# Boolean Algebras, Boolean Rings and Stone s Representation Theorem

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1 Boolean Algebras, Boolean Rings and Stone s Representation Theorem Hongtaek Jung December 27, 2017 Abstract This is a part of a supplementary note for a Logic and Set Theory course. The main goal is to constitute equivalences between the category of Boolean algebras, Boolean rings and Stone spaces. Contents 1 Boolean Algebras Definition and First Properties Stone s Representation theorem Boolean Rings and its Spectrum Boolean Rings Spec of Boolean Rings Boolean Algebras 1.1 Definition and First Properties Definition A boolean algebra B is a set together with complement operation and two binary operations and subject to Commutativity Associativity a b = b a, a b = b a a (b c) = (a b) c, a (b c) = (a b) c Distributivity a (b c) = (a b) (a c), a (b c) = (a b) (a c) Absorption a (a b) = a, a (a b) = a 1

2 There are two different elements 0 and 1 in B such that a 0 = a, a 1 = a and a a = 1, a a = 0 Definition Given two Boolean algebras B 1 and B 2 the function f : B 1 B 2 is called a Boolean algebra homomorphism (or simply homomorphism if no confusion occurs) if f satisfies the following properties: f(a b) = f(a) f(b), f(a b) = f(a) f(b), f(0) = 0 and f(1) = 1. Proposition Let f : B 1 B 2 be an homomorphism between Boolean algebras B 1 and B 2. For any x B 1, we have f( x) = f(x). Proof. Observe: and 1 = f(1) = f(x x) = f(x) f( x) 0 = f(0) = f(x x) = f(x) f( x). Now the proposition is a consequence of the following lemma. Lemma If x y = 0 and x y = 1 then y = x. Proof. To this end, we first observe that Since 0 = x y we finally have x = x 1 x = x 0 = x (x y) = ( x x) ( x y) = 0 ( x y) = x y. = ( x y) (x y) = (( x y) x) (( x y) y) = (( x x) (y x)) y = (y x) y = y. We used the absorption property several times. Example (Two-element Boolean Algebra). This is the one of motivating examples of Boolean algebras. Let T = {0, 1}. Interpret 0, 1,,, as false, true, or, and, not respectively. Then we get a Boolean algebra which is called a two-element Boolean algebra. Example (Power Set Boolean Algebra). Let X be a set and consider its power set 2 X. Let 0 = and 1 = X and interpret,, as,, X \ respectively. Then (2 X,,, ) becomes a Boolean algebra. 2

3 Example Let X be a topological space. Let B(X) be the set of clopen subsets of X. With the same interpretations of,, as in the power set algebra, we get a Boolean algebra (B(X),,, ). For a connected space X, B(X) is isomorphic to the two-element Boolean algebra. To get a non-trivial B(X), the space X should have many connected components. B(X) is particularly interesting when X is totally disconnected, Hausdorff and compact. In that case, we will see that the Boolean algebra B(X) is universal. Example (Duality). Let (B,,, ) be a given Boolean algebra. We can construct another Boolean algebra B with is dual to B as follows. As a set, B is the same as B. The operations,, of B are defined by a b = a b, a b = a b and a = a. 0 in B is 1 in B and 1 in B is 0 in B. Then B = (B,,, ) is a Boolean algebra. We can define a filter for a Boolean algebra. Definition Let B be a Boolean algebra. A filter F of B is a subset of B such that for all x, y F, x y F and for all x F and all z B, x z F. A subset F is a prime filter if F is a filter and for all x, y B, x y F implies either x F or y F. A ultrafilter is a proper filter which is maximal with respect to the inclusion. The definition of a filter for a Boolean algebra is consistent with that of a set if we regard 2 X as a Boolean algebra in the sense of example There is a dual notion of a filter which is called an ideal. Definition An ideal of a Boolean algebra B is a filter of its dual B. Prime and maximal ideal is prime, ultrafilter of B respectively. Proposition Let M be an maximal ideal of a Boolean algebra B. Then there is a homomorphism f : B T into the two-element Boolean algebra T such that M = f 1 (0). Conversely, given a homomorphism f : B T into the two-element Boolean algebra T, f 1 (0) is a maximal ideal. Proof. Assume that f : B T is given. It is not difficult to show that f 1 (0) is an ideal. To show that f 1 (0) is maximal, suppose that there is another ideal I containing f 1 (0). Then there is a I such that a / f 1 (0), that is, f(a) = 1. Since f( a) = f(a) = 0 we see that a f 1 (0). Then since I is an ideal, a a = 1 I. But if 1 I we see that for all x B, 1 x = x B. Namely, I = B. Therefore, f 1 (0) is a maximal ideal. Conversely, given a maximal ideal M we construct a homomorphism f : B T into the two-elements Boolean algebra. For this, we construct a quotient Boolean algebra B/M and prove that B/M is two-element Boolean algebra. We do not prove this in detail. Corollary A filter U of a Boolean algebra B is a ultrafilter if and only if for each x B, either x U or x U. 1.2 Stone s Representation theorem Let B be a Boolean algebra. Let S(B) be the set of all ultrafilters. We give a topology on S(B) be declaring the open sets are unions of sets of the form U a = {ξ S(B) a ξ}. Let us investigate properties of the topological space S(B). 3

4 Proposition Let B be a Boolean algebra and a, b B. 1. U a b = U a U b and U a b = U a U b. 2. U a is closed. Consequently U a are all clopen subsets. 3. For each point ξ S(B), the singleton {ξ} is closed. Proof. (1) follows from the absorption property. (2) is because U a = S(B) \ U a. (3) since {ξ} = a ξ U a is closed. Definition A topological space X is totally disconnected if no subspace other than singleton is connected. Definition A nonempty totally disconnected compact Hausdorff space is called a Stone space. A Cantor set is an example of a Stone space. Theorem For a Boolean algebra B, S(B) is a Stone space. Proof. Let C be any subset of S(B) containing at least two elements. Let ξ and η be distinct elements in C. Then we can choose z ξ \ η. One can observe that {U z C, U z C} is a separation of C. Therefore, C is not connected proving that S(B) is totally disconnected. We prove the compactness of S(B). Suppose that we are given a set of open sets {O α } α Λ. We have to find a finite subcover, that is, finite subset Λ of Λ such that {O α } α λ covers S(B). Since each O α is a union of base open sets U a, a B, it is enough to show the following statement For any subset B of B such that a B U a = S(B), one can find a finite subset B of B such that a B U a = S(B). Since S \ U a = U a, the above statement is equivalent to For any subset B of B such that a B U a =, one can find a finite subset B of B such that a B U a =. We will prove the last statement. Given a subset A of B, denote by A the smallest filter of B containing A. Then one can prove that A = {(a 1 b 1 ) (a 2 b 2 ) (a n b n ) a i A, b i B, n N}. Moreover, we have U a U b = U a b = U {a,b}. Now since a B U a = U B = we see that B contains 0. Therefore, 0 can be written as 0 = (a 1 b 1 ) (a 2 b 2 ) (a n b n ) for a i B and b i B. Define a finite subset B = {a 1, a 2,, a n } of B. Then we have that 0 is in B so that b B U b =. Hence S(B) is compact. To show that S(B) is Hausdorff, choose two points ξ and η in S(B). Then there is a ξ \ η. Recall that U a and U a are disjoint open sets. Since a / η, a η. Therefore, U a and U a separate ξ and η. So, S(B) is Hausdorff. Corollary All clopen subset of S(B) is of the form U a for some a B. 4

5 Proof. We proved that subsets U a are all clopen in proposition It U is an open set then U can be written as a union x B U b for some subset B of B. Suppose that U is closed as well. Then since S(B) is compact, U must be compact. Therefore, there is a finite subset {x 1,, x n } of B such that U = n i=1 U x i. By proposition 1.2.1, we see that U = n i=1 U x i = U x1 x n. Let f : B 1 B 2 be a homomorphism of Boolean algebras B 1 and B 2. We have seen that a ultrafilter ξ of B 2 is the kernel of a homomorphism g : B 2 T into the two-element Boolean algebra T. Since g f is a homomorphism from B 1 to T, its kernel, denoted by S(f)(ξ), is an ultrafilter of B 1. One can prove that S(f)(ξ) = f 1 (ξ). Hence given a homomorphism f : B 1 B 2 we get a map S(f) : S(B 2 ) S(B 1 ). Since S(B 1 ) and S(B 2 ) are given a topology, we expect that S(f) is continuous. Theorem If f : B 1 B 2 is a homomorphism of Boolean algebras B 1 and B 2 then S(f) : S(B 2 ) S(B 1 ) is continuous. Proof. For a basic open set U 1 of S(B 1 ), a B 1, its inverse image S(f) 1 (U a ) is a basic open set U f(a) of S(B 2 ). Now we do a reverse engineering. Given a Stone space X, we could associate a Boolean algebra B(X). If f : X 1 X 2 is a continuous function between Stone spaces, there is a map B(f) : B(X 2 ) B(X 1 ) sending a clopen subset U of X 2 to its inverse image f 1 (U). This map is a homomorphism of Boolean algebras. As we mentioned before Boolean algebras of the type B(X) is universal in the following sense. Theorem (Stone s Representation Theorem). Let B be a Boolean algebra. Then B is isomorphic to a Boolean algebra B(S(B)). Proof. We have seen that U x is clopen for each x B. Hence define a map F : B B(S(B)) by F (x) = U x. This map is bijection by corollary Proving that F is homomorphism is routine. Remark The meaning of the Stone s representation theorem is that, there is essentially only one type of Boolean algebra, that is B(X). We have seen a similar theorem in linear algebra course: Every finite dimensional vector space over a field F is isomorphic to F n. However, there is a big difference between these two theorems. When we construct an isomorphism between a given vector space and F n, we have to choose some basis. Such a choice of a basis is very non-canonical so your isomorphism is not natural. On the other hand, Stone s representation theorem does not involve any choice in the construction of the isomorphism. In this sense, the Stone s isomorphism is a god-given nature of Boolean algebras and Stone s representation theorem reveals that intrinsic property. 2 Boolean Rings and its Spectrum 2.1 Boolean Rings We consider the the functors S and B defined in the previous section. The categories we are interested are the category BA of Boolean algebras and the 5

6 category Stone of Stone spaces. We proved that S : BA Stone is a contravariant functor. Moreover, there is another contravariant functor B : Stone BA. What the Stone s representation theorem tells us is that these two functors S and B are inverse of one another. In other words, the category BA and Stone are categorically equivalent. Since they are isomorphic one can say that or Stone spaces can be classified up to homeomorphisms by the invariant B B is a complete invariant of the category of Stone spaces. Moreover, every categorical term in one category can be translated into the other category. Let us give one example. Definition The object 0 of a category C is called initial if, for each object X of C, there is unique morphism from 0 to X. Its dual notion is the final object 1 which is defined by the property that for each object X, there is unique morphism from X to 1. Not every category has an initial/final object but if exists, it must be unique up to isomorphism. Note that the initial and final object may coincide. Example In the category BA, the initial object of BA is the two-element Boolean algebra T and the corresponding final (recall that the functor S is contravariant) object in Stone is a singleton {pt}. Now, we introduce another category which is naturally arisen from BA. Definition A Boolean ring is a ring R with unity such that x 2 = x x = x for all x R. Proposition Let R be a Boolean ring. For all x, y R we have 1. x + x = 2x = x y = y x. In other words, R is necessarily commutative and has characteristic 2. Proof. We have 2x = (2x) 2 = (x + x) 2 = x 2 + 2x + x 2 = 4x which proves (1). Observe that x + y = (x + y) 2 = x 2 + x y + y x + y 2 = x + y + x y + y x. Hence, x y = y x. But by (1), we have y x = y x. So, we get (2). Proposition Let R be a Boolean ring. The following statements are equivalent. 1. The cardinality of R is R is a field. 3. R is an integral domain. 6

7 4. R = F 2 = Z/2Z. Proof. The only nontrivial implication is (3) (4). For any x R, we have x 2 = x. So, x(x 1) = 0. Since R is assumed to be an integral domain, we see that either x = 0 or x = 1. Let BR be the category of Boolean rings. Define a functor R from the category of Boolean algebras BA into the category of Boolean rings BR as follows. For a given Boolean algebra B = (B,,, ), R(B) is, as a set, the same as B. The operations +, are defined respectively by a + b = (a b) (a b) and a b = a b. One can show that R(B) = (B, +, ) is a Boolean ring. For instance, given any x B, we have x 2 = x x = x x = x (x 0) = x. Finally, R sends a morphism f : B 1 B 2 to itself (as a set function), i.e. R(f)(x) = f(x) R(B 2 ), x R(B 1 ). Example Consider a power set algebra 2 X. The + operation of associated Boolean ring is nothing but the symmetric difference: A + B = (A B) \ (A B). Now we construct a functor A from BR to BA. As before, A sends a Boolean ring R = (R, +, ) to itself as a set. The operations,, and are defined by a b = a + b + a b, a b = a b, and a = 1 + a respectively. We have to check that A(R) = (R,,, ) so defined satisfies all the axioms of a Boolean algebra. In particular, we have, by proposition 2.1.4, that and a a = a (1 + a) = a + (1 + a) + a (a + 1) = 1 + 3a + a 2 = 1 + 4a = 1 a a = a (1 + a) = a (1 + a) = a + a 2 = a + a = 0. A proof of the following statement is straightforward. Theorem The functors R and A are inverse of each other. In other words, two categories BA and BR are equivalent. 2.2 Spec of Boolean Rings We have the notion of ideals, prime ideals and maximal ideals in a Boolean algebra. They are in one to one correspondence with ideals, prime ideals and maximal ideals in the associated Boolean ring. Proposition A subset I of a Boolean algebra B is an ideal (prime, maximal) if and only if I is an ideal (prime, maximal respectively) in R(B). Proof. Proving that I is an ideal (prime ideal) in B if and only if I is an ideal (prime ideal respectively) in R(B) is straightforward. Let M be a maximal ideal in B. Then we have a morphism f : B T into a two-element Boolean algebra T such that M = f 1 (0). Then, M = ker R(f). Observe that R(T ) is a two-element Boolean ring, which is a field F 2. It is general fact that the kernel of ring homomorphism into a field is a maximal ideal. Therefore, M is maximal ideal in R(B). For the converse, it suffices to show that if a Boolean ring R is a field, then R = F 2. But it is the case by proposition

8 Proposition Let I be an ideal of a Boolean ring. Then I is prime if and only if I is maximal. Proof. I is prime (maximal) if and only if I is a kernel of a ring homomorphism f : M D into an integral domain (field, respectively) D. Due to proposition 2.1.5, D is a field if and only if D is an integral domain. So, I is prime if and only if I is maximal. We have seen that BA and Stone are equivalent categories. Since BA and BR are equivalent, BR and Stone must be equivalent. Can we find an explicit functor that gives the equivalence between BR and Stone? Definition Let R be a commutative ring with unity. Define a topological space Spec R, the (prime) spectrum of R, as follows: As a set, Spec R is the set of prime ideals. We give a topology on Spec R by declaring that the closed sets are subsets of the type V (I) = {p Spec R I p} where I is an ideal of R. The topology defined in this way is called the Zariski topology. Remark A spectrum of ring is a central object in algebraic geometry. In fact the functor Spec from BR to Stone can be written as Spec = S A. BA S Stone A BR Spec 8

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