# primary decomposition theorem

###### Theorem 1.

Every decomposable ideal in a commutative ring $R$ with 1 has a unique minimal primary decomposition. In other words, if $I$ is an ideal of $R$ with two minimal primary decompositions

 $I=J_{1}\cap J_{2}\cap\cdots\cap J_{m}=K_{1}\cap K_{2}\cap\cdots\cap K_{n},$

then $m=n$, and after some rearrangement, $\operatorname{rad}(J_{i})=\operatorname{rad}(K_{i})$.

The theorem says, that, the number of primary components of a minimal primary decomposition of an ideal, as well as the set of prime radicals associated with the primary components, are unique. This is not to say, however, that the ideal has a unique minimal primary decomposition. For example, let $k$ be a field. Consider the ring $k[x,y]$ of polynomials   over $k$ in two variables. The ideal $(x^{2},xy)$ has minimal primary decompositions $(x)\cap(x^{2},y+rx)$ for every $r\in k$.

Remark. To tie the fundamental theorem of arithmetic with this theorem, we observe that every natural number  $n$ greater than $1$ can be uniquely expressed as a product   of prime powers:

 $n=p_{1}^{a_{1}}p_{2}^{a_{2}}\cdots p_{n}^{a_{n}},$

where each $p_{i}$ is a prime number  . This is the same as saying that

 $(n)=(p_{1}^{a_{1}})\cap(p_{2}^{a_{2}})\cap\cdots\cap(p_{n}^{a_{n}}),$

as every $(p^{a})$ is a $(p)$-primary ideal  of $\mathbb{Z}$ for every prime $p\in\mathbb{N}$. The decomposition is minimal  , as $(p_{1}^{a_{1}})=(p_{2}^{a_{2}})$ iff $p_{1}=p_{2}$ and $a_{1}=a_{2}$.

## References

• 1 D.G. Northcott, Ideal Theory, Cambridge University Press, 1953.
Title primary decomposition theorem PrimaryDecompositionTheorem1 2013-03-22 18:19:56 2013-03-22 18:19:56 CWoo (3771) CWoo (3771) 9 CWoo (3771) Theorem msc 13C99