# Projection (linear algebra)

A simple example of a non-orthogonal (oblique) projection (for definition see below) is

The product of projections is not in general a projection, even if they are orthogonal. If two projections commute then their product is a projection, but the converse is false: the product of two non-commuting projections may be a projection .

If two orthogonal projections commute then their product is an orthogonal projection. If the product of two orthogonal projections is an orthogonal projection, then the two orthogonal projections commute (more generally: two self-adjoint endomorphisms commute if and only if their product is self-adjoint).

by the properties of the dot product of parallel and perpendicular vectors.

All these formulas also hold for complex inner product spaces, provided that the conjugate transpose is used instead of the transpose. Further details on sums of projectors can be found in Banerjee and Roy (2014).^{[9]} Also see Banerjee (2004)^{[10]} for application of sums of projectors in basic spherical trigonometry.

The term *oblique projections* is sometimes used to refer to non-orthogonal projections. These projections are also used to represent spatial figures in two-dimensional drawings (see oblique projection), though not as frequently as orthogonal projections. Whereas calculating the fitted value of an ordinary least squares regression requires an orthogonal projection, calculating the fitted value of an instrumental variables regression requires an oblique projection.

This expression generalizes the formula for orthogonal projections given above.^{[11]}^{[12]}

Projections (orthogonal and otherwise) play a major role in algorithms for certain linear algebra problems:

As stated above, projections are a special case of idempotents. Analytically, orthogonal projections are non-commutative generalizations of characteristic functions. Idempotents are used in classifying, for instance, semisimple algebras, while measure theory begins with considering characteristic functions of measurable sets. Therefore, as one can imagine, projections are very often encountered in the context of operator algebras. In particular, a von Neumann algebra is generated by its complete lattice of projections.