### Norm inequalities for partitioned operators and an application.

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For a commuting n-tuple of matrices we introduce the notion of a joint spectral radius with respect to the p-norm and prove a spectral radius formula.

Two well-known theorems for Hermitian elements in C*-algebras are extended to Banach algebras. The first concerns the solution of the equation ax - xb = y, and the second gives sharp bounds for the distance between spectra of a and b when a, b are Hermitian.

Let ϕ be a surjective map on the space of n×n complex matrices such that r(ϕ(A)-ϕ(B))=r(A-B) for all A,B, where r(X) is the spectral radius of X. We show that ϕ must be a composition of five types of maps: translation, multiplication by a scalar of modulus one, complex conjugation, taking transpose and (simultaneous) similarity. In particular, ϕ is real linear up to a translation.

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