This is the first of series of lecture notes I intend to write for a graduate Functional Analysis course I am teaching in the Fall.

What is functional analysis? Functional analysis is an abstract branch of mathematics, especially of analysis, concerned with the study of vector spaces of functions. These vector spaces of functions arise naturally when we study linear differential equations as solutions of a linear differential equation form a vector space. Functional analytic methods and results are important in various fields of mathematics (for example, differential geometry, ergodic theory, integral geometry, noncommutative geometry, partial differential equations, probability, representation theory etc.) and its applications, in particular, in economics, finance, quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, and statistical physics. Topics in this introductory functional analysis course include metric spaces, Banach spaces, Hilbert spaces, bounded linear operators, the spectral theorem, and unbounded linear operators.

While functional analysis is a branch of analysis, due to its nature linear algebra is heavily used. So, it would be a good idea to brush up on linear algebra among other things you need to study functional analysis.

In functional analysis, we study analysis on an abstract space $X$ rather than the familiar $\mathbb{R}$ or $\mathbb{C}$. In order to consider fundamental notions in analysis such as limits and convergence, we need to have distance defined on $X$ so that we can speak of nearness or closeness. A distance on $X$ can be defined as a function, called a *distance function* or a *metric*, $d: X\times X\longrightarrow\mathbb{R}^+\cup\{0\}$ satisfying the following properties:

(M1) $d(x,y)=0$ if and only if $x=y$.

(M2) $d(x,y)=d(y,x)$ (Symmetry)

(M3) $d(x,y)\leq d(x,z)+d(z,y)$ (Triangle Inequality)

Here $\mathbb{R}^+$ denotes the set of all positive real numbers. You can easily see how mathematicians came up with this definition of a metric. (M1)-(M3) are the properties that the familiar distance on $\mathbb{R}$, $d(x,y)=|x-y|$ satisfies. The space $X$ with a metric $d$ is called a *metric space* and we usually write it as $(X,d)$.

*Example*. Let $x=(\xi_1,\cdots,\xi_n), y=(\eta_1,\cdots,\eta_n)\in\mathbb{R}^n$. Define

$$d(x,y)=\sqrt{(\xi_1-\eta_1)^2+\cdots+(\xi_n-\eta_n)^2}.$$

Then $d$ is a metric on $\mathbb{R}^n$ called the *Euclidean metric*.

This time, let $x=(\xi_1,\cdots,\xi_n), y=(\eta_1,\cdots,\eta_n)\in\mathbb{C}^n$ and define

$$d(x,y)=\sqrt{|\xi_1-\eta_1|^2+\cdots+|\xi_n-\eta_n|^2}.$$

Then $d$ is a metric on $\mathbb{C}^n$ called the *Hermitian metric*. Here $|\xi_i-\eta_i|^2=(\xi_i-\eta_i)\overline{(\xi_i-\eta_i)}$.

Of course these are pretty familiar examples. If there can be only these familiar examples, there would be no point of considering abstract space. In fact, the abstraction allows to discover other examples of metrics that are not so intuitive.

*Example*. Let $X$ be the set of all bounded sequences of complex numbers

$$X=\{(\xi_j): \xi_j\in\mathbb{C},\ j=1,\cdots\}.$$

For $x=(\xi_j), y=(\eta_j)\in X$, define

$$d(x,y)=\sup_{j\in\mathbb{N}}|\xi_j-\eta_j|.$$

Then $d$ is a metric on $X$. The metric space $(X,d)$ is denoted by $\ell^\infty$.

*Example*. Let $X$ be the set of continuous real-valued functions define on the closed interval $[a,b]$. Let $x, y:[a,b]\longrightarrow\mathbb{R}$ be continuous and define

$$d(x,y)=\max_{t\in [a,b]}|x(t)-y(t)|.$$

Then $d$ is a metric on $X$. The metric space $(X.d)$ is denoted by $\mathcal{C}[a,b]$.

In a metric space $(X,d)$, nearness or closeness can be described by a neighbourhood called an $\epsilon$*-ball (*$\epsilon>0$*) centered at *$x\in X$

$$B(x,\epsilon)=\{y\in X: d(x,y)<\epsilon\}.$$

These $\epsilon$-balls form a *base* for the *topology* on $X$, called the *topology on $X$ induced by the metric $d$*.

Next time, we will discuss two more examples of metric spaces $\ell^p$ and $L^p$. These examples are particularly important in functional analysis as they become *Banach spaces*. In particular, they become *Hilbert spaces* when $p=2$.