# Matrix Multiplication on Square Matrices over Ring with Unity is not Commutative

## Contents

## Theorem

Let $R$ be a ring with unity.

Let $n \in \Z_{>0}$ be a (strictly) positive integer such that $n \ne 1$.

Let $\map {\mathcal M_R} n$ denote the $n \times n$ matrix space over $R$.

Then (conventional) matrix multiplication over $\map {\mathcal M_R} n$ is not commutative:

- $\exists \mathbf A, \mathbf B \in \map {\mathcal M_R} n: \mathbf {A B} \ne \mathbf {B A}$

If $R$ is specifically not commutative, then the result holds when $n = 1$ as well.

## Proof

The proof proceeds by induction.

For all $n \in \Z_{\ge 2}$, let $\map P n$ be the proposition:

- $\exists \mathbf A, \mathbf B \in \map {\mathcal M_R} n: \mathbf {A B} \ne \mathbf {B A}$

### Edge Cases

#### $n = 1$

Consider the case where $n = 1$.

Then:

\(\displaystyle \mathbf {A B}\) | \(=\) | \(\displaystyle a_{11} b_{11}\) | |||||||||||

\(\displaystyle \mathbf {B A}\) | \(=\) | \(\displaystyle b_{11} a_{11}\) |

and it follows that (conventional) matrix multiplication over $\map {\mathcal M_R} 1$ is commutative if and only if $R$ is a commutative ring.

#### $R$ not a Ring with Unity

Consider the case where $R$ is not a ring with unity, and is a general ring.

Let $R$ be the trivial ring.

From Matrix Multiplication on Square Matrices over Trivial Ring is Commutative:

- $\forall \mathbf A, \mathbf B \in \map {\mathcal M_R} n: \mathbf {A B} = \mathbf {B A}$

Hence the result does not follow for all rings.

It is not established at this point on exactly which rings (conventional) matrix multiplication $\map {\mathcal M_R} n$ commutes.

However, the existence of just one such ring (the trivial ring) warns us that we cannot apply the main result to *all* rings.

### Basis for the Induction

From Matrix Multiplication is not Commutative/Order 2 Square Matrices, it is seen that there exist $2 \times 2$ matrices that don't commute under matrix multiplication, thus proving the result for $n = 2$.

$\map P 2$ is the case:

- $\exists \mathbf A, \mathbf B \in \map {\mathcal M_R} 2: \mathbf {A B} \ne \mathbf {B A}$

This is demonstrated in Matrix Multiplication is not Commutative: Order $2$ Square Matrices.

Thus $\map P 2$ is seen to hold.

This is the basis for the induction.

### Induction Hypothesis

Now it needs to be shown that if $\map P k$ is true, where $k \ge 1$, then it logically follows that $\map P {k + 1}$ is true.

So this is the induction hypothesis:

- $\exists \mathbf A, \mathbf B \in \map {\mathcal M_R} k: \mathbf {A B} \ne \mathbf {B A}$

from which it is to be shown that:

- $\exists \mathbf A, \mathbf B \in \map {\mathcal M_R} {k + 1}: \mathbf {A B} \ne \mathbf {B A}$

### Induction Step

This is the induction step:

From the induction hypothesis, it is assumed that there exist $2$ order $k$ square matrices $\mathbf A$ and $\mathbf B$ such that $\mathbf {A B} \ne \mathbf {B A}$.

For an order $n$ square matrix $\mathbf D$, let $\mathbf {D'}$ be the square matrix of order $n + 1$ defined as:

- $d'_{i j} = \begin {cases} d_{i j} & : i < n + 1 \land j < n + 1 \\ 0 & : i = n + 1 \lor j = n + 1 \end{cases}$

Thus $\mathbf D'$ is just $\mathbf D$ with a zero row and zero column added at the ends.

We have that $\mathbf D$ is a submatrix of $\mathbf D'$.

Now:

- $\paren {a' b'}_{i j} = \begin{cases} \displaystyle \sum_{r \mathop = 1}^{n + 1} \mathbf a'_{i r} b'_{r j} & : i < n + 1 \land j < n + 1 \\ 0 & : i = n + 1 \lor j = n + 1 \end{cases}$

But:

\(\displaystyle \sum_{r \mathop = 1}^{n + 1} a'_{i r} b'_{r j}\) | \(=\) | \(\displaystyle a'_{i \paren {n + 1} } b'_{\paren {n + 1} i} + \sum_{r \mathop = 1}^n a'_{i r} b'_{r j}\) | |||||||||||

\(\displaystyle \) | \(=\) | \(\displaystyle \sum_{r \mathop = 1}^n a_{i r} b_{r j}\) |

and so:

\(\displaystyle \mathbf A' \mathbf B' \paren {n + 1, n + 1}\) | \(=\) | \(\displaystyle \paren {\mathbf {A B} }' \paren {n + 1, n + 1}\) | |||||||||||

\(\displaystyle \) | \(=\) | \(\displaystyle \mathbf {A B}\) | |||||||||||

\(\displaystyle \) | \(\ne\) | \(\displaystyle \mathbf {B A}\) | |||||||||||

\(\displaystyle \) | \(=\) | \(\displaystyle \paren {\mathbf {B A} }' \paren {n + 1, n + 1}\) | |||||||||||

\(\displaystyle \) | \(=\) | \(\displaystyle \mathbf B' \mathbf A' \paren {n + 1; n + 1}\) |

Thus it is seen that:

- $\exists \mathbf A', \mathbf B' \in \mathcal M_{n + 1 \times n + 1}: \mathbf A' \mathbf B' \ne \mathbf B' \mathbf A'$

So $\map P k \implies \map P {k + 1}$ and the result follows by the Principle of Mathematical Induction.

Therefore:

- $\exists \mathbf A, \mathbf B \in \map {\mathcal M_R} n: \mathbf {A B} \ne \mathbf {B A}$

and by definition (conventional) matrix multiplication over $\map {\mathcal M_R} n$ is not commutative.

$\blacksquare$