What is the reason why the following expression does not simplify to True?

  i > 0 && j > 0 && k > 0 && Element[{i, j, k}, Integers],
    KroneckerDelta[i, j] * KroneckerDelta[i, k] == KroneckerDelta[i, j, k]

(* KroneckerDelta[i, j] KroneckerDelta[i, k] == KroneckerDelta[i, j, k] *)

Is there a corner case where this equation is actually false? Does Mathematica simply not know about this identity? If the latter is the case, how could I define a rule for FullSimplify to simplify products like the one on the left hand side?

  • $\begingroup$ If you use Einstein summation convention then you would probably prefer KroneckerDelta[i, j] * KroneckerDelta[i, k] to simplify to KroneckerDelta[j,k], for example. So it is likely easier to just allow the user to specify their desired behavior. $\endgroup$
    – evanb
    Oct 21, 2015 at 18:44

2 Answers 2


You may be able to "teach" KroneckerDelta about this:

KroneckerDelta /: (Times[KroneckerDelta[i_, j_], KroneckerDelta[k_, m_]] /; i == k) := 
      KroneckerDelta[i, j, m]

After the above, here is the new behavior:

KroneckerDelta[a, b] KroneckerDelta[c, d] (* this doesn't match *)
KroneckerDelta[a, b] KroneckerDelta[a, d] (* your use case *)

(* Out:
KroneckerDelta[a, b] KroneckerDelta[c, d]
KroneckerDelta[a, b, d]
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. That got me on the right track. I currently use KroneckerDelta /: (Times[KroneckerDelta[i_, j__], KroneckerDelta[i_, k__]]) := KroneckerDelta[i, j, k], which is a little bit more general, I think. $\endgroup$ Oct 21, 2015 at 20:09
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidZwicker Glad it helped! $\endgroup$
    – MarcoB
    Oct 21, 2015 at 20:15

Adding PiecewiseExpand[] forces the conversion of KroneckerDelta[] into Piecewise[] equivalents, which play nicer with simplification:

Assuming[i > 0 && j > 0 && k > 0 && {i, j, k} ∈ Integers, 
         KroneckerDelta[i, j] KroneckerDelta[i, k] == KroneckerDelta[i, j, k]
         // PiecewiseExpand // Simplify]

Another method consists of converting KroneckerDelta[] expressions into the equivalent Iverson brackets (i.e., Boole[]):

KroneckerDelta[i, j] KroneckerDelta[i, k] == KroneckerDelta[i, j, k] /.
k_KroneckerDelta :> Boole[Equal @@ k] // FullSimplify

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