Definitions

Weak convergence (Hilbert space)

In mathematics, weak convergence is a type of convergence of a sequence of points in a Hilbert space (and, more generally, in a Banach space).

Definition

A sequence of points $\left(x_n\right)$ in a Hilbert space H, with n an integer, is said to converge weakly to a point x in H if

$langle x_n,y rangle to langle x,y rangle$

for all y in H. Here, $langle cdot, cdot rangle$ is understood to be the scalar product on the Hilbert space. The notation

$x_n rightharpoonup x$

is sometimes used to denote this kind of convergence.

Weak topology

Weak convergence is in contrast to strong convergence or convergence in the norm, which is defined by

$Vert x_n -x Vert to 0$

where $Vert x Vert = sqrt \left\{langle x,x rangle\right\}$ is the norm of x.

The notion of weak convergence defines a topology on H and this is called the weak topology on H. In other words, the weak topology is the topology generated by the bounded functionals on H. It follows from Schwarz inequality that the weak topology is weaker than the norm topology. Therefore convergence in norm implies weak convergence while the converse is not true in general. However, if $langle x_n, x rangle to langle x, x rangle$ and $| x_n | to |x|$, then we have $| x_n - x | to 0$ as $n to infty$.

On the level of operators, a bounded operator T is also continuous in the weak topology: If xnx weakly, then for all y

$langle Tx_n, y rangle = langle x_n, T^* y rangle rightarrow langle x, T^*y rangle = langle Tx, y rangle.$

Properties

• Since every closed and bounded set is weakly relatively compact (under the weak topology, its closure is compact), every bounded sequence $x_n$ in a Hilbert space H contains a weakly convergent subsequence. Note that closed and bounded sets are not in general weakly compact in Hilbert spaces (consider the set consisting of an orthonormal basis in an infinitely dimensional Hilbert space which is closed and bounded but not weakly compact since it doesn't contain 0). However, bounded and weakly closed sets are weakly compact so as a consequence every convex bounded closed set is weakly compact.
• As a consequence of the principle of uniform boundedness, every weakly convergent sequence is bounded.
• If $x_n$ converges weakly to x, then

$Vert xVert le liminf_\left\{ntoinfty\right\} Vert x_n Vert,$

and this inequality is strict whenever the convergence is not strong. For example, infinite orthonormal sequences converge weakly to zero, as demonstrated below.

• If $x_n$ converges weakly to x and we have the additional assumption that lim ||xn|| = ||x||, then xn converges to x strongly:

$langle x - x_n, x - x_n rangle = langle x, x rangle + langle x_n, x_n rangle - langle x_n, x rangle - langle x, x_n rangle rightarrow 0.$

Weak convergence of orthonormal sequences

Consider a sequence $e_n$ which was constructed to be orthonormal, that is,

$langle e_n, e_m rangle = delta_\left\{mn\right\}$

where $delta_\left\{mn\right\}$ equals one if m = n and zero otherwise. We claim that if the sequence is infinite, then it converges weakly to zero. A simple proof is as follows. For xH, we have

$sum_n | langle e_n, x rangle |^2 leq | x |^2$

where equality holds when {en} is a Hilbert space basis. Therefore

$| langle e_n, x rangle |^2 rightarrow 0$

i.e.

$langle e_n, x rangle rightarrow 0 .$

Banach-Saks theorem

The Banach-Saks theorem states that every bounded sequence $x_n$ contains a subsequence $x_\left\{n_k\right\}$ and a point x such that

$frac\left\{1\right\}\left\{N\right\}sum_\left\{k=1\right\}^N x_\left\{n_k\right\}$

converges strongly to x as N goes to infinity.

Generalizations

The definition of weak convergence can be extended to Banach spaces. A sequence of points $\left(x_n\right)$ in a Banach space B is said to converge weakly to a point x in B if

$f\left(x_n\right) to f\left(x\right)$

for any scalar-valued bounded linear operator $f$ defined on $B$, that is, for any $f$ in the dual space $B\text{'}.$ If $B$ is a Hilbert space, then, by the Riesz representation theorem, any such $f$ has the form

$f\left(x\right)=langle x,yrangle$

for some $y$ in $B$, so one obtains the Hilbert space definition of weak convergence.

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