Generalized commutators and the Moore-Penrose inverse

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Irwin S. Pressman


This work studies the kernel of a linear operator associated with the generalized k-fold commutator. Given a set $\mathfrak{A}= \left\{ A_{1}, \ldots ,A_{k} \right\}$ of real $n \times n$ matrices, the commutator is denoted by
$[A_{1}| \ldots |A_{k}]$. For a fixed set of matrices $\mathfrak{A}$ we introduce a multilinear skew-symmetric linear operator $T_{\mathfrak{A}}(X)=T(A_{1}, \ldots ,A_{k})[X]=[A_{1}| \ldots |A_{k} |X] $. For fixed $n$ and $k \ge 2n-1, \; T_{\mathfrak{A}} \equiv 0$ by the Amitsur--Levitski Theorem [2] , which motivated this work. The matrix representation $M$ of the linear transformation $T$ is called the k-commutator matrix. $M$ has interesting properties, e.g., it is a commutator; for $k$ odd, there is a permutation of the rows of $M$ that makes it skew-symmetric. For both $k$ and $n$ odd, a provocative matrix $\mathcal{S}$ appears in the kernel of $T$. By using the Moore--Penrose inverse and introducing a conjecture about the rank of $M$, the entries of $\mathcal{S}$ are shown to be quotients of polynomials in the entries of the matrices in $\mathfrak{A}$. One case of the conjecture has been recently proven by Brassil. The Moore--Penrose inverse provides a full rank decomposition of $M$.

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