Trace maps for Mackey algebras
Let G be a finite group and R be a commutative ring. The Mackey algebra μR(G) shares a lot of properties with the group algebra RG however, there are some differences. For example, the group algebra is a symmetric algebra and this is not always the case for the Mackey algebra. In this paper we present a systematic approach to the question of the symmetry of the Mackey algebra, by producing symmetric associative bilinear forms for the Mackey algebra. Using the fact that the category of Mackey functors is a closed symmetric monoidal category, we prove that the Mackey algebra μR(G) is a symmetric algebra if and only if the family of Burnside algebras RB(H) for H≤G is a family of symmetric algebras with a compatibility condition. As a corollary, we recover the well known fact that over a field of characteristic zero, the Mackey algebra is always symmetric. Over the ring of integers the Mackey algebra of G is symmetric if and only if the order of G is square free. Finally, if (K, O, k) is a p-modular system for G, we show that the Mackey algebras μO(G) and μk(G) are symmetric if and only if the Sylow p-subgroups of G are of order 1 or p.