a1 School of Mathematics and Statistics University of Sydney Sydney New South Wales 2006 Australia
a2 Department of Mathematics University of Glasgow Glasgow G12 8QW Scotland United Kingdom
Let S be an inverse semigroup and let F be a subring of the complex field containing 1 and closed under complex conjugation. This paper concerns the existence of trace functions on F[S], the semigroup algebra of S over F. Necessary and sufficient conditions on S are found for the existence of a trace function on F[S] that takes positive integral values on the idempotents of S. Although F[S] does not always admit a trace function, a weaker form of linear functional is shown to exist for all choices of S. This is used to show that the natural involution on F[S] is special. It also leads to the construction of a trace function on F[S] for the case in which F is the real or complex field and S is completely semisimple of a type that includes countable free inverse semigroups.
(Received January 17 1995)