In mathematics, an **Azumaya algebra** is a generalization of central simple algebras to *R*-algebras where *R* need not be a field. Such a notion was introduced in a 1951 paper of Goro Azumaya, for the case where *R* is a commutative local ring. The notion was developed further in ring theory, and in algebraic geometry, where Alexander Grothendieck made it the basis for his geometric theory of the Brauer group in Bourbaki seminars from 1964-5. There are now several points of access to the basic definitions.

An Azumaya algebra over a commutative local ring *R* is an *R*-algebra *A* that is free and of finite rank *r* as an *R*-module, such that the tensor product (where *A*o is the opposite algebra) is isomorphic to the matrix algebra End_{R}(*A*) ≈ M_{r}(*R*) via the map sending to the endomorphism *x* → *axb* of *A*.

An Azumaya algebra on a scheme *X* with structure sheaf *O*_{X}, according to the original Grothendieck seminar, is a sheaf *A* of *O*_{X}-algebras that is étale locally isomorphic to a matrix algebra sheaf. Milne, *Étale Cohomology*, starts instead from the definition that it is a sheaf *A* of *O*_{X}-algebras whose stalk *A*_{x} at each point *x* is an Azumaya algebra over the local ring *O*_{X,x} in the sense given above. Two Azumaya algebras *A*_{1} and *A*_{2} are *equivalent* if there exist finite rank locally free sheaves *E*_{1} and *E*_{2} such that

where End(*E*_{i}) is the endomorphism sheaf of *E*_{i}. The Brauer group of *X* (an analogue of the Brauer group of a field) is the set of equivalence classes of Azumaya algebras. The group operation is given by tensor product, and the inverse is given by the opposite algebra.

There have been significant applications of Azumaya algebras in diophantine geometry, following work of Yuri Manin. The Manin obstruction to the Hasse principle is defined using the Brauer group of schemes.

### Famous quotes containing the word algebra:

“Poetry has become the higher *algebra* of metaphors.”

—José Ortega Y Gasset (1883–1955)