# ring of continuous functions

## Ring Structure on $C(X)$

To formally define $C(X)$ as a ring, we take a step backward, and look at $\mathbb{R}^{X}$, the set of all functions from $X$ to $\mathbb{R}$. We will define a ring structure  on $\mathbb{R}^{X}$ so that $C(X)$ inherits that structure and forms a ring itself.

For any $f,g\in\mathbb{R}^{X}$ and any $r\in\mathbb{R}$, we define the following operations  :

1. 1.

(addition) $(f+g)(x):=f(x)+g(x)$,

2. 2.

(multiplication) $(fg)(x):=f(x)g(x)$,

3. 3.

(identities   ) Define $r(x):=r$ for all $x\in X$. These are the constant functions. The special constant functions $1(x)$ and $0(x)$ are the multiplicative and additive identities in $\mathbb{R}^{X}$.

4. 4.

(additive inverse) $(-f)(x):=-(f(x))$,

5. 5.

(multiplicative inverse  ) if $f(x)\neq 0$ for all $x\in X$, then we may define the multiplicative inverse of $f$, written $f^{-1}$ by

 $f^{-1}(x):=\frac{1}{f(x)}.$

All the ring axioms are easily verified. So $\mathbb{R}^{X}$ is a ring, and actually a commutative ring. It is immediate that any constant function other than the additive identity is invertible.

Since $C(X)$ is closed under all of the above operations, and that $0,1\in C(X)$, $C(X)$ is a subring of $\mathbb{R}^{X}$, and is called the ring of continuous functions over $X$.

## Additional Structures on $C(X)$

$\mathbb{R}^{X}$ becomes an $\mathbb{R}$-algebra if we define scalar multiplication by $(rf)(x):=r(f(x))$. As a result, $C(X)$ is a subalgebra  of $\mathbb{R}^{X}$.

In addition to having a ring structure, $\mathbb{R}^{X}$ also has a natural order structure, with the partial order defined by $f\leq g$ iff $f(x)\leq g(x)$ for all $x\in X$. The positive cone     is the set $\{f\mid 0\leq f\}$. The absolute value     , given by $|f|(x):=|f(x)|$, is an operator mapping $\mathbb{R}^{X}$ onto its positive cone. With the absolute value operator defined, we can put a lattice  structure (http://planetmath.org/Lattice) on $\mathbb{R}^{X}$ as well:

• (meet) $f\vee g:=2^{-1}(f+g+|f-g|)$. Here, $2^{-1}$ is the constant function valued at $\frac{1}{2}$ (also as the multiplicative inverse of the constant function $2$).

• (join) $f\wedge g:=f+g-(f\vee g)$.

Since taking the absolute value of a continuous function is again continuous, $C(X)$ is a sublattice of $\mathbb{R}^{X}$. As a result, we may consider $C(X)$ as a lattice-ordered ring of continuous functions.

Remarks. Any subring of $C(X)$ is called a ring of continuous functions over $X$. This subring may or may not be a sublattice of $C(X)$. Other than $C(X)$, the two commonly used lattice-ordered subrings of $C(X)$ are

## References

• 1 L. Gillman, M. Jerison: Rings of Continuous Functions, Van Nostrand, (1960).
Title ring of continuous functions RingOfContinuousFunctions 2013-03-22 16:54:54 2013-03-22 16:54:54 CWoo (3771) CWoo (3771) 14 CWoo (3771) Definition msc 54C40 msc 54C35