**147**

votes

**21**answers

21k views

### Geometric Interpretation of Trace

This afternoon I was speaking with some graduate students in the department and we came to the following quandry;
Is there a geometric interpretation of the trace of a matrix?
This question ...

**64**

votes

**2**answers

4k views

### Norms of Commutators

If an $n$ by $n$ complex matrix $A$ has trace zero, then it is a commutator, which means that there are $n$ by $n$ matrices $B$ and $C$ so that $A= BC-CB$. What is the order of the best constant ...

**48**

votes

**7**answers

3k views

### How to prove this determinant is positive?

Given the matrices $ A_i=
\biggl(\begin{matrix}
0 & B_i \\
B_i^T & 0
\end{matrix} \biggr)
$, where $B_i$ are real matrices and $i=1,2,\ldots,N$, how to prove that $\det(I + ...

**44**

votes

**1**answer

3k views

### Geometric interpretation of characteristic polynomial

The coefficients of lowest and next-highest degree of a linear operator's characteristic polynomial are its determinant and trace. These have well-known geometric interpretations. But what about its ...

**41**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Determinant of a determinant

Consider an $mn \times mn$ matrix over a commutative ring $A$, divided into $n \times n$ blocks that commute pairwise. One can pretend that each of the $m^2$ blocks is a number and apply the $m ...

**36**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Invertible matrices over noncommutative rings

Let $A\in M_m(R)$ be an invertible square matrix over a noncommutative ring $R$. Is the transpose matrix $A^t$ also invertible? If it isn't, are there any easy counterexamples?
The question popped up ...

**30**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### A curious determinantal inequality

In my study, I come across the following curious inequality, which I do not know a proof yet (so I am asking it here).
Let $A, B$ be $n\times n$ (Hermitian) positive definite matrices. It is very ...

**28**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### The probability for a symmetric matrix to be positive definite

Let me give a reasonable model for the question in the title. In ${\rm Sym}_n({\mathbb R})$, the positive definite matrices form a convex cone $S_n^+$. The probability I have in mind is the ratio ...

**27**

votes

**7**answers

1k views

### Does the truth of any statement of real matrix algebra stabilize in sufficiently high dimensions?

This question is related to this recent but currently
unanswered MO
question
of Ricky Demer, where it arose as a comment.
Consider the structure $R^n$ consisting of $n\times n$
matrices over the ...

**27**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Perron-Frobenius “inverse eigenvalue problem”

The Perron-Frobenius theorem says that the largest eigenvalue of a positive real matrix (all entries positive) is real. Moreover, that eigenvalue has a positive eigenvector, and it is the only ...

**26**

votes

**1**answer

830 views

### Properties to have matrices that commute in $\mathrm{GL}_n(\mathbb C)$

Let $G$ be a finite subgroup of $\mathrm{GL}_n(\mathbb C)$, $A,B \in G$ whose eigenvalues are thus in the unit circle.
Assume that the eigenvalues of $A$ are included in a circle arc of ...

**26**

votes

**1**answer

805 views

### Understanding “infinite” relations in groups

Consider the matrices $A = \frac{1}{5}\begin{pmatrix}5&0&0\\\ 2&2&1\\\ 2&1&2\end{pmatrix}$, $B = \frac{1}{5}\begin{pmatrix}2&2&1\\\ 0&5&0\\\ ...

**25**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Adjacency matrices of graphs

Motivated by the apparent lack of possible classification of integer matrices up to conjugation (see here) and by a question about possible complete graph invariants (see here), let me ask the ...

**24**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Invertible matrices satisfying $[x,y,y]=x$.

I have been thinking about this question for quite some time but now this question by Denis Serre revived some hope.
Question. Let $x,y$ be invertible matrices (say, over $\mathbb C$) and ...

**23**

votes

**4**answers

27k views

### Eigenvalues of Matrix Sums

Is there a relationship between the eigenvalues of individual matrices and the eigenvalues of their sum?
What about the special case when they are Hermitian and positive-definite?
I am investigating ...

**22**

votes

**10**answers

4k views

### When to pick a basis?

Picking a specific basis is often looked upon with disdain when making statements that are about basis independent quantities. For example, one might define the trace of a matrix to be the sum of the ...

**22**

votes

**3**answers

837 views

### On determinants formed by binomial coefficients

Let $q$ be a number. Let us consider the $q^2-1$-th line of the Pascal triangle (i.e. numbers ${{q^2-1} \choose i}$, $i=0,1,...q^2-1$). We have $q^2$ numbers.
Let us form naively a $q \times q$ ...

**22**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### Matrices: characterizing pairs $(AB, BA)$

Let $A$ be an $m\times n$-matrix and $B$ an $n \times m$-matrix over the same field. Consider the matrices $C=AB$ and $D=BA$. It is probably well known (and not difficult to show) that the only ...

**21**

votes

**2**answers

700 views

### Factorization of a real matrix into Hermitian x Hermitian. Is it stable ?

It is known (see Theorem 4.1.7 in R. Horn & C. Johnson) that every matrix $A\in M_n(\mathbb R)$ (real entries) can be written as the product $HK$ of two Hermitian matrices (complex entries). Of ...

**21**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Finite subgroups of unitary groups

Let $n$ be an integer. Camille Jordan showed that there exists some $m \in {\mathbb N}$ (depending on $n$), such that for any pair of $n \times n$-unitaries $u,v \in U(n)$ which generate a finite ...

**20**

votes

**11**answers

3k views

### When does 'positive' imply 'sum of squares'?

Does anyone have examples of when an object is positive, then it has (or does not have) a square root? Or more generally, can be written as a sum of squares?
Example. A positive integer does not ...

**20**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### Eigenvalues of permutations of a real matrix: can they all be real?

For a matrix $M\in GL(n,\mathbb R)$, consider the $n!$ matrices obtained by permutations of the rows (say) of $M$ and define the total spectrum $TS(M)$ as the union of all their spectra (counting ...

**20**

votes

**0**answers

562 views

### Cauchy matrices with elementary symmetric polynomials

$\newcommand{\vx}{\mathbf{x}}$
Let $e_k(\vx)$ denote the elementary symmetric polynomial, defined for $k=0,1,\ldots,n$ over a vector $\vx=(x_1,\ldots,x_n)$ by
\begin{equation*}
e_k(\vx) := \sum_{1 ...

**19**

votes

**6**answers

3k views

### Expressing adj(A) as a polynomial in A?

Suppose $A\in R^{n\times n}$, where $R$ is a commutative ring. Let $p_i \in R$ be the coefficients of the characteristic polynomial of $A$: $\mathop{\mathrm{det}}(A-xI) = p_0 + p_1x + \dots + p_n ...

**19**

votes

**4**answers

942 views

### Does Anyone Know Anything about the Determinant and/or Inverse of this Matrix?

The matrix I am inquiring about here is the $n \times n$ matrix where the entry $A_{ij}$ is $\frac{1}{(i+j-1)^2}$. The $2 \times 2$ matrix looks like
$$
\begin{pmatrix}
1 & 1/4 \\
1/4 & 1/9
...

**19**

votes

**1**answer

4k views

### How fast can we *really* multiply matrices?

Background: The Strassen Algorithm, described here, has a computational complexity of $\text{O}(n^{2.8})$ for the multiplication of two $n \times n$ matrices. However, the constant is so large that ...

**18**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Condition for two matrices to share at least one eigenvector?

Suppose that I have two matrices $A$ and $B$, and I want them to share a common eigenvector $x$. For simplicity let's just assume that the eigenvalue associated with $x$ is $1$ for both matrices, so ...

**18**

votes

**5**answers

964 views

### Cayley-Hamilton revisited

Let $(A_i)_i$ be $n\times n$ matrices with entries in a field $K$ with characteristic $0$. We consider the equation (1) $f(X)=A_kX^k+\cdots+A_1X+A_0=0_n$ where $X\in\mathcal{M}_n(K)$ is unknown. Let ...

**18**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Integer matrices with no integer eigenvalues

Let $A = \begin{pmatrix} 3&1 \\ 0&1 \end{pmatrix}$ and $B = \begin{pmatrix} 1&0\\ 1&2 \end{pmatrix}$. I want to show that the only elements of the semigroup generated by $A$ and $B$ ...

**18**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Is the semigroup of nonnegative integer matrices with determinant 1 finitely generated?

The group of $n\times n$ matrices with integer entries and determinant equal to 1, $SL(n,Z)$, is a finitely generated group (in fact, it is generated by 2 matrices). I am interested to know if the ...

**18**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Linear transformation that preserves the determinant

It seems "common knowledge" that the following holds:
Let $T$ be a linear transformation on nxn matrices with complex coefficients that preserves the determinant. Then there exists matrices U and V ...

**18**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Lifting matrices mod 2 to integers.

The following question was motivated by my research.
Consider a $n\times n$ matrix whose elements are $0$'s or $1$'s such that the determinant is odd. The question is: is it possible to assign signs ...

**18**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### A matrix algebra has no deformations?

I have often heard the slogan that "a matrix algebra has no deformations," and I am trying to understand precisely what that means. While I would be happy with more general statements about ...

**18**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Smallest eigenvalue of a tricky random matrix

While experimenting with positive-definite functions, I was led to the following:
Let $n$ be a positive integer, and let $x_1,\ldots,x_n$ be sampled from a zero-mean, unit variance gaussian. Consider ...

**18**

votes

**3**answers

916 views

### looking for proof or partial proof of determinant conjecture

Math people:
I am looking for a proof of a conjecture I made. I need to give two definitions. For distinct real numbers $x_1, x_2, \ldots, x_k$, define $\sigma(x_1, x_2, \ldots, x_k) =1$ if $(x_1, ...

**18**

votes

**1**answer

556 views

### Is the norm of a $0-1$ matrix (almost) attained on a $0-1$ vector?

I'd like to state explicitly a problem which was somehow hidden in my three-week-old post:
Does there exist an absolute constant $c>0$ with the property that for any matrix $M\in{\mathcal ...

**18**

votes

**0**answers

1k views

### The Fourier Transform of taking Eigenvalues

The purpose of this question is to ask about the Fourier transform of the map which associate to an $n$ by $n$ matrix its $n$ eigenvalues, or some function of the $n$ eigenvalues. The main motivation ...

**17**

votes

**6**answers

2k views

### how to find/define eigenvectors as a continuous function of matrix?

I asked this (with background) here
http://stats.stackexchange.com/questions/38494/principal-component-analysis-bootstrap-and-probability-of-eigenvalue-collision
but did not really get any answers. ...

**17**

votes

**1**answer

969 views

### 2x2 subdeterminants of a matrix

If N>2, it is well known that if two invertible NxN matrices A and B have the same determinants of any 2x2 corresponding submatrices, then A=B or A=-B.
Given then all these 2x2 determinants of an ...

**17**

votes

**1**answer

370 views

### Almost commuting unitary matrices

Suppose that $A_1,\dots, A_k$ are unitary matrices such that any two of them can be approximated by commuting unitary matrices. i.e. for any $i$ and $j$, there are unitary matrices $A_i'$ and $A_j'$ ...

**17**

votes

**1**answer

361 views

### A possible extension of a determinant inequality

It is well known that if $A, B$ are positive semidefinite matrices, then $$\det (A+B)\ge \det A+\det B.$$
I am considering a possible extension of this result. Let $\mathbb{M}_m(\mathbb{M}_n)$ ...

**17**

votes

**1**answer

638 views

### Extremal points of the unit ball of M_n(R) …

The unit ball of ${\bf M}_n(\mathbb R)$ is a compact convex subset. As such, it is (Krein-Milman theorem) the convex envelop of its extremal points. So far, so good; but the unit ball depends of the ...

**17**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Commuting unitaries

Is the following true:
For every unit vectors $x_1,..., x_n$, $y_1,..., y_n$ in $\mathbb{C}^k$
there exist a Hilbert space $H$, unitary operators $U_1,...,U_n$ and $V_1,...,V_n$ in $B(H)$ and unit ...

**16**

votes

**3**answers

943 views

### Approximating commuting matrices by commuting diagonalizable matrices

Suppose the matrices $A$ and $B$ commute. Do there exists sequences $A_n$ and $B_n$ of matrices such that
$A_n \rightarrow A$, $B_n \rightarrow B$.
Each $A_n$ is diagonalizable and the same for ...

**16**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Alternate and symmetric matrices

Greetings to all !
Let me first confess that this question was mentionned to me by Bernard Dacorogna, who doesn't sail on MO.
Let $A\in M_{2n}(k)$ be an alternate matrix. Say that $A$ is ...

**16**

votes

**2**answers

417 views

### What is $A+A^T$ when $A$ is row-stochastic ?

This is motivated by this MO question.
If $A\in{\bf M}_n({\mathbb R})$ is row-stochastic (entrywise non-negative, and $\sum_j a_{ij}=1$ for all $i$), then $M:=A+A^T$ is
symmetric,
entrywise ...

**16**

votes

**1**answer

589 views

### Standard polynomials applied to matrices

The standard polynomial in $r$ non-commuting indeterminates $x_1,\ldots,x_r$ is defined by
$${\mathcal S}_r(x_1,\ldots,x_r):=\sum_{\sigma\in S_r}\epsilon(\sigma)x_{\sigma(1)}x_{\sigma(2)}\cdots ...

**16**

votes

**0**answers

512 views

### How boundedly generated is $SL_3(\mathbb{Z})$?

The group $G = \mathrm{SL}_3(\mathbb{Z})$ is known to be boundedly generated, that is, there exists some $m \in \mathbb{N}$, and $g_1, \dots, g_m \in G$ such that we have the following equality of ...

**15**

votes

**4**answers

737 views

### Is there a matrix C so that the trace of C^n is dense in R?

I am looking for a matrix $C$ so that the sequence $tr(C^n)$ is dense in the set of real numbers. Equivalently (in the $2 \times 2$ case), find a complex number $z$ so that the sequence $z^n+w^n$ is ...

**15**

votes

**2**answers

594 views

### Matrix equation $XAXBXC=I$

Let $A,B,C$ be unitary matrices. Does there always exist a unitary matrix $X$ such that $$(XA)(XB)(XC)=I,$$ where $I$ is the identity matrix? The quadratic equation $(XA)(XB)=I$ has the solution ...