Analogous to a linear form, a bilinear form is a Bilinear map where the image is the underlying field of the vector space, e.g. .
Some definitions require both of the input spaces to be the same, e.g. , but it doesn't make much different in general.
The most important example of a bilinear form is the dot product. It is only defined if both the input spaces are the same.
As usual, it is useful to think about how a bilinear form looks like in terms of vectors and matrices.
Unlike a linear form, which was a vector, because it has two inputs, the bilinear form is represented by a matrix which encodes the value for each possible pair of basis vectors.
In terms of that matrix, the form is then given by:
If is the change of basis matrix, then the matrix representation of a bilinear form that looked like:
then the matrix in the new basis is:
Sylvester's law of inertia then tells us that the number of positive, negative and 0 eigenvalues of both of those matrices is the same.
Proof: the value of a given bilinear form cannot change due to a change of bases, since the bilinear form is just a function, and does not depend on the choice of basis. The only thing that change is the matrix representation of the form. Therefore, we must have:
and in the new basis:
and so since: