So I am inspired by unitary matrices which preserve the $\ell^2$-norm of all vectors, so in particular the unit norm vectors. But then I saw that the $\ell^1$-norm of probability vectors is preserved by matrices whose columns are probability vectors. And this got me thinking: But what are the matrices preserving the $\ell^1$-norm of arbitrary real unit $\ell^1$-norm vectors? So basically we extend a probability vector to also allow a sign, but ignoring the signs, this should still be a probability vector; and then we ask for the corresponding structure-preserving matrices.

It is already clear that the columns of such a matrix should be this 'extended' kind of probability vector, because we can multiply the matrix with a standard basis vector which has $\ell^1$-norm 1. But not all of such matrices preserve this, take for example

$$ M = \frac{1}{2} \left(\begin{matrix} 1 & 1\\ 1 & -1 \end{matrix}\right) $$

and

$$ x = \left( \begin{matrix} 0.3 \\ -0.7 \end{matrix} \right) $$

Then we have

$$ Mx = \left(\begin{matrix} -0.2 \\ 0.5 \end{matrix}\right) $$

which fails the test.

7more comments