You are here
Homelocal ring
Primary tabs
local ring
Commutative case
A commutative ring with multiplicative identity is called local if it has exactly one maximal ideal. This is the case if and only if $1\not=0$ and the sum of any two nonunits in the ring is again a nonunit; the unique maximal ideal consists precisely of the nonunits.
The name comes from the fact that these rings are important in the study of the local behavior of varieties and manifolds: the ring of function germs at a point is always local. (The reason is simple: a germ $f$ is invertible in the ring of germs at $x$ if and only if $f(x)\not=0$, which implies that the sum of two noninvertible elements is again noninvertible.) This is also why schemes, the generalizations of varieties, are defined as certain locally ringed spaces. Other examples of local rings include:

All fields are local. The unique maximal ideal is $(0)$.

Rings of formal power series over a field are local, even in several variables. The unique maximal ideal consists of those power series without constant term.

if $R$ is a commutative ring with multiplicative identity, and $\mathfrak{p}$ is a prime ideal in $R$, then the localization of $R$ at $\mathfrak{p}$, written as $R_{{\mathfrak{p}}}$, is always local. The unique maximal ideal in this ring is $\mathfrak{p}R_{{\mathfrak{p}}}$.

All discrete valuation rings are local.
A local ring $R$ with maximal ideal $\mathfrak{m}$ is also written as $(R,\mathfrak{m})$.
Every local ring $(R,\mathfrak{m})$ is a topological ring in a natural way, taking the powers of $\mathfrak{m}$ as a neighborhood base of 0.
Given two local rings $(R,\mathfrak{m})$ and $(S,\mathfrak{n})$, a local ring homomorphism from $R$ to $S$ is a ring homomorphism $f:R\to S$ (respecting the multiplicative identities) with $f(\mathfrak{m})\subseteq\mathfrak{n}$. These are precisely the ring homomorphisms that are continuous with respect to the given topologies on $R$ and $S$.
The residue field of the local ring $(R,\mathfrak{m})$ is the field $R/\mathfrak{m}$.
General case
One also considers noncommutative local rings. A ring with multiplicative identity is called local if it has a unique maximal left ideal. In that case, the ring also has a unique maximal right ideal, and the two ideals coincide with the ringβs Jacobson radical, which in this case consists precisely of the nonunits in the ring.
A ring $R$ is local if and only if the following condition holds: we have $1\not=0$, and whenever $x\in R$ is not invertible, then $1x$ is invertible.
All skew fields are local rings. More interesting examples are given by endomorphism rings: a finitelength module over some ring is indecomposable if and only if its endomorphism ring is local, a consequence of Fittingβs lemma.
Mathematics Subject Classification
16L99 no label found13H99 no label found16L30 no label found Forums
 Planetary Bugs
 HS/Secondary
 University/Tertiary
 Graduate/Advanced
 Industry/Practice
 Research Topics
 LaTeX help
 Math Comptetitions
 Math History
 Math Humor
 PlanetMath Comments
 PlanetMath System Updates and News
 PlanetMath help
 PlanetMath.ORG
 Strategic Communications Development
 The Math Pub
 Testing messages (ignore)
 Other useful stuff
Recent Activity
new correction: Error in proof of Proposition 2 by alex2907
Jun 24
new question: A good question by Ron Castillo
Jun 23
new question: A trascendental number. by Ron Castillo
Jun 19
new question: Banach lattice valued Bochner integrals by math ias
Jun 13
new question: young tableau and young projectors by zmth
Jun 11
new question: binomial coefficients: is this a known relation? by pfb
Jun 6
new question: difference of a function and a finite sum by pfb