Open Access
2017 Chapter VI. Compact and Locally Compact Groups
Anthony W. Knapp
Books by Independent Authors, 2017: 212-274 (2017) DOI: 10.3792/euclid/9781429799911-6


This chapter investigates several ways that groups play a role in real analysis. For the most part the groups in question have a locally compact Hausdorff topology.

Section 1 introduces topological groups, their quotient spaces, and continuous group actions. Topological groups are groups that are topological spaces in such a way that multiplication and inversion are continuous. Their quotient spaces by subgroups are of interest when they are Hausdorff, and this is the case when the subgroups are closed. Many examples are given, and elementary properties are established for topological groups and their quotients by closed subgroups.

Sections 2–4 investigate translation-invariant regular Borel measures on locally compact groups and invariant measures on their quotient spaces. Section 2 deals with existence and uniqueness in the group case. A left Haar measure on a locally compact group $G$ is a nonzero regular Borel measure invariant under left translations, and right Haar measures are defined similarly. The theorem is that left and right Haar measures exist on $G$, and each kind is unique up to a scalar factor. Section 3 addresses the relationship between left Haar measures and right Haar measures, which do not necessarily coincide. The relationship is captured by the modular function, which is a certain continuous homomorphism of the group into the multiplicative group of positive reals. The modular function plays a role in constructing Haar measures for complicated groups out of Haar measures for subgroups. Of special interest are “unimodular” locally compact groups $G$, i.e., those for which the left Haar measures coincide with the right Haar measures. Every compact group, and of course every locally compact abelian group, is unimodular. Section 4 concerns translation-invariant measures on quotient spaces $G/H$. For the setting in which $G$ is a locally compact group and $H$ is a closed subgroup, the theorem is that $G/H$ has a nonzero regular Borel measure invariant under the action of $G$ if and only if the restriction to $H$ of the modular function of $G$ coincides with the modular function of $H$. In this case the $G$ invariant measure is unique up to a scalar factor. Section 5 introduces convolution on unimodular locally compact groups $G$. Familiar results valid for the additive group of Euclidean space, such as those concerning convolution of functions in various $L^{p}$ classes, extend to be valid for such groups $G$.

Sections 6–8 concern the representation theory of compact groups. Section 6 develops the elementary theory of finite-dimensional representations and includes some examples, Schur orthogonality, and properties of characters. Section 7 contains the Peter–Weyl Theorem, giving an orthonormal basis of $L^{2}$ in terms of irreducible representations and concluding with an Approximation Theorem showing how to approximate continuous functions on a compact group by trigonometric polynomials. Section 8 shows that infinite-dimensional unitary representations of compact groups decompose canonically according to the irreducible finite-dimensional representations of the group. An example is given to show how this theorem may be used to take advantage of the symmetry in analyzing a bounded operator that commutes with a compact group of unitary operators. The same principle applies in analyzing partial differential operators.


Published: 1 January 2017
First available in Project Euclid: 21 May 2018

Digital Object Identifier: 10.3792/euclid/9781429799911-6

Rights: Copyright © 2017, Anthony W. Knapp

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