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  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: November 2010

4 - Semisimple Modules, Artinian Modules, and Torsionfree Modules


In this chapter, we discuss several special types of modules that will make frequent appearances later. These include semisimple modules, artinian modules, and torsionfree modules, which have prototypes in vector spaces, finite abelian groups, and torsionfree abelian groups, respectively. That special types of modules have useful roles in the study of arbitrary modules may be seen already in the case of abelian groups (i.e., ℤ-modules). In studying an arbitrary abelian group, an almost reflexive first step is to look at its torsion part (i.e., the torsion subgroup) and its torsionfree part (i.e., the factor group modulo the torsion subgroup), since entirely different techniques are available (and needed) for dealing with torsion groups and torsionfree groups. On the torsionfree side, vector spaces make an appearance due to the facts that the torsionfree divisible abelian groups are exactly the vector spaces over ℚ and that every torsionfree abelian group can be embedded in a divisible one. On the torsion side, many questions can be reduced to the case of finite abelian groups, since every torsion abelian group is a directed union of finite subgroups. In studying torsion abelian groups, one also reduces to the case of p-groups for various primes p. Vector spaces make another appearance here, since in an abelian p-group the set of elements of order p (together with 0) forms a vector space over ℤ/pℤ.

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