Degree estimate for commutators

Research paper by Vesselin Drensky, Jie-Tai Yu

Indexed on: 03 Jun '08Published on: 03 Jun '08Published in: Mathematics - Rings and Algebras


Let K<X> be a free associative algebra over a field K of characteristic 0 and let each of the noncommuting polynomials f,g generate its centralizer in K<X>. Assume that the leading homogeneous components of f and g are algebraically dependent with degrees which do not divide each other. We give a counterexample to the recent conjecture of Jie-Tai Yu that deg([f,g])=deg(fg-gf) > min{deg(f),deg(g)}. Our example satisfies deg(g)/2 < deg([f,g]) < deg(g) < deg(f) and deg([f,g]) can be made as close to deg(g)/2 as we want. We obtain also a counterexample to another related conjecture of Makar-Limanov and Jie-Tai Yu stated in terms of Malcev - Neumann formal power series. These counterexamples are found using the description of the free algebra K<X> considered as a bimodule of K[u] where u is a monomial which is not a power of another monomial and then solving the equation [u^m,s]=[u^n,r] with unknowns r,s in K<X>.