## Propublica’s IBM age discrimination investigation

March 22, 2018 Incoherent ramblings No comments , , , , ,

Not too long after I quit IBM for LzLabs in 2016, I was sent a copy of Pro-publica’s survey about age discrimination based firing and forced retirement at IBM. It appears that this survey was just the start of a very long investigation, and they’ve now published their story.

I wasn’t forced out of IBM, and am only ~45 years old, but at the time I had close to 20 years at IBM (including my student internship), and could see the writing on the wall. Technically skilled people with experience were expendable, and being fired or retired with gusto. To me it looked like 25 years at IBM was the firing threshold, unless you took the management path or did a lot of high visibility customer facing work.

IBM’s treatment of employees in the years leading up to when I quit was a major part of my decision to leave. I considered my position at IBM vulnerable for a number of reasons. One was my part time status (80% pay and hours), as I’d been slowly studying physics at UofT with a plan of a future science based job change. Another was that I was a work in the trenches kind of person that did not have the high visibility that looked like it was required for job security in the new IBM where the quarterly firing had gotten so pervasive that you could trip on the shrapnel.

Even after two years I still use “we” talking about my time as an IBMer working on DB2 LUW, as I worked with people that were awesome (some of which I still work with at LzLabs.) Despite now competing with IBM, I hope they stop shooting themselves in the gut by disposing of their skilled employees, and by treating people as rows in resource spreadsheets. It is hard to imagine that this will end well, and it’s too easy to visualize an IBM headstone sharing a plot with HP and Sun.

When I was recruited for LzLabs, my options seemed like continue working for IBM for <= 5 more years before I too got the ax, or to ride into the wild west working as a contractor for a company that was technically still a “startup”. Many startups don’t make it 5 years before folding, so even in the worst case it looked like no bigger risk than IBM, but I thought I was going to have a lot of fun on the ride. LzLabs was just coming out of stealth mode when I was interviewed, but had an astounding ~100 people working at that point! Salaries add up, so it was clear to me that LzLabs was not really a startup in the conventional sense of the word.

It is amusing to read the Pro-publica article now, as most of LzLabs employees are probably over 65. At 45 I’ve been singled out in staff meetings as the “young guy”. Many of the LzLabs employees are technically scary, and know the mainframe cold. I once wrote a simple PowerPC disassembler, but that’s a different game than “disassembling” 390 hex listings by chunking it into various fixed size blocks hex sequences in an editor so it can be “read” by eye!

In less than one month I’ll have been working for LzLabs for 2 years, about six months of which was a contractor before LzLabs Canada was incorporated. Two years ago, if you had mentioned JCL, LE, PL/I, COBOL, QSAM or VSAM (to name a few) to me, I’d have known that seeing COBOL is a good reason to get to an eye wash station pronto (it still is), but would not have even recognized the rest. It’s been fun learning along the way, and I continually impress myself with the parts that I’ve been adding to the LzLabs puzzle. Our technology is amazing and I think that we are going to really kick some butt in the marketplace.

## Potential solutions to the static Maxwell’s equation using geometric algebra

When neither the electromagnetic field strength $$F = \BE + I \eta \BH$$, nor current $$J = \eta (c \rho – \BJ) + I(c\rho_m – \BM)$$ is a function of time, then the geometric algebra form of Maxwell’s equations is the first order multivector (gradient) equation
\label{eqn:staticPotentials:20}

While direct solutions to this equations are possible with the multivector Green’s function for the gradient
\label{eqn:staticPotentials:40}
G(\Bx, \Bx’) = \inv{4\pi} \frac{\Bx – \Bx’}{\Norm{\Bx – \Bx’}^3 },

the aim in this post is to explore second order (potential) solutions in a geometric algebra context. Can we assume that it is possible to find a multivector potential $$A$$ for which
\label{eqn:staticPotentials:60}

is a solution to the Maxwell statics equation? If such a solution exists, then Maxwell’s equation is simply
\label{eqn:staticPotentials:80}

which can be easily solved using the scalar Green’s function for the Laplacian
\label{eqn:staticPotentials:240}
G(\Bx, \Bx’) = -\inv{\Norm{\Bx – \Bx’} },

a beastie that may be easier to convolve than the vector valued Green’s function for the gradient.

It is immediately clear that some restrictions must be imposed on the multivector potential $$A$$. In particular, since the field $$F$$ has only vector and bivector grades, this gradient must have no scalar, nor pseudoscalar grades. That is
\label{eqn:staticPotentials:100}

This constraint on the potential can be avoided if a grade selection operation is built directly into the assumed potential solution, requiring that the field is given by
\label{eqn:staticPotentials:120}

However, after imposing such a constraint, Maxwell’s equation has a much less friendly form
\label{eqn:staticPotentials:140}

Luckily, it is possible to introduce a transformation of potentials, called a gauge transformation, that eliminates the ugly grade selection term, and allows the potential equation to be expressed as a plain old Laplacian. We do so by assuming first that it is possible to find a solution of the Laplacian equation that has the desired grade restrictions. That is
\label{eqn:staticPotentials:160}
\begin{aligned}
\end{aligned}

for which $$F = \spacegrad A’$$ is a grade 1,2 solution to $$\spacegrad F = J$$. Suppose that $$A$$ is any formal solution, free of any grade restrictions, to $$\spacegrad^2 A = J$$, and $$F = \gpgrade{\spacegrad A}{1,2}$$. Can we find a function $$\tilde{A}$$ for which $$A = A’ + \tilde{A}$$?

Maxwell’s equation in terms of $$A$$ is
\label{eqn:staticPotentials:180}
\begin{aligned}
J
\end{aligned}

or
\label{eqn:staticPotentials:200}

This non-homogeneous Laplacian equation that can be solved as is for $$\tilde{A}$$ using the Green’s function for the Laplacian. Alternatively, we may also solve the equivalent first order system using the Green’s function for the gradient.
\label{eqn:staticPotentials:220}

Clearly $$\tilde{A}$$ is not unique, as we can add any function $$\psi$$ satisfying the homogeneous Laplacian equation $$\spacegrad^2 \psi = 0$$.

In summary, if $$A$$ is any multivector solution to $$\spacegrad^2 A = J$$, that is
\label{eqn:staticPotentials:260}
A(\Bx)
= \int dV’ G(\Bx, \Bx’) J(\Bx’)
= -\int dV’ \frac{J(\Bx’)}{\Norm{\Bx – \Bx’} },

then $$F = \spacegrad A’$$ is a solution to Maxwell’s equation, where $$A’ = A – \tilde{A}$$, and $$\tilde{A}$$ is a solution to the non-homogeneous Laplacian equation or the non-homogeneous gradient equation above.

### Integral form of the gauge transformation.

Additional insight is possible by considering the gauge transformation in integral form. Suppose that
\label{eqn:staticPotentials:280}
A(\Bx) = -\int_V dV’ \frac{J(\Bx’)}{\Norm{\Bx – \Bx’} } – \tilde{A}(\Bx),

is a solution of $$\spacegrad^2 A = J$$, where $$\tilde{A}$$ is a multivector solution to the homogeneous Laplacian equation $$\spacegrad^2 \tilde{A} = 0$$. Let’s look at the constraints on $$\tilde{A}$$ that must be imposed for $$F = \spacegrad A$$ to be a valid (i.e. grade 1,2) solution of Maxwell’s equation.
\label{eqn:staticPotentials:300}
\begin{aligned}
F
&=
-\int_V dV’ \lr{ \spacegrad \inv{\Norm{\Bx – \Bx’} } } J(\Bx’)
&=
\int_V dV’ \lr{ \spacegrad’ \inv{\Norm{\Bx – \Bx’} } } J(\Bx’)
&=
\int_V dV’ \spacegrad’ \frac{J(\Bx’)}{\Norm{\Bx – \Bx’} } – \int_V dV’ \frac{\spacegrad’ J(\Bx’)}{\Norm{\Bx – \Bx’} }
&=
\int_{\partial V} dA’ \ncap’ \frac{J(\Bx’)}{\Norm{\Bx – \Bx’} } – \int_V \frac{\spacegrad’ J(\Bx’)}{\Norm{\Bx – \Bx’} }
\end{aligned}

Where $$\ncap’ = (\Bx’ – \Bx)/\Norm{\Bx’ – \Bx}$$, and the fundamental theorem of geometric calculus has been used to transform the gradient volume integral into an integral over the bounding surface. Operating on Maxwell’s equation with the gradient gives $$\spacegrad^2 F = \spacegrad J$$, which has only grades 1,2 on the left hand side, meaning that $$J$$ is constrained in a way that requires $$\spacegrad J$$ to have only grades 1,2. This means that $$F$$ has grades 1,2 if
\label{eqn:staticPotentials:320}
= \int_{\partial V} dA’ \frac{ \gpgrade{\ncap’ J(\Bx’)}{0,3} }{\Norm{\Bx – \Bx’} }.

The product $$\ncap J$$ expands to
\label{eqn:staticPotentials:340}
\begin{aligned}
\ncap J
&=
&=
\ncap \cdot (-\eta \BJ) + \gpgradethree{\ncap (-I \BM)} \\
&=- \eta \ncap \cdot \BJ -I \ncap \cdot \BM,
\end{aligned}

so
\label{eqn:staticPotentials:360}
=
-\int_{\partial V} dA’ \frac{ \eta \ncap’ \cdot \BJ(\Bx’) + I \ncap’ \cdot \BM(\Bx’)}{\Norm{\Bx – \Bx’} }.

Observe that if there is no flux of current density $$\BJ$$ and (fictitious) magnetic current density $$\BM$$ through the surface, then $$F = \spacegrad A$$ is a solution to Maxwell’s equation without any gauge transformation. Alternatively $$F = \spacegrad A$$ is also a solution if $$\lim_{\Bx’ \rightarrow \infty} \BJ(\Bx’)/\Norm{\Bx – \Bx’} = \lim_{\Bx’ \rightarrow \infty} \BM(\Bx’)/\Norm{\Bx – \Bx’} = 0$$ and the bounding volume is taken to infinity.

# References

## Generalizing Ampere’s law using geometric algebra.

The question I’d like to explore in this post is how Ampere’s law, the relationship between the line integral of the magnetic field to current (i.e. the enclosed current)
\label{eqn:flux:20}
\oint_{\partial A} d\Bx \cdot \BH = -\int_A \ncap \cdot \BJ,

generalizes to geometric algebra where Maxwell’s equations for a statics configuration (all time derivatives zero) is
\label{eqn:flux:40}

where the multivector fields and currents are
\label{eqn:flux:60}
\begin{aligned}
F &= \BE + I \eta \BH \\
J &= \eta \lr{ c \rho – \BJ } + I \lr{ c \rho_\txtm – \BM }.
\end{aligned}

Here (fictitious) the magnetic charge and current densities that can be useful in antenna theory have been included in the multivector current for generality.

My presumption is that it should be possible to utilize the fundamental theorem of geometric calculus for expressing the integral over an oriented surface to its boundary, but applied directly to Maxwell’s equation. That integral theorem has the form
\label{eqn:flux:80}
\int_A d^2 \Bx \boldpartial F = \oint_{\partial A} d\Bx F,

where $$d^2 \Bx = d\Ba \wedge d\Bb$$ is a two parameter bivector valued surface, and $$\boldpartial$$ is vector derivative, the projection of the gradient onto the tangent space. I won’t try to explain all of geometric calculus here, and refer the interested reader to [1], which is an excellent reference on geometric calculus and integration theory.

The gotcha is that we actually want a surface integral with $$\spacegrad F$$. We can split the gradient into the vector derivative a normal component
\label{eqn:flux:160}

so
\label{eqn:flux:100}
=
\int_A d^2 \Bx \boldpartial F
+
\int_A d^2 \Bx \ncap \lr{ \ncap \cdot \spacegrad } F,

so
\label{eqn:flux:120}
\begin{aligned}
\oint_{\partial A} d\Bx F
&=
\int_A d^2 \Bx \lr{ J – \ncap \lr{ \ncap \cdot \spacegrad } F } \\
&=
\int_A dA \lr{ I \ncap J – \lr{ \ncap \cdot \spacegrad } I F }
\end{aligned}

This is not nearly as nice as the magnetic flux relationship which was nicely split with the current and fields nicely separated. The $$d\Bx F$$ product has all possible grades, as does the $$d^2 \Bx J$$ product (in general). Observe however, that the normal term on the right has only grades 1,2, so we can split our line integral relations into pairs with and without grade 1,2 components
\label{eqn:flux:140}
\begin{aligned}
&=
\int_A dA \gpgrade{ I \ncap J }{0,3} \\
&=
\int_A dA \lr{ \gpgrade{ I \ncap J }{1,2} – \lr{ \ncap \cdot \spacegrad } I F }.
\end{aligned}

Let’s expand these explicitly in terms of the component fields and densities to check against the conventional relationships, and see if things look right. The line integrand expands to
\label{eqn:flux:180}
\begin{aligned}
d\Bx F
&=
d\Bx \lr{ \BE + I \eta \BH }
=
d\Bx \cdot \BE + I \eta d\Bx \cdot \BH
+
d\Bx \wedge \BE + I \eta d\Bx \wedge \BH \\
&=
d\Bx \cdot \BE
– \eta (d\Bx \cross \BH)
+ I (d\Bx \cross \BE )
+ I \eta (d\Bx \cdot \BH),
\end{aligned}

the current integrand expands to
\label{eqn:flux:200}
\begin{aligned}
I \ncap J
&=
I \ncap
\lr{
\frac{\rho}{\epsilon} – \eta \BJ + I \lr{ c \rho_\txtm – \BM }
} \\
&=
\ncap I \frac{\rho}{\epsilon} – \eta \ncap I \BJ – \ncap c \rho_\txtm + \ncap \BM \\
&=
\ncap \cdot \BM
+ \eta (\ncap \cross \BJ)
– \ncap c \rho_\txtm
+ I (\ncap \cross \BM)
+ \ncap I \frac{\rho}{\epsilon}
– \eta I (\ncap \cdot \BJ).
\end{aligned}

We are left with
\label{eqn:flux:220}
\begin{aligned}
\oint_{\partial A}
\lr{
d\Bx \cdot \BE + I \eta (d\Bx \cdot \BH)
}
&=
\int_A dA
\lr{
\ncap \cdot \BM – \eta I (\ncap \cdot \BJ)
} \\
\oint_{\partial A}
\lr{
– \eta (d\Bx \cross \BH)
+ I (d\Bx \cross \BE )
}
&=
\int_A dA
\lr{
\eta (\ncap \cross \BJ)
– \ncap c \rho_\txtm
+ I (\ncap \cross \BM)
+ \ncap I \frac{\rho}{\epsilon}
-\PD{n}{} \lr{ I \BE – \eta \BH }
}.
\end{aligned}

This is a crazy mess of dots, crosses, fields and sources. We can split it into one equation for each grade, which will probably look a little more regular. That is
\label{eqn:flux:240}
\begin{aligned}
\oint_{\partial A} d\Bx \cdot \BE &= \int_A dA \ncap \cdot \BM \\
\oint_{\partial A} d\Bx \cross \BH
&=
\int_A dA
\lr{
– \ncap \cross \BJ
+ \frac{ \ncap \rho_\txtm }{\mu}
– \PD{n}{\BH}
} \\
\oint_{\partial A} d\Bx \cross \BE &=
\int_A dA
\lr{
\ncap \cross \BM
+ \frac{\ncap \rho}{\epsilon}
– \PD{n}{\BE}
} \\
\oint_{\partial A} d\Bx \cdot \BH &= -\int_A dA \ncap \cdot \BJ \\
\end{aligned}

The first and last equations could have been obtained much more easily from Maxwell’s equations in their conventional form more easily. The two cross product equations with the normal derivatives are not familiar to me, even without the fictitious magnetic sources. It is somewhat remarkable that so much can be packed into one multivector equation:
\label{eqn:flux:260}
\oint_{\partial A} d\Bx F
=
I \int_A dA \lr{ \ncap J – \PD{n}{F} }.

# References

[1] A. Macdonald. Vector and Geometric Calculus. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012.

## Solving Maxwell’s equation in freespace: Multivector plane wave representation

The geometric algebra form of Maxwell’s equations in free space (or source free isotopic media with group velocity $$c$$) is the multivector equation
\label{eqn:planewavesMultivector:20}
\lr{ \spacegrad + \inv{c}\PD{t}{} } F(\Bx, t) = 0.

Here $$F = \BE + I c \BB$$ is a multivector with grades 1 and 2 (vector and bivector components). The velocity $$c$$ is called the group velocity since $$F$$, or its components $$\BE, \BH$$ satisfy the wave equation, which can be seen by pre-multiplying with $$\spacegrad – (1/c)\PDi{t}{}$$ to find
\label{eqn:planewavesMultivector:n}
\lr{ \spacegrad^2 – \inv{c^2}\PDSq{t}{} } F(\Bx, t) = 0.

Let’s look at the frequency domain solution of this equation with a presumed phasor representation
\label{eqn:planewavesMultivector:40}
F(\Bx, t) = \textrm{Re} \lr{ F(\Bk) e^{-j \Bk \cdot \Bx + j \omega t} },

where $$j$$ is a scalar imaginary, not necessarily with any geometric interpretation.

Maxwell’s equation reduces to just
\label{eqn:planewavesMultivector:60}
0
=
-j \lr{ \Bk – \frac{\omega}{c} } F(\Bk).

If $$F(\Bk)$$ has a left multivector factor
\label{eqn:planewavesMultivector:80}
F(\Bk) =
\lr{ \Bk + \frac{\omega}{c} } \tilde{F},

where $$\tilde{F}$$ is a multivector to be determined, then
\label{eqn:planewavesMultivector:100}
\begin{aligned}
\lr{ \Bk – \frac{\omega}{c} }
F(\Bk)
&=
\lr{ \Bk – \frac{\omega}{c} }
\lr{ \Bk + \frac{\omega}{c} } \tilde{F} \\
&=
\lr{ \Bk^2 – \lr{\frac{\omega}{c}}^2 } \tilde{F},
\end{aligned}

which is zero if $$\Norm{\Bk} = \ifrac{\omega}{c}$$.

Let $$\kcap = \ifrac{\Bk}{\Norm{\Bk}}$$, and $$\Norm{\Bk} \tilde{F} = F_0 + F_1 + F_2 + F_3$$, where $$F_0, F_1, F_2,$$ and $$F_3$$ are respectively have grades 0,1,2,3. Then
\label{eqn:planewavesMultivector:120}
\begin{aligned}
F(\Bk)
&= \lr{ 1 + \kcap } \lr{ F_0 + F_1 + F_2 + F_3 } \\
&=
F_0 + F_1 + F_2 + F_3
+
\kcap F_0 + \kcap F_1 + \kcap F_2 + \kcap F_3 \\
&=
F_0 + F_1 + F_2 + F_3
+
\kcap F_0 + \kcap \cdot F_1 + \kcap \cdot F_2 + \kcap \cdot F_3
+
\kcap \wedge F_1 + \kcap \wedge F_2 \\
&=
\lr{
F_0 + \kcap \cdot F_1
}
+
\lr{
F_1 + \kcap F_0 + \kcap \cdot F_2
}
+
\lr{
F_2 + \kcap \cdot F_3 + \kcap \wedge F_1
}
+
\lr{
F_3 + \kcap \wedge F_2
}.
\end{aligned}

Since the field $$F$$ has only vector and bivector grades, the grades zero and three components of the expansion above must be zero, or
\label{eqn:planewavesMultivector:140}
\begin{aligned}
F_0 &= – \kcap \cdot F_1 \\
F_3 &= – \kcap \wedge F_2,
\end{aligned}

so
\label{eqn:planewavesMultivector:160}
\begin{aligned}
F(\Bk)
&=
\lr{ 1 + \kcap } \lr{
F_1 – \kcap \cdot F_1 +
F_2 – \kcap \wedge F_2
} \\
&=
\lr{ 1 + \kcap } \lr{
F_1 – \kcap F_1 + \kcap \wedge F_1 +
F_2 – \kcap F_2 + \kcap \cdot F_2
}.
\end{aligned}

The multivector $$1 + \kcap$$ has the projective property of gobbling any leading factors of $$\kcap$$
\label{eqn:planewavesMultivector:180}
\begin{aligned}
(1 + \kcap)\kcap
&= \kcap + 1 \\
&= 1 + \kcap,
\end{aligned}

so for $$F_i \in F_1, F_2$$
\label{eqn:planewavesMultivector:200}
(1 + \kcap) ( F_i – \kcap F_i )
=
(1 + \kcap) ( F_i – F_i )
= 0,

leaving
\label{eqn:planewavesMultivector:220}
F(\Bk)
=
\lr{ 1 + \kcap } \lr{
\kcap \cdot F_2 +
\kcap \wedge F_1
}.

For $$\kcap \cdot F_2$$ to be non-zero $$F_2$$ must be a bivector that lies in a plane containing $$\kcap$$, and $$\kcap \cdot F_2$$ is a vector in that plane that is perpendicular to $$\kcap$$. On the other hand $$\kcap \wedge F_1$$ is non-zero only if $$F_1$$ has a non-zero component that does not lie in along the $$\kcap$$ direction, but $$\kcap \wedge F_1$$, like $$F_2$$ describes a plane that containing $$\kcap$$. This means that having both bivector and vector free variables $$F_2$$ and $$F_1$$ provide more degrees of freedom than required. For example, if $$\BE$$ is any vector, and $$F_2 = \kcap \wedge \BE$$, then
\label{eqn:planewavesMultivector:240}
\begin{aligned}
\lr{ 1 + \kcap }
\kcap \cdot F_2
&=
\lr{ 1 + \kcap }
\kcap \cdot \lr{ \kcap \wedge \BE } \\
&=
\lr{ 1 + \kcap }
\lr{
\BE

\kcap \lr{ \kcap \cdot \BE }
} \\
&=
\lr{ 1 + \kcap }
\kcap \lr{ \kcap \wedge \BE } \\
&=
\lr{ 1 + \kcap }
\kcap \wedge \BE,
\end{aligned}

which has the form $$\lr{ 1 + \kcap } \lr{ \kcap \wedge F_1 }$$, so the solution of the free space Maxwell’s equation can be written
\label{eqn:planewavesMultivector:260}
\boxed{
F(\Bx, t)
=
\textrm{Re} \lr{
\lr{ 1 + \kcap }
\BE\,
e^{-j \Bk \cdot \Bx + j \omega t}
}
,
}

where $$\BE$$ is any vector for which $$\BE \cdot \Bk = 0$$.

## The many faces of Maxwell’s equations

[Click here for a PDF of this post with nicer formatting (including equation numbering and references)]

The following is a possible introduction for a report for a UofT ECE2500 project associated with writing a small book: “Geometric Algebra for Electrical Engineers”. Given the space constraints for the report I may have to drop much of this, but some of the history of Maxwell’s equations may be of interest, so I thought I’d share before the knife hits the latex.

## Goals of the project.

This project had a few goals

1. Perform a literature review of applications of geometric algebra to the study of electromagnetism. Geometric algebra will be defined precisely later, along with bivector, trivector, multivector and other geometric algebra generalizations of the vector.
2. Identify the subset of the literature that had direct relevance to electrical engineering.
3. Create a complete, and as compact as possible, introduction of the prerequisites required
geometric algebra to problems in electromagnetism.

## The many faces of electromagnetism.

There is a long history of attempts to find more elegant, compact and powerful ways of encoding and working with Maxwell’s equations.

### Maxwell’s formulation.

Maxwell [12] employs some differential operators, including the gradient $$\spacegrad$$ and Laplacian $$\spacegrad^2$$, but the divergence and gradient are always written out in full using coordinates, usually in integral form. Reading the original Treatise highlights how important notation can be, as most modern engineering or physics practitioners would find his original work incomprehensible. A nice translation from Maxwell’s notation to the modern Heaviside-Gibbs notation can be found in [16].

### Quaterion representation.

In his second volume [11] the equations of electromagnetism are stated using quaterions (an extension of complex numbers to three dimensions), but quaternions are not used in the work. The modern form of Maxwell’s equations in quaternion form is
\label{eqn:ece2500report:220}
\begin{aligned}
\inv{2} \antisymmetric{ \frac{d}{dr} }{ \BH } – \inv{2} \symmetric{ \frac{d}{dr} } { c \BD } &= c \rho + \BJ \\
\inv{2} \antisymmetric{ \frac{d}{dr} }{ \BE } + \inv{2} \symmetric{ \frac{d}{dr} }{ c \BB } &= 0,
\end{aligned}

where $$\ifrac{d}{dr} = (1/c) \PDi{t}{} + \Bi \PDi{x}{} + \Bj \PDi{y}{} + \Bk \PDi{z}{}$$ [7] acts bidirectionally, and vectors are expressed in terms of the quaternion basis $$\setlr{ \Bi, \Bj, \Bk }$$, subject to the relations $$\Bi^2 = \Bj^2 = \Bk^2 = -1, \quad \Bi \Bj = \Bk = -\Bj \Bi, \quad \Bj \Bk = \Bi = -\Bk \Bj, \quad \Bk \Bi = \Bj = -\Bi \Bk$$.
There is clearly more structure to these equations than the traditional Heaviside-Gibbs representation that we are used to, which says something for the quaternion model. However, this structure requires notation that is arguably non-intuitive. The fact that the quaterion representation was abandoned long ago by most electromagnetism researchers and engineers supports such an argument.

### Minkowski tensor representation.

Minkowski introduced the concept of a complex time coordinate $$x_4 = i c t$$ for special relativity [3]. Such a four-vector representation can be used for many of the relativistic four-vector pairs of electromagnetism, such as the current $$(c\rho, \BJ)$$, and the energy-momentum Lorentz force relations, and can also be applied to Maxwell’s equations
\label{eqn:ece2500report:140}
\sum_{\mu= 1}^4 \PD{x_\mu}{F_{\mu\nu}} = – 4 \pi j_\nu.
\sum_{\lambda\rho\mu=1}^4
\epsilon_{\mu\nu\lambda\rho}
\PD{x_\mu}{F_{\lambda\rho}} = 0,

where
\label{eqn:ece2500report:160}
F
=
\begin{bmatrix}
0 & B_z & -B_y & -i E_x \\
-B_z & 0 & B_x & -i E_y \\
B_y & -B_x & 0 & -i E_z \\
i E_x & i E_y & i E_z & 0
\end{bmatrix}.

A rank-2 complex (Hermitian) tensor contains all six of the field components. Transformation of coordinates for this representation of the field may be performed exactly like the transformation for any other four-vector. This formalism is described nicely in [13], where the structure used is motivated by transformational requirements. One of the costs of this tensor representation is that we loose the clear separation of the electric and magnetic fields that we are so comfortable with. Another cost is that we loose the distinction between space and time, as separate space and time coordinates have to be projected out of a larger four vector. Both of these costs have theoretical benefits in some applications, particularly for high energy problems where relativity is important, but for the low velocity problems near and dear to electrical engineers who can freely treat space and time independently, the advantages are not clear.

### Modern tensor formalism.

The Minkowski representation fell out of favour in theoretical physics, which settled on a real tensor representation that utilizes an explicit metric tensor $$g_{\mu\nu} = \pm \textrm{diag}(1, -1, -1, -1)$$ to represent the complex inner products of special relativity. In this tensor formalism, Maxwell’s equations are also reduced to a set of two tensor relationships ([10], [8], [5]).
\label{eqn:ece2500report:40}
\begin{aligned}
\partial_\mu F^{\mu \nu} &= \mu_0 J^\nu \\
\epsilon^{\alpha \beta \mu \nu} \partial_\beta F_{\mu \nu} &= 0,
\end{aligned}

where $$F^{\mu\nu}$$ is a \textit{real} rank-2 antisymmetric tensor that contains all six electric and magnetic field components, and $$J^\nu$$ is a four-vector current containing both charge density and current density components. \Cref{eqn:ece2500report:40} provides a unified and simpler theoretical framework for electromagnetism, and is used extensively in physics but not engineering.

### Differential forms.

It has been argued that a differential forms treatment of electromagnetism provides some of the same theoretical advantages as the tensor formalism, without the disadvantages of introducing a hellish mess of index manipulation into the mix. With differential forms it is also possible to express Maxwell’s equations as two equations. The free-space differential forms equivalent [4] to the tensor equations is
\label{eqn:ece2500report:60}
\begin{aligned}
d \alpha &= 0 \\
d *\alpha &= 0,
\end{aligned}

where
\label{eqn:ece2500report:180}
\alpha = \lr{ E_1 dx^1 + E_2 dx^2 + E_3 dx^3 }(c dt) + H_1 dx^2 dx^3 + H_2 dx^3 dx^1 + H_3 dx^1 dx^2.

One of the advantages of this representation is that it is valid even for curvilinear coordinate representations, which are handled naturally in differential forms. However, this formalism also comes with a number of costs. One cost (or benefit), like that of the tensor formalism, is that this is implicitly a relativistic approach subject to non-Euclidean orthonormality conditions $$(dx^i, dx^j) = \delta^{ij}, (dx^i, c dt) = 0, (c dt, c dt) = -1$$. Most grievous of the costs is the requirement to use differentials $$dx^1, dx^2, dx^3, c dt$$, instead of a more familar set of basis vectors, even for non-curvilinear coordinates. This requirement is easily viewed as unnatural, and likely one of the reasons that electromagnetism with differential forms has never become popular.

### Vector formalism.

Euclidean vector algebra, in particular the vector algebra and calculus of $$R^3$$, is the de-facto language of electrical engineering for electromagnetism. Maxwell’s equations in the Heaviside-Gibbs vector formalism are
\label{eqn:ece2500report:20}
\begin{aligned}
\spacegrad \cross \BE &= – \PD{t}{\BB} \\
\spacegrad \cross \BH &= \BJ + \PD{t}{\BD} \\
\spacegrad \cdot \BD &= \rho \\
\end{aligned}

We are all intimately familiar with these equations, with the dot and the cross products, and with gradient, divergence and curl operations that are used to express them.
Given how comfortable we are with this mathematical formalism, there has to be a really good reason to switch to something else.

### Space time algebra (geometric algebra).

An alternative to any of the electrodynamics formalisms described above is STA, the Space Time Algebra. STA is a relativistic geometric algebra that allows Maxwell’s equations to be combined into one equation ([2], [6])
\label{eqn:ece2500report:80}

where
\label{eqn:ece2500report:200}
F = \BE + I c \BB \qquad (= \BE + I \eta \BH)

is a bivector field containing both the electric and magnetic field “vectors”, $$\grad = \gamma^\mu \partial_\mu$$ is the spacetime gradient, $$J$$ is a four vector containing electric charge and current components, and $$I = \gamma_0 \gamma_1 \gamma_2 \gamma_3$$ is the spacetime pseudoscalar, the ordered product of the basis vectors $$\setlr{ \gamma_\mu }$$. The STA representation is explicitly relativistic with a non-Euclidean relationships between the basis vectors $$\gamma_0 \cdot \gamma_0 = 1 = -\gamma_k \cdot \gamma_k, \forall k > 0$$. In this formalism “spatial” vectors $$\Bx = \sum_{k>0} \gamma_k \gamma_0 x^k$$ are represented as spacetime bivectors, requiring a small slight of hand when switching between STA notation and conventional vector representation. Uncoincidentally $$F$$ has exactly the same structure as the 2-form $$\alpha$$ above, provided the differential 1-forms $$dx^\mu$$ are replaced by the basis vectors $$\gamma_\mu$$. However, there is a simple complex structure inherent in the STA form that is not obvious in the 2-form equivalent. The bivector representation of the field $$F$$ directly encodes the antisymmetric nature of $$F^{\mu\nu}$$ from the tensor formalism, and the tensor equivalents of most STA results can be calcualted easily.

Having a single PDE for all of Maxwell’s equations allows for direct Green’s function solution of the field, and has a number of other advantages. There is extensive literature exploring selected applications of STA to electrodynamics. Many theoretical results have been derived using this formalism that require significantly more complex approaches using conventional vector or tensor analysis. Unfortunately, much of the STA literature is inaccessible to the engineering student, practising engineers, or engineering instructors. To even start reading the literature, one must learn geometric algebra, aspects of special relativity and non-Euclidean geometry, generalized integration theory, and even some tensor analysis.

### Paravector formalism (geometric algebra).

In the geometric algebra literature, there are a few authors who have endorsed the use of Euclidean geometric algebras for relativistic applications ([1], [14])
These authors use an Euclidean basis “vector” $$\Be_0 = 1$$ for the timelike direction, along with a standard Euclidean basis $$\setlr{ \Be_i }$$ for the spatial directions. A hybrid scalar plus vector representation of four vectors, called paravectors is employed. Maxwell’s equation is written as a multivector equation
\label{eqn:ece2500report:120}
\lr{ \spacegrad + \inv{c} \PD{t}{} } F = J,

where $$J$$ is a multivector source containing both the electric charge and currents, and $$c$$ is the group velocity for the medium (assumed uniform and isometric). $$J$$ may optionally include the (fictitious) magnetic charge and currents useful in antenna theory. The paravector formalism uses a the hybrid electromagnetic field representation of STA above, however, $$I = \Be_1 \Be_2 \Be_3$$ is interpreted as the $$R^3$$ pseudoscalar, the ordered product of the basis vectors $$\setlr{ \Be_i }$$, and $$F$$ represents a multivector with vector and bivector components. Unlike STA where $$\BE$$ and $$\BB$$ (or $$\BH$$) are interpretted as spacetime bivectors, here they are plain old Euclidian vectors in $$R^3$$, entirely consistent with conventional Heaviyside-Gibbs notation. Like the STA Maxwell’s equation, the paravector form is directly invertible using Green’s function techniques, without requiring the solution of equivalent second order potential problems, nor any requirement to take the derivatives of those potentials to determine the fields.

Lorentz transformation and manipulation of paravectors requires a variety of conjugation, real and imaginary operators, unlike STA where such operations have the same complex exponential structure as any 3D rotation expressed in geometric algebra. The advocates of the paravector representation argue that this provides an effective pedagogical bridge from Euclidean geometry to the Minkowski geometry of special relativity. This author agrees that this form of Maxwell’s equations is the natural choice for an introduction to electromagnetism using geometric algebra, but for relativistic operations, STA is a much more natural and less confusing choice.

## Results.

The end product of this project was a fairly small self contained book, titled “Geometric Algebra for Electrical Engineers”. This book includes an introduction to Euclidean geometric algebra focused on $$R^2$$ and $$R^3$$ (64 pages), an introduction to geometric calculus and multivector Green’s functions (64 pages), and applications to electromagnetism (75 pages). This report summarizes results from this book, omitting most derivations, and attempts to provide an overview that may be used as a road map for the book for further exploration. Many of the fundamental results of electromagnetism are derived directly from the geometric algebra form of Maxwell’s equation in a streamlined and compact fashion. This includes some new results, and many of the existing non-relativistic results from the geometric algebra STA and paravector literature. It will be clear to the reader that it is often simpler to have the electric and magnetic on equal footing, and demonstrates this by deriving most results in terms of the total electromagnetic field $$F$$. Many examples of how to extract the conventional electric and magnetic fields from the geometric algebra results expressed in terms of $$F$$ are given as a bridge between the multivector and vector representations.

The aim of this work was to remove some of the prerequisite conceptual roadblocks that make electromagnetism using geometric algebra inaccessbile. In particular, this project explored non-relativistic applications of geometric algebra to electromagnetism. After derivation from the conventional Heaviside-Gibbs representation of Maxwell’s equations, the paravector representation of Maxwell’s equation is used as the starting point for of all subsequent analysis. However, the paravector literature includes a confusing set of conjugation and real and imaginary selection operations that are tailored for relativisitic applications. These are not neccessary for low velocity applications, and have been avoided completely with the aim of making the subject more accessibility to the engineer.

In the book an attempt has been made to avoid introducing as little new notation as possible. For example, some authors use special notation for the bivector valued magnetic field $$I \BB$$, such as $$\boldsymbol{\mathcal{b}}$$ or $$\Bcap$$. Given the inconsistencies in the literature, $$I \BB$$ (or $$I \BH$$) will be used explicitly for the bivector (magnetic) components of the total electromagnetic field $$F$$. In the geometric algebra literature, there are conflicting conventions for the operator $$\spacegrad + (1/c) \PDi{t}{}$$ which we will call the spacetime gradient after the STA equivalent. For examples of different notations for the spacetime gradient, see [9], [1], and [15]. In the book the spacetime gradient is always written out in full to avoid picking from or explaining some of the subtlties of the competing notations.

Some researchers will find it distasteful that STA and relativity have been avoided completely in this book. Maxwell’s equations are inherently relativistic, and STA expresses the relativistic aspects of electromagnetism in an exceptional and beautiful fashion. However, a student of this book will have learned the geometric algebra and calculus prerequisites of STA. This makes the STA literature much more accessible, especially since most of the results in the book can be trivially translated into STA notation.

# References

[1] William Baylis. Electrodynamics: a modern geometric approach, volume 17. Springer Science \& Business Media, 2004.

[2] C. Doran and A.N. Lasenby. Geometric algebra for physicists. Cambridge University Press New York, Cambridge, UK, 1st edition, 2003.

[3] Albert Einstein. Relativity: The special and the general theory, chapter Minkowski’s Four-Dimensional Space. Princeton University Press, 2015. URL http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/5001.

[4] H. Flanders. Differential Forms With Applications to the Physical Sciences. Courier Dover Publications, 1989.

[5] David Jeffrey Griffiths and Reed College. Introduction to electrodynamics. Prentice hall Upper Saddle River, NJ, 3rd edition, 1999.

[6] David Hestenes. Space-time algebra, volume 1. Springer, 1966.

[7] Peter Michael Jack. Physical space as a quaternion structure, i: Maxwell equations. a brief note. arXiv preprint math-ph/0307038, 2003. URL https://arxiv.org/abs/math-ph/0307038.

[8] JD Jackson. Classical Electrodynamics. John Wiley and Sons, 2nd edition, 1975.

[9] Bernard Jancewicz. Multivectors and Clifford algebra in electrodynamics. World Scientific, 1988.

[10] L.D. Landau and E.M. Lifshitz. The classical theory of fields. Butterworth-Heinemann, 1980. ISBN 0750627689.

[11] James Clerk Maxwell. A treatise on electricity and magnetism, volume II. Merchant Books, 1881.

[12] James Clerk Maxwell. A treatise on electricity and magnetism, third edition, volume I. Dover publications, 1891.

[13] M. Schwartz. Principles of Electrodynamics. Dover Publications, 1987.

[14] Chappell et al. A simplified approach to electromagnetism using geometric algebra. arXiv preprint arXiv:1010.4947, 2010.

[15] Chappell et al. Geometric algebra for electrical and electronic engineers. 2014.

[16] Chappell et al. Geometric Algebra for Electrical and Electronic Engineers, 2014

## Motivation.

The quaternion form of Maxwell’s equations as stated in [2] is nearly indecipherable. The modern quaternionic form of these equations can be found in [1]. Looking for this representation was driven by the question of whether or not the compact geometric algebra representations of Maxwell’s equations $$\grad F = J$$, was possible using a quaternion representation of the fields.

As quaternions may be viewed as the even subalgebra of GA(3,0), it is possible to the quaternion representation of Maxwell’s equations using only geometric algebra, including source terms and independent of the heat considerations discussed in [1]. Such a derivation will be performed here. Examination of the results appears to answer the question about the compact representation in the negative.

## Quaternions as multivectors.

Quaternions are vector plus scalar sums, where the vector basis $$\setlr{ \Bi, \Bj, \Bk }$$ are subject to the complex like multiplication rules
\label{eqn:complex:240}
\begin{aligned}
\Bi^2 &= \Bj^2 = \Bk^2 = -1 \\
\Bi \Bj &= \Bk = -\Bj \Bi \\
\Bj \Bk &= \Bi = -\Bk \Bj \\
\Bk \Bi &= \Bj = -\Bi \Bk.
\end{aligned}

We can represent these basis vectors in terms of the $$\mathbb{R}^{3}$$ unit bivectors
\label{eqn:quaternion2maxwellWithGA:260}
\begin{aligned}
\Bi &= \Be_{3} \Be_{2} = -I \Be_1 \\
\Bj &= \Be_{1} \Be_{3} = -I \Be_2 \\
\Bk &= \Be_{2} \Be_{1} = -I \Be_3,
\end{aligned}

where $$I = \Be_1 \Be_2 \Be_3$$ is the ordered product of the $$\mathbb{R}^{3}$$ basis elements. Within geometric algebra, the quaternion basis “vectors” are more properly viewed as a bivector space basis that happens to have dimension three.

Similar to [1] (which used $$d/dr$$, whereas $$d/dX$$ is used here to invoke the connection to a relativistic four vector $$X = (c t, \mathbf{x})$$), we may introduce a quaternionic spacetime gradient, and express that in terms of geometric algebra
\label{eqn:quaternion2maxwellWithGA:280}
\frac{d}{dX} = \inv{c} \PD{t}{}
+ \Bi \PD{x}{}
+ \Bj \PD{y}{}
+ \Bk \PD{z}{}
=

Of particular interest is how do we write the curl, divergence and time partials in terms of the quaternionic spacetime gradient or its components. Like [1], we will use modern commutator notation for an antisymmetric difference of products
\label{eqn:quaternion2maxwellWithGA:600}
\antisymmetric{a}{b} = a b – b a,

and anticommutator notation for a symmetric difference of products
\label{eqn:quaternion2maxwellWithGA:620}
\symmetric{a}{b} = a b + b a.

The curl of a vector $$\Bf$$ in terms of vector products with the gradient is
\label{eqn:quaternion2maxwellWithGA:300}
\begin{aligned}
&= \inv{2} \antisymmetric{ -I \spacegrad }{ \Bf } \\
&= \inv{2} \antisymmetric{ \frac{d}{dX} }{ \Bf },
\end{aligned}

where the last step takes advantage of the fact that the timelike contribution of the spacetime gradient commutes with any vector $$\Bf$$ due to its scalar nature, so cancels out of the commutator. In a similar fashion, the dot product may be written as an anticommutator
\label{eqn:quaternion2maxwellWithGA:480}
=
=

as can the scalar time derivative
\label{eqn:quaternion2maxwellWithGA:500}
\PD{t}{\Bf}
= \inv{2} \symmetric{ \inv{c} \PD{t}{} } { c \Bf }.

## Quaternionic form of Maxwell’s equations.

Using geometric algebra as an intermediate transformation, let’s see directly how to express Maxwell’s equations in terms of this quaternionic operator. Our starting point is Maxwell’s equations in their standard macroscopic form

\label{eqn:ece2500report:20}
\spacegrad \cross \BH = \BJ + \PD{t}{\BD}

\label{eqn:quaternion2maxwellWithGA:340}

\label{eqn:quaternion2maxwellWithGA:360}
\spacegrad \cross \BE = – \PD{t}{\BB}

\label{eqn:quaternion2maxwellWithGA:380}

Inserting these into Maxwell-Faraday and into Gauss’s law for magnetism we have
\label{eqn:quaternion2maxwellWithGA:400}
\begin{aligned}
\inv{2} \antisymmetric{ \frac{d}{dX} }{ \BE } &= – \symmetric{ \inv{c}\PD{t}{} }{ c \BB } \\
\inv{2} \symmetric{ \spacegrad }{ c \BB } &= 0,
\end{aligned}

or
\label{eqn:quaternion2maxwellWithGA:420}
\begin{aligned}
\inv{2} \antisymmetric{ \frac{d}{dX} }{ -I \BE } + \symmetric{ \inv{c}\PD{t}{} }{ -I c \BB } &= 0 \\
\inv{2} \symmetric{ -I \spacegrad }{ -I c \BB } &= 0
\end{aligned}

We can introduce quaternionic electric and magnetic field “vectors” (really bivectors)
\label{eqn:quaternion2maxwellWithGA:440}
\begin{aligned}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{E}} &= -I \BE = \Bi E_x + \Bj E_y + \Bk E_z \\
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{B}} &= -I \BB = \Bi B_x + \Bj B_y + \Bk B_z,
\end{aligned}

and substitute these and sum to find the quaternionic representation of the two source free Maxwell’s equations
\label{eqn:quaternion2maxwellWithGA:460}
\boxed{
\inv{2} \antisymmetric{ \frac{d}{dX} }{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{E}} } + \inv{2} \symmetric{ \frac{d}{dX} }{ c \boldsymbol{\mathcal{B}} } = 0.
}

Inserting the quaternion curl, div and time derivative representations into Ampere-Maxwell’s law and Gauss’s law, gives
\label{eqn:quaternion2maxwellWithGA:520}
\begin{aligned}
\inv{2} \antisymmetric{ \frac{d}{dX} }{ \BH } &= \BJ + \inv{2} \symmetric{ \inv{c} \PD{t}{} } { c \BD } \\
\inv{2} \symmetric{ \spacegrad }{ c \BD } &= c \rho,
\end{aligned}

\label{eqn:quaternion2maxwellWithGA:540}
\begin{aligned}
\inv{2} \antisymmetric{ \frac{d}{dX} }{ -I \BH } – \inv{2} \symmetric{ \inv{c} \PD{t}{} } { -I c \BD } &= -I \BJ \\
-\inv{2} \symmetric{ -I \spacegrad }{ -I c \BD } &= c \rho.
\end{aligned}

With quaternionic displacement vector and magnetization, and current densities
\label{eqn:quaternion2maxwellWithGA:580}
\begin{aligned}
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{D}} &= -I \BD = \Bi D_x + \Bj D_y + \Bk D_z \\
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{H}} &= -I \BH = \Bi H_x + \Bj H_y + \Bk H_z \\
\boldsymbol{\mathcal{J}} &= -I \BJ = \Bi J_x + \Bj J_y + \Bk J_z,
\end{aligned}

and summing yields the two remaining two Maxwell equations in their quaternionic form
\label{eqn:quaternion2maxwellWithGA:560}
\boxed{
\inv{2} \antisymmetric{ \frac{d}{dX} }{ \boldsymbol{\mathcal{H}} } – \inv{2} \symmetric{ \frac{d}{dX} } { c \boldsymbol{\mathcal{D}} } = c \rho + \boldsymbol{\mathcal{J}}.
}

## Conclusions.

Maxwell’s equations in the quaternion representation have a structure that is not apparent in the Heaviside-Gibbs notation. There is some elegance to this result, but comes with the cost of having to use commutator and anticommutator operators, which are arguably non-intuitive. The compact geometric algebra representation of Maxwell’s equation does not appear possible with a quaternion representation, as an additional complex degree of freedom would be required (biquaternions?) Such a degree of freedom may also allow a quaternion representation of the (fictitious) magnetic sources that are useful in antenna theory with a quaternion model. Magnetic sources are easily incorporated into the current multivector in geometric algebra, but if done so in the derivation above, yield an odd grade multivector source which has no quaternion representation.

# References

[1] Peter Michael Jack. Physical space as a quaternion structure, i: Maxwell equations. a brief note. arXiv preprint math-ph/0307038, 2003. URL https://arxiv.org/abs/math-ph/0307038.

[2] James Clerk Maxwell. A treatise on electricity and magnetism, volume II. Merchant Books, 1881.