**123**

votes

**19**answers

16k 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 ...

**60**

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 ...

**42**

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 ...

**38**

votes

**1**answer

766 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 ...

**34**

votes

**1**answer

891 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 ...

**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

**2**answers

1k 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

**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

773 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\\\ ...

**24**

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

**2**answers

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

**1**answer

650 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 ...

**21**

votes

**2**answers

635 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

**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 ...

**19**

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 ...

**19**

votes

**4**answers

21k 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 ...

**19**

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 ...

**19**

votes

**4**answers

838 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

**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 ...

**18**

votes

**1**answer

2k 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

**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

**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

**3**answers

867 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, ...

**17**

votes

**5**answers

784 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 ...

**17**

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 $B$ ...

**17**

votes

**1**answer

714 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

**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 ...

**17**

votes

**1**answer

534 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 ...

**17**

votes

**1**answer

625 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

**0**answers

465 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 ...

**16**

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. ...

**16**

votes

**2**answers

404 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

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 ...

**15**

votes

**4**answers

721 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

**4**answers

1k 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 ...

**15**

votes

**3**answers

842 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 ...

**15**

votes

**5**answers

756 views

### What fraction of n x n invertible integer matrices contain at least one unit?

The question is simple:
What fraction of matrices in $G_n = \text{GL}_n(\mathbb{Z})$ have at least one unit entry (i.e., either $\lbrace\pm 1 \rbrace$)?
I'm not sure what the correct measure ...

**15**

votes

**1**answer

783 views

### Analogue of Smith normal form for matrices over $\mathbb Z[t]$

Let $R$ be a principal ideal domain and $A \in M_n R$. It is well known that there exist invertible matrices $Q$ and $S$ and a diagonal matrix $D= {\rm diag}(a_1,\dots,a_n)$ such that
$a_i \mid ...

**15**

votes

**2**answers

360 views

### ULU Decomposition of a matrix

Let $g \in GL_n(\mathbb{F}_q)$. Is it true that we can always write $g = u_1lu_2$, where $u_1$ and $u_2$ are upper-triangular and $l$ is lower-triangular? Note that I'm not requiring that the matrices ...

**15**

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 ...

**15**

votes

**1**answer

294 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 $\mathbb{M}_m(\mathbb{M}_n)$ ...

**15**

votes

**3**answers

612 views

### Random products of projections: bounds on convergence rate?

The von Neumann-Halperin [vN,H] theorem shows that iterating a fixed product of projection operators converges to the projector onto the intersection subspace of the individual projectors. A good ...

**15**

votes

**1**answer

388 views

### Geometry of numbers for three by three matrices?

While trying to use Minkowski's theorem to calculate the (left) class number of a noncommutative ring, I ran into the following problem:
What is the volume of the largest symmetric convex subset ...

**15**

votes

**1**answer

573 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 ...

**15**

votes

**0**answers

787 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 ...

**14**

votes

**4**answers

714 views

### Eigenvectors of a particular transition matrix

I am considering a Markov chain with $n$ states with a particularly nice structure. The transition matrix is as follows:
\begin{equation}\mathbf{P}=\begin{pmatrix}
0 & 0& \dots&0 & 0 ...

**14**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### Representing a product of matrix exponentials as the exponential of a sum

In Proof of a conjectured exponential formula, R. C. Thompson (1986) [edit: apparently, assuming Horn's conjecture] proved that if $A$ and $B$ are Hermitian matrices, then there exist unitary matrices ...

**14**

votes

**3**answers

544 views

### Bounding the commutator [A,B] in terms of the numerical radius

Given a norm $N$ over ${\bf M}_n(\mathbb C)$, it is a natural question to find the best constant $C_N$ such that
$$N([A,B])\le C_N N(A)N(B),\qquad\forall A,B\in{\bf M}_n(\mathbb C).$$
The answer is ...

**14**

votes

**2**answers

699 views

### “Explicit” embedding of $\ell^1$ as a closed subalgebra of a direct sum of matrix algebras

For sake of brevity let $A$ denote the Banach algebra formed by equipping $\ell^1({\mathbb N})$ with pointwise multiplication. This algebra is clearly not isomorphic as a Banach algebra to any uniform ...