MathOverflow is a question and answer site for professional mathematicians. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Consider real matrices. Is there an intrinsic measure on (normalized)symmetric semi positive definite(SPD) matrices? By intrinsic, I mean some measure derived from Haar measure of a group, since a SPD matrix can be generate from $M \in GL(n)$ as $MM^T$ or from anti-symmetic matrices by exponential map. Another possible connection to $O(n)$ is through Schur decomposition or so. Since SPD is not compact, we can normalize to "correlation coefficient" matrices. Let $D^2$ be the diagonal part of SPD $A$. We normalize $A$ as $D^{-1}AD^{-1}$, and it will have all 1's on diagonal.


share|cite|improve this question
What you call SPD is usually called PSD. – Igor Rivin Dec 9 '11 at 23:15
You can define a Riemannian metric $g$ on the dense subspace of positive-definite symmetric matrices by $g(A,B;M) = tr(M^{-1}AM^{-1} {}^tB)$ (ish). This metric is invariant under the transitive action by $GL(n)$, so it gives the subset the structure of a symmetric space. The boundary has measure zero w/r/t the volume form defined by this metric, so it should give a nice measure on your space. This is probably in Helgason somewhere. – Gunnar Þór Magnússon Dec 10 '11 at 15:33

Your space is the symmetric space for $GL(n, \mathbb{R}),$ with all that entails, or, if you prefer, the cone over the symmetric space for $SL(n, \mathbb{R}).$ See, for example, (but there is a million other references, including the venerable Helgason).

share|cite|improve this answer

SPD usually means Symmetric Positive Definite, not positive semidefinite. And if you really mean semidefinite then the diagonal won't necessarily have all 1's even after normalization, because it might be singular.

share|cite|improve this answer

The non-definite matrix will from a measure zero set. Then $GL(n,\mathbb{R})/O(n,\mathbb{R})$ form a dense subspace in it.

share|cite|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.