Module Interface


The module infrastructure in AbstractAlgebra should be considered experimental at this stage. This means that the interface may change in the future.

AbstractAlgebra allows the construction of finitely presented modules (i.e. with finitely many generators and relations), starting from free modules. The generic code provided by AbstractAlgebra will only work for modules over euclidean domains, however there is nothing preventing a library from implementing more general modules using the same interface.

All finitely presented module types in AbstractAlgebra follow the following interface which is a loose interface of functions, without much generic infrastructure built on top.

Free modules can be built over both commutative and noncommutative rings. Other types of module are restricted to fields and euclidean rings.

Abstract types

AbstractAlgebra provides two abstract types for finitely presented modules and their elements:

  • FPModule{T} is the abstract type for finitely presented module parent


  • FPModuleElem{T} is the abstract type for finitely presented module

element types

Note that the abstract types are parameterised. The type T should usually be the type of elements of the ring the module is over.

Required functionality for modules

We suppose that R is a fictitious base ring and that S is a module over R with parent object S of type MyModule{T}. We also assume the elements in the module have type MyModuleElem{T}, where T is the type of elements of the ring the module is over.

Of course, in practice these types may not be parameterised, but we use parameterised types here to make the interface clearer.

Note that the type T must (transitively) belong to the abstract type RingElement or NCRingElem.

We describe the functionality below for modules over commutative rings, i.e. with element type belonging to RingElement, however similar constructors should be available for element types belonging to NCRingElem instead, for free modules over a noncommutative ring.

Although not part of the module interface, implementations of modules that wish to follow our interface should use the same function names for submodules, quotient modules, direct sums and module homomorphisms if they wish to remain compatible with our module generics in the future.

Basic manipulation

iszero(m::MyModuleElem{T}) where T <: RingElement

Return true if the given module element is zero.

number_of_generators(M::MyModule{T}) where T <: RingElement

Return the number of generators of the module $M$ in its current representation.

gen(M::MyModule{T}, i::Int) where T <: RingElement

Return the $i$-th generator (indexed from $1$) of the module $M$.

gens(M::MyModule{T}) where T <: RingElement

Return a Julia array of the generators of the module $M$.

rels(M::MyModule{T}) where T <: RingElement

Return a Julia vector of all the relations between the generators of M. Each relation is given as an AbstractAlgebra row matrix.

Element constructors

We can construct elements of a module $M$ by specifying linear combinations of the generators of $M$. This is done by passing a vector of ring elements.

(M::Module{T})(v::Vector{T}) where T <: RingElement

Construct the element of the module $M$ corresponding to $\sum_i g[i]v[i]$ where $g[i]$ are the generators of the module $M$. The resulting element will lie in the module $M$.


Given a module $M$ and an element $n$ of a module $N$, it is possible to coerce $n$ into $M$ using the notation $M(n)$ in certain circumstances.

In particular the element $n$ will be automatically coerced along any canonical injection of a submodule map and along any canonical projection of a quotient map. There must be a path from $N$ to $M$ along such maps.

Arithmetic operators

Elements of a module can be added, subtracted or multiplied by an element of the ring the module is defined over and compared for equality.

In the case of a noncommutative ring, both left and right scalar multiplication are defined.