thanks in advance.
14
votes
4answers
988 views

Can a ring without a unit element have a subring with a unit element?

A ring need not have a unit element.e.g. even numbers. Can someone give me an example of a ring which doesn't have a unit element but it's subring does have a unit element.
14
votes
7answers
510 views

Introduction to ring theory?

I've been teaching myself algebra these couple of months. I already went through the basics of group (Lagrange, action, class equation, Cauchy and Sylow theorems etc.) And I already have some linear ...
14
votes
2answers
3k views

What happens if we remove the requirement that $\langle R, + \rangle$ is abelian from the definition of a ring?

Ever since I learned the definition of a ring, I've wondered why the additive group is required to be abelian. What happens if we allow $\langle R, + \rangle$ to be nonabelian as well as $\langle R, ...
14
votes
3answers
975 views

Elements in $\hat{\mathbb{Z}}$, the profinite completion of the integers

Let $\hat{\mathbb{Z}}$ be the profinite completion of $\mathbb{Z}$. Since $\hat{\mathbb{Z}}$ is the inverse limit of the rings $\mathbb{Z}/n\mathbb{Z}$, it's a subgroup of $\prod_n ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

A subring of the field of fractions of a PID is a PID as well.

Let $A$ be a PID and $R$ a ring such that $A\subset R \subset \operatorname{Frac}(A)$, where $\operatorname{Frac}(A)$ denotes the field of fractions of $A$. How to show $R$ is also a PID? Any ...