Let define the full symmetrization of a tensor $e_1 \otimes ... \otimes e_N$ by

$$ Sym : e_1 \otimes ... \otimes e_N \rightarrow \frac{1}{N!} \sum_{\pi \in S_N} e_{\pi^{-1} (1)} \otimes ... \otimes e_{\pi^{-1} (N)} $$

where $S_N$ is the symmetric group (set of permutations of N elements). Define the symmetric product of two tensors $e_1 \otimes ... \otimes e_N$, $f_1 \otimes ... \otimes f_n$ by

$$SymProd : (e_1 \otimes ... \otimes e_N,f_1 \otimes ... \otimes f_n) \rightarrow Sym(e_1 \otimes ... \otimes e_N \otimes e_{N+1} \otimes ... \otimes e_{N+n}) $$ where the f's were labeled as e's just to express that $\pi$ acts like a switch operation.

For example, $$Sym( e_1 \otimes e_2) = e_1 \otimes e_2 + e_2 \otimes e_1$$ and $$SymProd(e_1 \otimes e_2, f_1 \otimes f_2 \otimes f_3) \\= Sym(e_1 \otimes e_2 \otimes f_1 \otimes f_2 \otimes f_3) \\= \frac{1}{5!} \sum_{\pi \in S_5} e_{\pi^{-1} (1)} \otimes e_{\pi^{-1} (2)} \otimes e_{\pi^{-1} (3)} \otimes e_{\pi^{-1} (4)} \otimes e_{\pi^{-1} (5)}.$$

Does this function exist on mathematica ? If not, how would you implement it ?

  • $\begingroup$ You may want to look at this. $\endgroup$
    – user293787
    Sep 19, 2022 at 20:04

2 Answers 2


I think you can construct SymProd with a combination of TensorProduct and Symmetrize. For example, take numeric arrays:

d = 3
a1 = RandomInteger[10, {d}]
a2 = RandomInteger[10, {d, d}]
a3 = RandomInteger[10, {d, d, d}]

Then you can take their tensor product and symmetrize:

Symmetrize[TensorProduct[a1, a2, a3]]

The result is given as a SymmetrizedArray object, that avoids storing repeated elements. To get a normal array use Normal:

% // Normal

Then you can check that the result is indeed symmetric with TensorSymmetry:

% // TensorSymmetry
(* Symmetric[{1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6}] *)

If you want to use symbolic arrays instead of arrays of components then use the assumptions framework with something like this:

$Assumptions = Element[v, Vectors[d]] && Element[m, Matrices[{d, d}]]

and then compute things like

Symmetrize[TensorProduct[v, m]]
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer ! This is what I looked for, but there is one problem : it seems that it don't work if tensors don't have the same degree. For example, consider a1 = RandomInteger[1, {d - 1}] a2 = RandomInteger[1, {d}] and we have the error Symmetrize::symmcomp: Symmetry specification Symmetric[{1,2}] is incompatible with expression {2,3}. $\endgroup$
    – Baloo
    Sep 21, 2022 at 12:31
  • $\begingroup$ One cannot symmetrize over levels (i.e. indices) of different dimension. Imagine you have a matrix M of dimensions {2, 3}. What is the symmetric part of this matrix? The computation is (M + Transpose[M]) / 2, and therefore M and Transpose[M] must have the same dimensions. $\endgroup$
    – jose
    Sep 22, 2022 at 13:26
  • $\begingroup$ For low dimension example, let $$T_1=e_0 \otimes e_0 \otimes e_0 + e_1 \otimes e_1 \otimes e_1$$ and $$T_2 = e_0 \otimes e_1 + e_1 \otimes e_0$$ We have $$T_1 \otimes T_2 \\ = e_0 \otimes e_0 \otimes e_0 \otimes e_0 \otimes e_1 \\ + e_1 \otimes e_1 \otimes e_1 \otimes e_0 \otimes e_1 \\ + e_0 \otimes e_0 \otimes e_0 \otimes e_1 \otimes e_0 \\ + e_1 \otimes e_1 \otimes e_1 \otimes e_1 \otimes e_0$$ I don't see why one could not symmetrize $T1 \otimes T2$ which is is exactly my goal with mathematica $\endgroup$
    – Baloo
    Sep 22, 2022 at 13:49
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think we are talking about two different things here: rank/degree/order (three names of the same thing) and dimension. Something like RandomInteger[10, {d}] is a vector (rank/degree/order 1) of dimension d. RandomInteger[10, {d1, d2}] is a matrix (rank/degree/order 2) of dimensions d1 and d2. You can symmetrize objects of any rank/degree/order, but all dimensions must coincide. Your object T1 has rank/degree/order 3 and T2 has 2. You don't specify the dimensions of e0 or e1, but they must be the same. $\endgroup$
    – jose
    Sep 23, 2022 at 14:23
  • $\begingroup$ Ok thanks a lot for this explanation :) $\endgroup$
    – Baloo
    Sep 26, 2022 at 8:14



For example



{{a[1,1],1/2 a[1,2]+1/2 a[2,1]},{1/2 a[1,2]+1/2 a[2,1],a[2,2]}}




{{{a[1,1,1],1/3 a[1,1,2]+1/3 a[1,2,1]+1/3 a[2,1,1]},
 {1/3 a[1,1,2]+1/3 a[1,2,1]+1/3 a[2,1,1],1/3 a[1,2,2]+1/3 a[2,1,2]+1/3 a[2,2,1]}},
 {{1/3 a[1,1,2]+1/3 a[1,2,1]+1/3 a[2,1,1],1/3 a[1,2,2]+1/3 a[2,1,2]+1/3 a[2,2,1]},
 {1/3 a[1,2,2]+1/3 a[2,1,2]+1/3 a[2,2,1],a[2,2,2]}}}
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer. I don't understand the output format. Since $Sym$ outputs a sum of separable tensors, I would rather expect something like $a[1,1]+ a[1,2]+a[2,1]+a[2,2]$ For example, $Sym( e_1 \otimes e_2) = e_1 \otimes e_2 + e_2 \otimes e_1$ $\endgroup$
    – Baloo
    Sep 20, 2022 at 13:43

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