What more can be said about the eigenvalues (especially the spectrum) of the $N \times N$ matrix ${\bf M} = {\bf A} + {\bf A}^T$ in terms of $\bf A$ if $\bf A$ is not symmetric and its eigenvalues are not necessarily positive ($\bf A$ is not necessarily positive semi-definite)?

- The eigenvalues of $\bf M$ are real since $\bf M$ is symmetric.
- $\sum_{i=1}^{N} \lambda_i({\bf M}) = {\rm trace}({\bf M}) = 2~{\rm trace}({\bf A}) = 2\sum_{i=1}^{N} \lambda_i({\bf A})$

The problem originates from principal component analysis. The principal components are the largest eigenvalues of the sample covariance matrix (SCM) $\bf C = ({\bf X}+{\bf W})^T({\bf X}+{\bf W})$ where $\bf X$ is a data matrix and $\bf W$ is a noise (white Gaussian) matrix.

Usually it is assumed that $\bf X$ and $\bf W$ are uncorrelated (when many samples are used) and the SCM can then simply be written as ${\bf C} = {\bf X}^T{\bf X} + {\bf W}^T{\bf W}$. The eigenvalue spectrum can under these conditions $quite~easily$ be determined using Weyl's inequalities since ${\bf X}^T {\bf X}$ and ${\bf W}^T{\bf W}$ are both Hermitian (or real symmetric).

However, when the number of samples is limited, the error (cross) terms ${\bf E} = {\bf X}^T{\bf W} + {\bf W}^T{\bf X}$ begin to influence the eigenvalues significantly. Since $\bf E$ is Hermitian, Weyl's inequalities can again be used to determine the eigenvalue spectrum of $\bf C$. Though, the eigenvalue spectrum of $\bf E$ is required to do so.

Setting ${\bf A} = {\bf X}^T{\bf W}$, it is clear that ${\bf A}^T = {\bf W}^T{\bf X}$, such that ${\bf M} = {\bf E}$.