Noncommutative Analysis

Category: Operator theory

von Neumann’s inequality for row contractive matrix tuples

Michael Hartz, Stefan Richter and I recently uploaded our paper von Neumann’s inequality for row contractive matrix tuples to the arxiv.

The main result is the following.

We prove that for all d,n\in \mathbb{N}, there exists a constant C_{d,n} such that for every row contraction T consisting of d commuting n \times n matrices and every polynomial p, the following inequality holds:

 \|p(T)\| \le C_{d,n} \sup_{z \in \mathbb{B}_d} |p(z)| .

We then apply this result and the considerations involved in the proof to several open problems from the literature. I won’t go into that because I think that the abstract and introduction do a good job of explaining what we do in the paper. In this post I will write about how this collaboration with Michael and Stefan started, and give some heuristic explanation why our result is not trivial.

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Slides of my talk at the seminar “in” Bucharest

This Wednesday I gave a talk at the Institute of Mathematics in Bucharest, live on zoom. Here are the slides:

In this talk, I decided to put an emphasis on telling the story of how we found ourselves working on this problem, rather than giving a logical presentation of the results in the paper that I was trying to advertise (this paper). I am not sure how much of this story one can get from the slides, but here they are.

Michael Hartz awarded Zemanek prize in functional analysis

Idly skimming through the September issue of the Newsletter of the European Mathematical Society, I stumbled upon the very happy announcement that the 2020 Jaroslav and Barbara Zemanek prize in functional analysis with emphasis on operator theory was awarded to Michael Hartz.

The breakthrough result that every complete Nevanlinna-Pick space has the column-row property is one of his latest results and has appeared on the arxiv this May. Besides solving an interesting open problem, it is a really elegant and strong paper.

It is satisfying to see a young and very talented mathematician get recognition!

Full disclosure 😉 Michael is a sort of mathematical relative (he was a PhD student of my postdoc supervisor Ken Davidson), a collaborator (together with Ken Davidson we wrote the paper Multipliers of embedded discs) and a friend. I have to boast that from the moment that I heard about him I knew that he will do great things – in his first paper, which he wrote as a masters student, he ingeniously solved an open problem of Davidson, Ramsey and myself. Since then he has worked a lot on some problems that are close to my interests, and I have been following him with admiration.

Congratulations Michael!

New paper: Dilations of unitary tuples

Malte Gerhold, Satish Pandey, Baruch Solel and I have recently posted a new paper on the arxiv. Check it out here. Here is the abstract:


We study the space of all d-tuples of unitaries u=(u_1,\ldots, u_d) using dilation theory and matrix ranges. Given two d-tuples u and v generating C*-algebras \mathcal A and \mathcal B, we seek the minimal dilation constant c=c(u,v) such that u\prec cv, by which we mean that u is a compression of some *-isomorphic copy of cv. This gives rise to a metric


on the set of equivalence classes of *-isomorphic tuples of unitaries. We also consider the metric

d_{HR}(u,v) = \inf \{\|u'-v'\|:u',v'\in B(H)^d, u'\sim u and v'\sim v\},

and we show the inequality

d_{HR}(u,v) \leq  K d_D(u,v)^{1/2}.

Let u_\Theta be the universal unitary tuple (u_1,\ldots,u_d) satisfying u_\ell u_k=e^{i\theta_{k,\ell}} u_k u_\ell, where \Theta=(\theta_{k,\ell}) is a real antisymmetric matrix. We find that c(u_\Theta, u_{\Theta'})\leq e^{\frac{1}{4}\|\Theta-\Theta'\|}. From this we recover the result of Haagerup-Rordam and Gao that there exists a map \Theta\mapsto U(\Theta)\in B(H)^d such that U(\Theta)\sim u_\Theta and

\|U(\Theta)-U({\Theta'})\|\leq K\|\Theta-\Theta'\|^{1/2}.

Of special interest are: the universal d-tuple of noncommuting unitaries {\mathrm u}, the d-tuple of free Haar unitaries u_f, and the universal d-tuple of commuting unitaries u_0. We obtain the bounds

2\sqrt{1-\frac{1}{d}}\leq c(u_f,u_0)\leq 2\sqrt{1-\frac{1}{2d}}.

From this, we recover Passer’s upper bound for the universal unitaries c({\mathrm u},u_0)\leq\sqrt{2d}. In the case d=3 we obtain the new lower bound c({\mathrm u},u_0)\geq 1.858 improving on the previously known lower bound c({\mathrm u},u_0)\geq\sqrt{3}.

Dilations of q-commuting unitaries

Malte Gerhold and I just have just uploaded a revision of our paper “Dilations of q-commuting unitaries” to the arxiv. This paper has been recently accepted to appear in IMRN, and was previously rejected by CMP, so we have four anonymous referees and two handling editors to be thankful to for various corrections and suggested improvements (though, as you may understand, one editor and two referees have reached quite a wrong conclusion regarding our beautiful paper :-).

This is a quite short paper (200 full pages shorter than the paper I recently announced), which tells a simple and interesting story: we find that optimal constant c_\theta, such that every pair of unitaries u,v satisfying the q-commutation relation

vu = e^{i\theta} uv

dilates to a pair of commuting normal operators with norm less than or equal to c_\theta (this problems is related to the “complex matrix cube problem” that we considered in the summer project half year ago and the one before). We provide a full solution. There are a few ramifications of this idea, as well as surprising connections and applications, so I invite you to check out the nice little introduction.