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In commutative algebra, a **regular local ring** is a Noetherian local ring having the property that the minimal number of generators of its maximal ideal is equal to its Krull dimension.^{[1]} In symbols, let *A* be a Noetherian local ring with maximal ideal m, and suppose *a*_{1}, ..., *a*_{n} is a minimal set of generators of m. Then by Krull's principal ideal theorem *n* ≥ dim *A*, and *A* is defined to be regular if *n* = dim *A*.

The appellation *regular* is justified by the geometric meaning. A point *x* on an algebraic variety *X* is nonsingular if and only if the local ring of germs at *x* is regular. (See also: regular scheme.) Regular local rings are *not* related to von Neumann regular rings.^{[a]}

For Noetherian local rings, there is the following chain of inclusions:

There are a number of useful definitions of a regular local ring, one of which is mentioned above. In particular, if is a Noetherian local ring with maximal ideal , then the following are equivalent definitions

- Let where is chosen as small as possible. Then is regular if

- ,

- where the dimension is the Krull dimension. The minimal set of generators of are then called a
*regular system of parameters*.

- Let be the residue field of . Then is regular if

- ,

- where the second dimension is the Krull dimension.

- Let be the global dimension of (i.e., the supremum of the projective dimensions of all -modules.) Then is regular if

- ,

- in which case, .

**Multiplicity one criterion** states:^{[2]} if the completion of a Noetherian local ring *A* is unimixed (in the sense that there is no embedded prime divisor of the zero ideal and for each minimal prime *p*, ) and if the multiplicity of *A* is one, then *A* is regular. (The converse is always true: the multiplicity of a regular local ring is one.) This criterion corresponds to a geometric intuition in algebraic geometry that a local ring of an intersection is regular if and only if the intersection is a transversal intersection.

In the positive characteristic case, there is the following important result due to Kunz: A Noetherian local ring of positive characteristic *p* is regular if and only if the Frobenius morphism is flat and is reduced. No similar result is known in the characteristic zero (just because how to replace Frobenius is unclear).

- Every field is a regular local ring. These have (Krull) dimension 0. In fact, the fields are exactly the regular local rings of dimension 0.
- Any discrete valuation ring is a regular local ring of dimension 1 and the regular local rings of dimension 1 are exactly the discrete valuation rings. Specifically, if
*k*is a field and*X*is an indeterminate, then the ring of formal power series*k*[[*X*]] is a regular local ring having (Krull) dimension 1. - If
*p*is an ordinary prime number, the ring of p-adic integers is an example of a discrete valuation ring, and consequently a regular local ring, which does not contain a field. - More generally, if
*k*is a field and*X*_{1},*X*_{2}, ...,*X*_{d}are indeterminates, then the ring of formal power series*k*[[*X*_{1},*X*_{2}, ...,*X*_{d}]] is a regular local ring having (Krull) dimension*d*. - If
*A*is a regular local ring, then it follows that the formal power series ring*A*[[*x*]] is regular local. - If
**Z**is the ring of integers and*X*is an indeterminate, the ring**Z**[*X*]_{(2, X)}(i.e. the ring**Z**[*X*] localised in the prime ideal (2,*X*) ) is an example of a 2-dimensional regular local ring which does not contain a field. - By the structure theorem of Irvin Cohen, a complete equicharacteristic regular local ring of Krull dimension
*d*and containing a field is a power series ring over a field.

The ring is not a regular local ring since it is finite dimensional but does not have finite global dimension. For example, there is an infinite resolution

- Using another one of the characterizations, has exactly one prime ideal , so the ring has Krull dimension , but is the zero ideal, so has dimension at least . (In fact it is equal to since is a basis.)

The Auslander–Buchsbaum theorem states that every regular local ring is a unique factorization domain.

Every localization of a regular local ring is regular.

The completion of a regular local ring is regular.

If is a complete regular local ring that contains a field, then

- ,

where is the residue field, and , the Krull dimension.

See also: Serre's inequality on height and Serre's multiplicity conjectures.

Regular local rings were originally defined by Wolfgang Krull in 1937,^{[3]} but they first became prominent in the work of Oscar Zariski a few years later,^{[4]}^{[5]} who showed that geometrically, a regular local ring corresponds to a smooth point on an algebraic variety. Let *Y* be an algebraic variety contained in affine *n*-space over a perfect field, and suppose that *Y* is the vanishing locus of the polynomials *f _{1}*,...,

Another property suggested by geometric intuition is that the localization of a regular local ring should again be regular. Again, this lay unsolved until the introduction of homological techniques. It was Jean-Pierre Serre who found a homological characterization of regular local rings: A local ring *A* is regular if and only if *A* has finite global dimension, i.e. if every *A*-module has a projective resolution of finite length. It is easy to show that the property of having finite global dimension is preserved under localization, and consequently that localizations of regular local rings at prime ideals are again regular.

This justifies the definition of *regularity* for non-local commutative rings given in the next section.

In commutative algebra, a **regular ring** is a commutative Noetherian ring, such that the localization at every prime ideal is a regular local ring: that is, every such localization has the property that the minimal number of generators of its maximal ideal is equal to its Krull dimension.

The origin of the term *regular ring* lies in the fact that an affine variety is nonsingular (that is every point is regular) if and only if its ring of regular functions is regular.

For regular rings, Krull dimension agrees with global homological dimension.

Jean-Pierre Serre defined a regular ring as a commutative noetherian ring of *finite* global homological dimension. His definition is stronger than the definition above, which allows regular rings of infinite Krull dimension.

Examples of regular rings include fields (of dimension zero) and Dedekind domains. If *A* is regular then so is *A*[*X*], with dimension one greater than that of *A*.

In particular if k is a field, the ring of integers, or a principal ideal domain, then the polynomial ring is regular. In the case of a field, this is Hilbert's syzygy theorem.

Any localization of a regular ring is regular as well.

A regular ring is reduced^{[b]} but need not be an integral domain. For example, the product of two regular integral domains is regular, but not an integral domain.^{[6]}

**^**Atiyah & Macdonald 1969, p. 123, Theorem 11.22.**^**Herrmann, M., S. Ikeda, and U. Orbanz: Equimultiplicity and Blowing Up. An Algebraic Study with an Appendix by B. Moonen. Springer Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg New-York, 1988. Theorem 6.8.**^**Krull, Wolfgang (1937), "Beiträge zur Arithmetik kommutativer Integritätsbereiche III",*Math. Z.*: 745–766, doi:10.1007/BF01160110**^**Zariski, Oscar (1940), "Algebraic varieties over ground fields of characteristic 0",*Amer. J. Math.*,**62**: 187–221, doi:10.2307/2371447**^**Zariski, Oscar (1947), "The concept of a simple point of an abstract algebraic variety",*Trans. Amer. Math. Soc.*,**62**: 1–52, doi:10.1090/s0002-9947-1947-0021694-1**^**Is a regular ring a domain

- Atiyah, Michael F.; Macdonald, Ian G. (1969),
*Introduction to Commutative Algebra*, Addison-Wesley, MR 0242802 - Kunz, Characterizations of regular local rings of characteristic p. Amer. J. Math. 91 (1969), 772–784.
- Tsit-Yuen Lam,
*Lectures on Modules and Rings*, Springer-Verlag, 1999, ISBN 978-1-4612-0525-8. Chap.5.G. - Jean-Pierre Serre,
*Local algebra*, Springer-Verlag, 2000, ISBN 3-540-66641-9. Chap.IV.D. - Regular rings at The Stacks Project