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Quantum Subgroups

Let C(G) be a the algebra of functions on a finite or perhaps compact quantum group (with comultiplication \Delta) and \nu\in M_p(G) a state on C(G). We say that a quantum group H with algebra of function C(H) (with comultiplication \Delta_H) is a quantum subgroup of G if there exists a surjective unital *-homomorphism \pi:C(G)\rightarrow C(H) such that:

\displaystyle \Delta_H\circ \pi=(\pi\otimes \pi)\circ \Delta.

The Classical Case

In the classical case, where the algebras of functions on G and H are commutative,

\displaystyle \pi(\delta_g)=\left\{\begin{array}{cc}\delta_g & \text{ if }g\in H \\ 0 & \text{ otherwise}\end{array}\right..

There is a natural embedding, in the classical case, if H is open (always true for G finite) (thanks UwF) of \imath: C(H) \xrightarrow\, C(G),

\displaystyle \sum_{h\in H}a_h \delta_h \mapsto \sum_{g\in G} a_g \delta_g,

with a_g=a_h for h\in G, and a_g=0 otherwise.

Furthermore, \pi is has the property that

\pi\circ\imath\circ \pi=\pi,

which resembles \pi^2=\pi.

In the case where \nu is a probability on a classical group G, supported on a subgroup H, it is very easy to see that convolutions \nu^{\star k} remain supported on H. Indeed, \nu^{\star k} is the distribution of the random variable

\xi_k=\zeta_k\cdots \zeta_2\cdot \zeta_1,

where the i.i.d. \zeta_i\sim \nu. Clearly \xi_k\in H and so \nu^{\star k} is supported on H.

We can also prove this using the language of the commutative algebra of functions on G, C(G). The state \nu\in M_p(G) being supported on H implies that

\nu\circ\imath\circ \pi=\nu\imath\pi=\nu.

Consider now two probabilities on G but supported on H, say \mu,\,\nu. As they are supported on H we have

\mu=\mu\imath\pi and \nu=\nu\imath\pi.


(\mu\star \nu)\imath\pi=(\mu\otimes \nu)\circ \Delta\circ \imath\pi

=((\mu\imath\pi)\otimes(\nu\imath\pi))\circ \Delta\circ\imath\pi =(\mu\imath\otimes \nu\imath)(\pi\circ \pi)\Delta\circ\imath\pi

=(\mu\imath\otimes\nu\imath)(\Delta_H\circ \pi\circ \imath\circ \pi)=(\mu\imath\otimes\nu\imath)(\Delta_H\circ \pi)

=(\mu\imath\otimes \nu\imath)\circ (\pi\circ \pi)\circ\Delta=(\mu\imath\pi\otimes \nu\imath\pi)\circ\Delta

=(\mu\otimes\nu)\circ\Delta=\mu\star \nu,

that is \mu\star \nu is also supported on H and inductively \nu^{\star k}.

Some Questions

Back to quantum groups with non-commutative algebras of functions.

  • Can we embed C(H) in C(G) with a map \imath and do we have \pi\circ \imath\circ \pi=\pi, giving the projection-like quality to \pi?
  • Is \nu\circ\imath\circ \pi=\nu a suitable definition for \nu being supported on the subgroup H.

If this is the case, the above proof carries through to the quantum case.

  • If there is no such embedding, what is the appropriate definition of a \nu\in M_p(G) being supported on a quantum subgroup H?
  • If \pi does not have the property of \pi\circ \imath\circ \pi=\pi, in this or another definition, is it still true that \nu being supported on H implies that \nu^{\star k} is too?


UwF has recommended that I look at this paper to improve my understanding of the concepts involved.


Slides of a talk given at the Irish Mathematical Society 2018 Meeting at University College Dublin, August 2018.

Abstract Four generalisations are used to illustrate the topic. The generalisation from finite “classical” groups to finite quantum groups is motivated using the language of functors (“classical” in this context meaning that the algebra of functions on the group is commutative). The generalisation from random walks on finite “classical” groups to random walks on finite quantum groups is given, as is the generalisation of total variation distance to the quantum case. Finally, a central tool in the study of random walks on finite “classical” groups is the Upper Bound Lemma of Diaconis & Shahshahani, and a generalisation of this machinery is used to find convergence rates of random walks on finite quantum groups.

Distances between Probability Measures

Let G be a finite quantum group and M_p(G) be the set of states on the \mathrm{C}^\ast-algebra F(G).

The algebra F(G) has an invariant state \int_G\in\mathbb{C}G=F(G)^\ast, the dual space of F(G).

Define a (bijective) map \mathcal{F}:F(G)\rightarrow \mathbb{C}G, by

\displaystyle \mathcal{F}(a)b=\int_G ba,

for a,b\in F(G).

Then, where \|\cdot\|_1^{F(G)}=\int_G|\cdot| and \|\cdot\|_\infty^{F(G)}=\|\cdot\|_{\text{op}}, define the total variation distance between states \nu,\mu\in M_p(G) by

\displaystyle \|\nu-\mu\|=\frac12 \|\mathcal{F}^{-1}(\nu-\mu)\|_1^{F(G)}.

(Quantum Total Variation Distance (QTVD))

Standard non-commutative \mathcal{L}^p machinary shows that:

\displaystyle \|\nu-\mu\|=\sup_{\phi\in F(G):\|\phi\|_\infty^{F(G)}\leq 1}\frac12|\nu(\phi)-\mu(\phi)|.

(supremum presentation)

In the classical case, using the test function \phi=2\mathbf{1}_S-\mathbf{1}_G, where S=\{\nu\geq \mu\}, we have the probabilists’ preferred definition of total variation distance:

\displaystyle \|\nu-\mu\|_{\text{TV}}=\sup_{S\subset G}|\nu(\mathbf{1}_S)-\mu(\mathbf{1}_S)|=\sup_{S\subset G}|\nu(S)-\mu(S)|.

In the classical case the set of indicator functions on the subsets of the group exhaust the set of projections in F(G), and therefore the classical total variation distance is equal to:

\displaystyle \|\nu-\mu\|_P=\sup_{p\text{ a projection}}|\nu(p)-\mu(p)|.

(Projection Distance)

In all cases the quantum total variation distance and the supremum presentation are equal. In the classical case they are equal also to the projection distance. Therefore, in the classical case, we are free to define the total variation distance by the projection distance.

Quantum Projection Distance \neq Quantum Variation Distance?

Perhaps, however, on truly quantum finite groups the projection distance could differ from the QTVD. In particular, a pair of states on a M_n(\mathbb{C}) factor of F(G) might be different in QTVD vs in projection distance (this cannot occur in the classical case as all the factors are one dimensional).

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Slides of a talk given at the Topological Quantum Groups and Harmonic Analysis workshop at Seoul National University, May 2017.

Abstract A central tool in the study of ergodic random walks on finite groups is the Upper Bound Lemma of Diaconis & Shahshahani. The Upper Bound Lemma uses the representation theory of the group to generate upper bounds for the distance to random and thus can be used to determine convergence rates for ergodic walks. These ideas are generalised to the case of finite quantum groups.

After a long time I have finally completed my PhD studies when I handed in my hardbound thesis (a copy of which you can see here).

It was a very long road but thankfully now the pressure is lifted and I can enjoy my study of quantum groups and random walks thereon for many years to come.

Let \mathbb{G} be a finite quantum group described by A=\mathcal{C}(\mathbb{G}) with an involutive antipode (I know this is true is the commutative or cocommutative case. I am not sure at this point how restrictive it is in general. The compact matrix quantum groups have this property so it isn’t a terrible restriction.) S^2=I_A. Under the assumption of finiteness, there is a unique Haar state, h:A\rightarrow \mathbb{C} on A.

Representation Theory

A representation of \mathbb{G} is a linear map \kappa:V\rightarrow V\otimes A that satisfies

\left(\kappa\otimes I_A\right)\circ\kappa =\left(I_V\otimes \Delta\right)\circ \kappa\text{\qquad and \qquad}\left(I_V\otimes\varepsilon\right)\circ \kappa=I_V.

The dimension of \kappa is given by \dim\,V. If V has basis \{e_i\} then we can define the matrix elements of \kappa by

\displaystyle\kappa\left(e_j\right)=\sum_i e_i\otimes\rho_{ij}.

One property of these that we will use it that \varepsilon\left(\rho_{ij}\right)=\delta_{i,j}.

Two representations \kappa_1:V_1\rightarrow V_1\otimes A and \kappa_2:V_2\rightarrow V_2\otimes A are said to be equivalent, \kappa_1\equiv \kappa_2, if there is an invertible intertwiner between them. An intertwiner between \kappa_1 and \kappa_2 is a map T\in L\left(V_1,V_2\right) such that

\displaystyle\kappa_2\circ T=\left(T\otimes I_A\right)\circ \kappa_1.

We can show that every representation is equivalent to a unitary representation.

Timmermann shows that if \{\kappa_\alpha\}_{\alpha} is a maximal family of pairwise inequivalent irreducible representation that \{\rho_{ij}^\alpha\}_{\alpha,i,j} is a basis of A. When we refer to “the matrix elements” we always refer to such a family. We define the span of \{\rho_{ij}\} as \mathcal{C}\left(\kappa\right), the space of matrix elements of \kappa.

Given a representation \kappa, we define its conjugate, \overline{\kappa}:\overline{V}\rightarrow\overline{V}\otimes A, where \overline{V} is the conjugate vector space of V, by

\displaystyle\overline{\kappa}\left(\bar{e_j}\right)=\sum_i \bar{e_i}\otimes\rho_{ij}^*,

so that the matrix elements of \overline{\kappa} are \{\rho_{ij}^*\}.

Timmermann shows that the matrix elements have the following orthogonality relations:

  • If \alpha and \beta are inequivalent then h\left(a^*b\right)=0, for all a\in \mathcal{C}\left(\kappa_\alpha\right) and b\in\mathcal{C}\left(\kappa_\beta\right).
  • If \kappa is such that the conjugate, \overline{\kappa}, is equivalent to a unitary matrix (this is the case in the finite dimensional case), then we have

\displaystyle h\left(\rho_{ij}^*\rho_{kl}\right)=\frac{\delta_{i,k}\delta_{j,l}}{d_\alpha}.

This second relation is more complicated without the S^2=I_A assumption and refers to the entries and trace of an intertwiner F from \kappa to the coreprepresention with matrix elements \{S^2\left(\rho_{ij}\right)\}. If S^2=I_A, then this intertwiner is simply the identity on V and so the the entries \left[F\right]_{ij}=\delta_{i,j} and the trace is d=\dim V.

Denote by \text{Irr}(\mathbb{G}) the set of unitary equivalence classes of irreducible unitary representations of \mathbb{G}. For each \alpha\in\text{Irr}(\mathbb{G}), let \kappa_\alpha:V_{\alpha}\rightarrow V_{\alpha}\otimes A be a representative of the class \alpha where V_\alpha is the finite dimensional vector space on which \kappa_\alpha acts.

Diaconis-Van Daele Fourier Theory

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In Group Representations in Probability and Statistics, Diaconis presents his celebrated Upper Bound Lemma for a random walk on a finite  group G driven by \nu\in M_p(G). It states that

\displaystyle \|\nu^{\star k}-\pi\|^2\leq \frac{1}{4}\sum d_\rho \text{Tr }(\widehat{\nu(\rho)}^k(\widehat{\nu(\rho)}^\ast)^k),

where the sum is over all non-trivial irreducible representations of G.

In this post, we begin this study by looking a the (co)-representations of a quantum group A. The first thing to do is to write down a satisfactory definition of a representation of a group which we can quantise later. In the chapter on Diaconi-Fourier Theory here we defined a representation of a group as a group homomorphism

\rho:G\rightarrow GL(V)

While this was perfectly adequate for when we are working with finite groups, it might not be as transparently quantisable. Instead we define a representation of a group as an action

\Phi:V\times G\rightarrow V.

such that the map \rho(g):V\rightarrow V\rho(g)x=\Phi(x,g) is linear.

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Let G be a group and let A:=C^*(G)  be the C*-algebra of the group G. This is a C*-algebra whose elements are complex-valued functions on the group G. We define operations on A in the ordinary way save for multiplication

\displaystyle (fg)(s)=\sum_{t\in G}f(t)g(t^{-1}s),

and the adjoint f^*(s)=\overline{f(s^{-1})}. Note that the above multiplication is the same as defining \delta_s\delta_t=\delta_{st} and extending via linearity. Thence A is abelian if and only if G is.

To give the structure of a quantum group we define the following linear maps:

\Delta:A\rightarrow A\otimes A\Delta(\delta_s)=\delta_s\otimes\delta_s.

\displaystyle \varepsilon:A\rightarrow \mathbb{C}\varepsilon(\delta_s)=1.

S:A\rightarrow AS(\delta_s)=\delta_{s^{-1}}.

The functional h:A\rightarrow \mathbb{C} defined by h=\mathbf{1}_{\{\delta_e\}} is the Haar state on A. It is very easy to write down the j_n:

\displaystyle j_n(\delta_s)=\bigotimes_{i=0}^n\delta_s.

To do probability theory consider states \varepsilon,\,\phi on A and form the product state:

\displaystyle \Psi=\varepsilon\otimes\bigotimes_{i=1}^\infty \phi.

Whenever \phi is a state of A such that \phi(\delta_s)=1 implies that s=e, then the distribution of the random variables j_n converges to h.

At the moment we will use the one-norm to measure the distance to stationary:

d(\Psi\circ j_n,h)=\|\Psi\circ j_n-h\|_1.

A quick calculation shows that:

d(\Psi\circ j_n,h)=\sum_{s\neq e}|\phi(\delta_s)|^n.

When, for example, \phi(\delta_s)=2/m^2 when s are transpositions in S_m, then we have

d(\Psi\circ j_n,h)={m\choose 2}\left(\frac{2}{m^2}\right)^n.

Taken from Random Walks on Finite Quantum Groups by Franz & Gohm.


Let \phi be a state on a finite quantum group A. Then the Cesaro mean

\displaystyle \phi_n=\frac{1}{n}\sum_{k=1}^n\phi^{\star n}n\in\mathbb{N}

converges to an idempotent state on A, i.e. to a state \pi such that \pi\star\pi=\pi.

Proof : Let \phi' be an accumulation point of \{\phi_n\}_{n\geq0}, this exists since the states on A form a compact set. We have

\|\phi_n-\phi\star \phi_n\|=\frac{1}{n}\|\phi-\phi^{n+1}\|\leq \frac{2}{n}.

I have no idea where the equality comes from.

Choose sequence \{n_k\}_{k\geq 0} such that \phi_{n_k}\rightarrow \phi', we get \phi\star\phi'=\phi' and similarly \phi'\star \phi=\phi'. By linearity this implies \phi_n\star\phi'=\phi'=\phi'\star \phi_n. If \phi'' is another accumulation point of \{\phi_n\}_{n\geq 0} and \{m_{\ell}\}_{\ell\geq 0} a sequence such that \phi_{m_\ell}\rightarrow\phi'', then we get \phi''\star\phi'=\phi'=\phi'\star\phi'' and thus \phi'=\phi'' by symmetry (??). Therefore the sequence \{\phi_n\}_{n\geq0} has a unique accumulation point, i.e. it converges \bullet


If \phi is faithful, then the Cesaro limit \pi is the Haar state on A (prove this).


Due to cyclicity the sequence \{\phi^{\star n}\}_{n\geq 0} does not converge in general. Take, for example, the state \phi=\eta_2 (p.28) on the Kac-Paljutkin quantum group A, then we have

\eta_2^{\star n}=\left\{\begin{array}{ccc}\eta_2&\text{if}& n\text{ is odd}\\ \varepsilon&\text{if}&n\text{ is even}\end{array}\right.,


\displaystyle \lim_{n\rightarrow\infty}\frac1{n}\sum_{k=1}^n\eta_2^{\star k}=\frac{\varepsilon+\eta_2}2.

Taken from Random Walks on Finite Quantum Groups by Franz & Gohm

In this section we will show how one can recover a classical Markov chain from a quantum Markov chain. We will apply a folklore theorem that says one gets a classical Markov process, if a quantum Markov process can be restricted to a commutative algebra.

We might like to do more. This result recovers a Markov chain — if the quantum process is in fact a random walk on a finite quantum group can we recover the group, the transition probabilities (yes), the driving probability measure?? 


If we restrict a random walk on a finite quantum group to a commutative subalgebra we can recover a random walk on a finite group.

For random walks on quantum groups we have the following result.

Theorem 6.1

Let A be a finite quantum group \{j_n\}_{n\geq 0} a random walk on a finite dimensional A-comodule algebra B, and B_0 a unital abelian sub-*-algebra of B. The algebra B_0 is isomorphic to the algebra of functions on a finite set, say B_0\cong F(X) where X={1,\dots,d}.

If the transition operator T_\phi of \{j_n\}_{n\geq 0} leaves B_0 invariant, then there exists a classical Markov chain \{\xi_n\}_{n\geq 0} with values in X, whose probabilities can be computed as time-ordered moments of \{j_n\}_{n\geq 0}, i.e.

P(\xi_0=i_0,\dots,\xi_\ell=i_\ell)=\Psi\left(j_0\left(\mathbf{1}_{\{i_0\}}\right)\cdots j_\ell\left(\mathbf{1}_{\{i_\ell\}}\right)\right)

for all \ell\geq 0 and i_0,\dots,i_\ell\in X.

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