# Von Neumann algebra

## *-algebra of bounded operators on a Hilbert space / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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In mathematics, a **von Neumann algebra** or **W*-algebra** is a *-algebra of bounded operators on a Hilbert space that is closed in the weak operator topology and contains the identity operator. It is a special type of C*-algebra.

Von Neumann algebras were originally introduced by John von Neumann, motivated by his study of single operators, group representations, ergodic theory and quantum mechanics. His double commutant theorem shows that the analytic definition is equivalent to a purely algebraic definition as an algebra of symmetries.

Two basic examples of von Neumann algebras are as follows:

- The ring $L^{\infty }(\mathbb {R} )$ of essentially bounded measurable functions on the real line is a commutative von Neumann algebra, whose elements act as multiplication operators by pointwise multiplication on the Hilbert space $L^{2}(\mathbb {R} )$ of square-integrable functions.
- The algebra ${\mathcal {B}}({\mathcal {H}})$ of all bounded operators on a Hilbert space ${\mathcal {H}}$ is a von Neumann algebra, non-commutative if the Hilbert space has dimension at least $2$.

Von Neumann algebras were first studied by von Neumann (1930) in 1929; he and Francis Murray developed the basic theory, under the original name of **rings of operators**, in a series of papers written in the 1930s and 1940s (F.J. Murray & J. von Neumann 1936, 1937, 1943; J. von Neumann 1938, 1940, 1943, 1949), reprinted in the collected works of von Neumann (1961).

Introductory accounts of von Neumann algebras are given in the online notes of Jones (2003) and Wassermann (1991) and the books by Dixmier (1981), Schwartz (1967), Blackadar (2005) and Sakai (1971). The three volume work by Takesaki (1979) gives an encyclopedic account of the theory. The book by Connes (1994) discusses more advanced topics.