Questions tagged [inner-products]

For questions about inner products and inner product spaces, including questions about the dot product. An inner product space is a vector space equipped with an inner product. The dot product (seen in multivariable calculus and linear algebra) is a simple example of an inner product—other inner products may be seen as generalizations of the dot product.

Given vectors $x = (x_1, x_2, \dotsc, x_n)$ and $y = (y_1, y_2, \dotsc, y_n)$ in $\mathbb{R}^n$, the dot product of $x$ and $y$ is $$ x \cdot y = \sum_{j=1}^{n} x_j y_j. $$ The dot product on $\mathbb{R}^n$ is linear in both $x$ and $y$ and has the property that $x\cdot x \ge 0$ for all $x$, with equality if and only if $x = 0$. Moreover $x \cdot y = \lVert x\rVert \lVert y\rVert \cos(\theta)$, where $\lVert x\rVert$ denotes the length of $x$ and $\theta$ is the measure of the angle between the vectors $x$ and $y$. The dot product is then an algebraic tool which can be used to describe geometric properties of $\mathbb{R}^n$ (e.g. distance and angle).

An inner product is a generalization of the dot product. An inner product space is a vector space over a field $\mathbb K$ (either $\mathbb R$ or $\mathbb C$) endowed with a map $\langle\cdot,\cdot\rangle\colon V\times V\longrightarrow\mathbb K$ such that

  1. $(\forall v_1,v_2,v\in V):\langle v_1+v_2,v\rangle=\langle v_1,v\rangle+\langle v_2,v\rangle$;
  2. $(\forall v_1,v_2\in V)(\forall\lambda\in\mathbb{K}):\langle\lambda v_1,v_2\rangle=\lambda\langle v_1,v_2\rangle$;
  3. $(\forall v_1,v_2\in V):\langle v_1,v_2\rangle=\overline{\langle v_2,v_1\rangle}$;
  4. $(\forall v\in V):\langle v,v\rangle\geqslant0$ and $\langle v,v\rangle=0\iff v=0$.

Such a map is called an inner product. As an example, consider the space $\mathcal{C}\bigl([0,1]\bigr)$ of all continuous functions from $[0,1]$ into $\mathbb C$. If $f,g\in\mathcal{C}\bigl([0,1]\bigr)$, define$$\langle f,g\rangle=\int_0^1f(t)\overline{g(t)}\ \mathrm dt.$$

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Norms Induced by Inner Products and the Parallelogram Law

Let $ V $ be a normed vector space (over $\mathbb{R}$, say, for simplicity) with norm $ \lVert\cdot\rVert$. It's not hard to show that if $\lVert \cdot \rVert = \sqrt{\langle \cdot, \cdot \rangle}$ for some (real) inner product $\langle \cdot, \cdot…
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Connections between metrics, norms and scalar products (for understanding e.g. Banach and Hilbert spaces)

I am trying to understand the differences between $$ \begin{array}{|l|l|l|} \textbf{vector space} & \textbf{general} & \textbf{+ completeness}\\\hline \text{metric}& \text{metric space} & \text{complete space}\\ \text{norm} & \text{normed} &…
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difference between dot product and inner product

I was wondering if a dot product is technically a term used when discussing the product of $2$ vectors is equal to $0$. And would anyone agree that an inner product is a term used when discussing the integral of the product of $2$ functions is…
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Differentiating an Inner Product

If $(V, \langle \cdot, \cdot \rangle)$ is a finite-dimensional inner product space and $f,g : \mathbb{R} \longrightarrow V$ are differentiable functions, a straightforward calculation with components shows that $$ \frac{d}{dt} \langle f, g \rangle…
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Why does the Cauchy-Schwarz Inequality even have a name?

When I came across the Cauchy-Schwarz inequality the other day, I found it really weird that this was its own thing, and it had lines upon lines of proof. I've always thought the geometric definition of dot multiplication: $$|{\bf a }||{\bf b…
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How to interpret the adjoint?

Let $V \neq \{\mathbf{0}\}$ be a inner product space, and let $f:V \to V$ be a linear transformation on $V$. I understand the definition1 of the adjoint of $f$ (denoted by $f^*$), but I can't say I really grok this other linear transformation…
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How to understand dot product is the angle's cosine?

How can one see that a dot product gives the angle's cosine between two vectors. (assuming they are normalized) Thinking about how to prove this in the most intuitive way resulted in proving a trigonometric identity:…
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Is there a vector space that cannot be an inner product space?

Quick question: Can I define some inner product on any arbitrary vector space such that it becomes an inner product space? If yes, how can I prove this? If no, what would be a counter example? Thanks a lot in advance.
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What do cones have to do with quadratics? Why is $2$ special?

I've always been nagged about the two extremely non-obviously related definitions of conic sections (i.e. it seems so mysterious/magical that somehow slices of a cone are related to degree 2 equations in 2 variables). Recently I came across the…
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Inner Product Spaces over Finite Fields

Inner product spaces are defined over a field $\mathbb{F}$ which is either $\mathbb{R}$ or $\mathbb{C}$. I want to know what happens if we try to define them over some finite field. Here's an example: Let $\mathbb{F} = \{0,1,a,b\}$ be a finite field…
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What is the geometric meaning of the inner product of two functions?

When it comes to inner product I have thus far only dealt with vectors, and so the concept is very intuitive because one can easily visualize two vectors and how they get multiplied, and it is clear why the dot product of two vectors is defined the…
Arnold Doveman
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Prove that the eigenvalues of a real symmetric matrix are real

I am having a difficult time with the following question. Any help will be much appreciated. Let $A$ be an $n×n$ real matrix such that $A^T = A$. We call such matrices “symmetric.” Prove that the eigenvalues of a real symmetric matrix are real…
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What is the difference between isometric and unitary operators on a Hilbert space?

It seems that both isometric and unitary operators on a Hilbert space have the following property: $U^*U = I$ ($U$ is an operator and $I$ is an identity operator, $^*$ is a binary operation.) What is the difference between isometry and unitary?…
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Is Inner product continuous when one arg is fixed?

In a inner product space with inner product $\langle\ ,\ \rangle$ and real or complex line as its base field, for each point $x$ in the space, is $\langle x,-\rangle$ continuous function on the second argument, and is $\langle - ,x\rangle$…
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Proofs of the Cauchy-Schwarz Inequality?

How many proofs of the Cauchy-Schwarz inequality are there? Is there some kind of reference that lists all of these proofs?
Vafa Khalighi
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