Linear algebra

Experimental html version of downloadable textbook, see
\[ % mathjax inclusion. \newcommand\inv{^{-1}}\newcommand\invt{^{-t}} \newcommand\bbP{\mathbb{P}} \newcommand\bbR{\mathbb{R}} \newcommand\defined{ \mathrel{\lower 5pt \hbox{${\equiv\atop\mathrm{\scriptstyle D}}$}}} \newcommand\macro[1]{$\langle$#1$\rangle$} \newcommand\dtdxx{\frac{\alpha\Delta t}{\Delta x^2}} \newcommand\toprule{\hline} \newcommand\midrule{\hline} \newcommand\bottomrule{\hline} \newcommand\nobreak{} \newcommand\multicolumn[3]{#3} \]

13.1 : Norms
13.1.1 : Vector norms
13.1.2 : Matrix norms
13.2 : Gram-Schmidt orthogonalization
13.3 : The power method
13.4 : Nonnegative matrices; Perron vectors
13.5 : The Gershgorin theorem
13.6 : Householder reflectors
Back to Table of Contents

13 Linear algebra

In this course it is assumed that you know what a matrix and a vector are, simple algorithms such as how to multiply them, and some properties such as invertibility of a matrix. This appendix introduces some concepts and theorems that are not typically part of a first course in linear algebra.

13.1 Norms

crumb trail: > norms > Norms

A norm is a way to generalize the concept of absolute value to multi-dimensional objects such as vectors and matrices. There are many ways of defining a norm, and there is theory of how different norms relate. Here we only give the basic concepts.

13.1.1 Vector norms

crumb trail: > norms > Norms > Vector norms

A norm is any function $n(\cdot)$ on a vector space $V$ with the following properties:

For any $p\geq1$, the following defines a vector norm:

\begin{equation} |x|_p = \sqrt[p]{\sum_i|x_i|^p}. \end{equation}

Common norms are the 1-norm, 2-norm, and infinity norm:

13.1.2 Matrix norms

crumb trail: > norms > Norms > Matrix norms

By considering a matrix of size $n$ as a vector of length $n^2$, we can define the Frobenius matrix norm:

\begin{equation} \|A\|_F=\sqrt{\sum_{i,j}|a_{ij}|^2}. \end{equation}


\begin{equation} \|A\|_p=\sup_{\|x\|_p=1}\|Ax\|_p= \sup_x\frac{\|Ax\|_p}{\|x\|_p}. \end{equation}

From their definition, it then follows that

\begin{equation} \|Ax\|\leq\|A\|\|x\| \end{equation}

for associated norms.

The following are easy to derive:

By observing that $\|A\|_2=\sup_{\|x\|_2=1} x^tA^tAx$, it is not hard to derive that $\|A\|_2$ is the maximal singular value of $A$, which is the root of the maximal eigenvalue of $A^tA$, which is the largest eigenvalue of $A$ is $A$ is symmetric.

The matrix condition number is defined as

\begin{equation} \kappa(A)=\|A\|\,\|A\inv\|. \end{equation}

In the symmetric case, and using the 2-norm, this is the ratio between the largest and smallest eigenvalue ; in general, it is the ratio between the largest and smallest singular value  .

13.2 Gram-Schmidt orthogonalization

crumb trail: > norms > Gram-Schmidt orthogonalization

The GS algorithm takes a series of vectors and inductively orthogonalizes them. This can be used to turn an arbitrary basis of a vector space into an orthogonal basis; it can also be viewed as transforming a matrix $A$ into one with orthogonal columns. If $Q$ has orthogonal columns, $Q^tQ$ is diagonal, which is often a convenient property to have.

The basic principle of the GS algorithm can be demonstrated with two vectors $u,v$. Suppose we want a vector $v'$ so that $u,v$ spans the same space as $u,v'$, but $v'\perp u$. For this we let

\begin{equation} v'\leftarrow v-\frac{u^tv}{u^tu}u. \end{equation}

It is easy to see that this satisfies the requirements.

Suppose we have an set of vectors $u_1,\ldots,u_n$ that we want to orthogonalize. We do this by successive applications of the above transformation:

For $i=1,\ldots,n$:
  For $j=1,\ldots i-1$:
   let $c_{ji}=u_j^tu_i/u_j^tu_j$
  For $i=1,\ldots,n$:
   update $u_i\leftarrow u_i-u_jc_{ji}$

Often the vector $v$ in the algorithm above is normalized; this adds a line

$u_i\leftarrow u_i/\|u_i\|$

to the algorithm. GS orthogonalization with this normalization, applied to the columns of a matrix, is also known as the QR factorization  .

Exercise Suppose that we apply the GS algorithm to the columns of a rectangular matrix $A$, giving a matrix $Q$. Prove that there is an upper triangular matrix $R$ such that $A=QR$. (Hint: look at the $c_{ji}$ coefficients above.) If we normalize the orthogonal vector in the algorithm above, $Q$ has the additional property that $Q^tQ=I$. Prove this too.
End of exercise

The GS algorithm as given above computes the desired result, but only in exact arithmetic. A computer implementation can be quite inaccurate if the angle between $v$ and one of the $u_i$ is small. In that case, the MGS algorithm will perform better:

For $i=1,\ldots,n$:
  For $j=1,\ldots i-1$:
   let $c_{ji}=u_j^tu_i/u_j^tu_j$
   update $u_i\leftarrow u_i-u_jc_{ji}$

To contrast it with MGS  , the original GS algorithm is also known as CGS  .

As an illustration of the difference between the two methods, consider the matrix

\begin{equation} A= \begin{pmatrix} 1&1&1\\ \epsilon&0&0\\ 0&\epsilon&0\\ 0&0&\epsilon \end{pmatrix} \end{equation}

where $\epsilon$ is of the order of the machine precision, so that $1+\epsilon^2=\nobreak1$ in machine arithmetic. The CGS method proceeds as follows:

It is easy to see that $q_2$ and $q_3$ are not orthogonal at all. By contrast, the MGS method differs in the last step:

13.3 The power method

crumb trail: > norms > The power method

The vector sequence

\begin{equation} x_i = Ax_{i-1}, \end{equation}

where $x_0$ is some starting vector, is called the \indexterm{power method} since it computes the product of subsequent matrix powers times a vector:

\begin{equation} x_i = A^ix_0. \end{equation}

There are cases where the relation between the $x_i$ vectors is simple. For instance, if $x_0$ is an eigenvector of $A$, we have for some scalar $\lambda$

\begin{equation} Ax_0=\lambda x_0 \qquad\hbox{and}\qquad x_i=\lambda^i x_0. \end{equation}

However, for an arbitrary vector $x_0$, the sequence $\{x_i\}_i$ is likely to consist of independent vectors. Up to a point.

Exercise Let $A$ and $x$ be the $n\times n$ matrix and dimension $n$ vector

\begin{equation} A = \begin{pmatrix} 1&1\\ &1&1\\ &&\ddots&\ddots\\ &&&1&1\\&&&&1 \end{pmatrix}  ,\qquad x = (0,…,0,1)^t. \end{equation}

Show that the sequence $[x,Ax,\ldots,A^ix]$ is an independent set for $i

Now consider the matrix $B$:

\begin{equation} B=\left( \begin{array}{cccc|cccc} 1&1&&\\ &\ddots&\ddots&\\ &&1&1\\ &&&1\\ \hline &&&&1&1\\ &&&&&\ddots&\ddots\\ &&&&&&1&1\\ &&&&&&&1 \end{array} \right),\qquad y = (0,…,0,1)^t \end{equation}

Show that the set $[y,By,\ldots,B^iy]$ is an independent set for $i
End of exercise

While in general the vectors $x,Ax,A^2x,\ldots$ can be expected to be independent, in computer arithmetic this story is no longer so clear.

Suppose the matrix has eigenvalues $\lambda_0>\lambda_1\geq\cdots \lambda_{n-1}$ and corresponding eigenvectors $u_i$ so that

\begin{equation} Au_i=\lambda_i u_i. \end{equation}

Let the vector $x$ be written as

\begin{equation} x=c_0u_0+\cdots +c_{n-1}u_{n-1}, \end{equation}


\begin{equation} A^ix = c_0\lambda_0^iu_i+\cdots +c_{n-1}\lambda_{n-1}^iu_{n-1}. \end{equation}

If we write this as

\begin{equation} A^ix = \lambda_0^i\left[ c_0u_i+c_1\left(\frac{\lambda_1}{\lambda_0}\right)^i+ \cdots +c_{n-1}\left(\frac{\lambda_{n-1}}{\lambda_0}\right)^i \right], \end{equation}

we see that, numerically, $A^ix$ will get progressively closer to a multiple of $u_0$, the dominant eigenvector  . Hence, any calculation that uses independence of the $A^ix$ vectors is likely to be inaccurate. Section  5.5.9 discusses iterative methods that can be considered as building an orthogonal basis for the span of the power method vectors.

13.4 Nonnegative matrices; Perron vectors

crumb trail: > norms > Nonnegative matrices; Perron vectors

If $A$ is a nonnegative matrix, the maximal eigenvalue has the property that its eigenvector is nonnegative: this is the the Perron-Frobenius theorem  .

Theorem If a nonnegative matrix $A$ is irreducible, its eigenvalues satisfy

  • The eigenvalue $\alpha_1$ that is largest in magnitude is real and simple:

    \begin{equation} \alpha_1> |\alpha_2|\geq\cdots. \end{equation}

  • The corresponding eigenvector is positive.

End of theorem

The best known application of this theorem is the Googe PageRank algorithm; section  9.5  .

13.5 The Gershgorin theorem

crumb trail: > norms > The Gershgorin theorem

Finding the eigenvalues of a matrix is usually complicated. However, there are some tools to estimate eigenvalues. In this section you will see a theorem that, in some circumstances, can give useful information on eigenvalues.

Let $A$ be a square matrix, and $x,\lambda$ an eigenpair: $Ax=\lambda x$. Looking at one component, we have

\begin{equation} a_{ii}x_i+\sum_{j\not=i} a_{ij}x_j=\lambda x_i. \end{equation}

Taking norms:

\begin{equation} (a_{ii}-\lambda) \leq \sum_{j\not=i} |a_{ij}| \left|\frac{x_j}{x_i}\right| \end{equation}

Taking the value of $i$ for which $|x_i|$ is maximal, we find

\begin{equation} (a_{ii}-\lambda) \leq \sum_{j\not=i} |a_{ij}|. \end{equation}

This statement can be interpreted as follows:

The eigenvalue $\lambda$ is located in the circle around $a_{ii}$ with radius $\sum_{j\not=i}|a_{ij}|$.

Since we do not know for which value of $i$ $|x_i|$ is maximal, we can only say that there is some value of $i$ such that $\lambda$ lies in such a circle. This is the Gershgorin theorem  .

Theorem Let $A$ be a square matrix, and let $D_i$ be the circle with center $a_{ii}$ and radius $\sum_{j\not=i}|a_{ij}|$, then the eigenvalues are contained in the union of circles $\cup_i D_i$.
End of theorem

We can conclude that the eigenvalues are in the interior of these discs, if the constant vector is not an eigenvector.

13.6 Householder reflectors

crumb trail: > norms > Householder reflectors

In some contexts the question comes up how to transform one subspace into another. Householder reflectors a unit vector $u$, and let

\begin{equation} H= I-2uu^t. \end{equation}

For this matrix we have $Hu=-u$, and if $u\perp v$, then $Hv=v$. In other words, the subspace of multiples of $u$ is flipped, and the orthogonal subspace stays invariant.

Now for the original problem of mapping one space into another. Let the original space be spanned by a vector $x$ and the resulting by $y$, then note that

\begin{equation} \begin{cases} x = (x+y)/2 + (x-y)/2\\ y = (x+y)/2 - (x-y)/2. \end{cases} \end{equation}

FIGURE 13.1: Householder reflector.

In other words, we can map $x$ into $y$ with the reflector based on $u=(x-y)/2$.

We can generalize Householder reflectors to a form

\begin{equation} H=I-2uv^t. \end{equation}

The matrices $L_i$ used in LU factorization (see section  5.3  ) can then be seen to be of the form $L_i = I-\ell_ie_i^t$ where $e_i$ has a single one in the $i$-th location, and $\ell_i$ only has nonzero below that location. That form also makes it easy to see that $L_i\inv = I+\ell_ie_i^t$:

\begin{equation} (I-uv^t)(I+uv^t) = I-uv^tuv^t = 0 \end{equation}

if $v^tu=0$.

Back to Table of Contents