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Geometric interpretation of

Eigenvalues and Eigenvectors

An n×n matrix A multiplied by n×1 vector x results in another

n×1 vector y=Ax. Thus A can be considered as a

transformation matrix.

In general, a matrix acts on a vector by changing both its

magnitude and its direction. However, a matrix may act on

certain vectors by changing only their magnitude, and leaving

their direction unchanged (or possibly reversing it). These

vectors are the eigenvectors of the matrix.

A matrix acts on an eigenvector by multiplying its magnitude by

a factor, which is positive if its direction is unchanged and

negative if its direction is reversed. This factor is the eigenvalue

associated with that eigenvector.

Eigenvalues

Let x be an eigenvector of the matrix A. Then there must exist an

eigenvalue λ such that Ax = λx or, equivalently,

Ax - λx = 0 or

(A – λI)x = 0

If we define a new matrix B = A – λI, then

Bx = 0

If B has an inverse then x = B

-1

0 = 0. But an eigenvector cannot

be zero.

Thus, it follows that x will be an eigenvector of A if and only if B

does not have an inverse, or equivalently det(B)=0, or

det(A – λI) = 0

This is called the characteristic equation of A. Its roots

determine the eigenvalues of A.

Eigenvectors

To each distinct eigenvalue of a matrix A there

will correspond at least one eigenvector which can be

found by solving the appropriate set of homogenous

equations. If λ

i

is an eigenvalue then the corresponding

eigenvector x

i

is the solution of (A – λ

i

I)x

i

= 0

Properties of Eigenvalues and Eigenvectors

Definition: The trace of a matrix A, designated by tr(A), is the sum

of the elements on the main diagonal.

Property 1: The sum of the eigenvalues of a matrix equals the

trace of the matrix.

Property 2: A matrix is singular if and only if it has a zero

eigenvalue.

Property 3: The eigenvalues of an upper (or lower) triangular

matrix are the elements on the main diagonal.

Property 4: If λ is an eigenvalue of A and A is invertible, then 1/λ

is an eigenvalue of matrix A

-1

.

Properties of Eigenvalues and Eigenvectors

Property 5: If λ is an eigenvalue of A then kλ is an eigenvalue of

kA where k is any arbitrary scalar.

Property 6: If λ is an eigenvalue of A then λ

k

is an eigenvalue of

A

k

for any positive integer k.

Property 8: If λ is an eigenvalue of A then λ is an eigenvalue of A

T

.

Property 9: The product of the eigenvalues (counting multiplicity)

of a matrix equals the determinant of the matrix.

Linearly independent eigenvectors

Theorem: Eigenvectors corresponding to distinct (that is, different)

eigenvalues are linearly independent.

Theorem: If λ is an eigenvalue of multiplicity k of an n × n matrix

A then the number of linearly independent eigenvectors of A

associated with λ is given by m = n - r(A- λI). Furthermore, 1 ≤ m

≤ k.

Example 2 (cont.): The eigenvectors of ì = 2 are of the form

s and t not both zero.

ì = 2 has two linearly independent eigenvectors

,

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

3

2

1

(

(

(

¸

(

¸

+

(

(

(

¸

(

¸

=

(

(

(

¸

(

¸

=

(

(

(

¸

(

¸

= t s

t

s

x

x

x

x

Significance of

eigen values and

eigen vectors

Schrödinger equation

An example of an eigenvalue equation where the transformation is represented

in terms of a differential operator is the time-independent Schrödinger

equation in quantum mechanics:

where , the Hamiltonian, is a second-order differential operator and ,

the wavefunction, is one of its eigenfunctions corresponding to the eigenvalue ,

interpreted as its energy.

However, in the case where one is interested only in the bound state solutions

of the Schrödinger equation, one looks for within the space of square

integrable functions. Since this space is a Hilbert space with a well-

defined scalar product, one can introduce a basis set in which and can be

represented as a one-dimensional array and a matrix respectively. This allows

one to represent the Schrödinger equation in a matrix form

Schrödinger equation

The bra–ket notation is often used in this context. A vector, which represents a

state of the system, in the Hilbert space of square integrable functions is

represented by . In this notation, the Schrödinger equation is:

where is an eigenstate of and E| represents the eigenvalue . It is a self adjoint

operator, the infinite dimensional analog of Hermitian matrices

(see Observable). As in the matrix case, in the equation above is understood to

be the vector obtained by application of the transformation to

Molecular orbitals

In quantum mechanics, and in particular in atomic and molecular physics,

within the Hartree–Fock theory, the atomic and molecular orbitals can be

defined by the eigenvectors of the Fock operator. The corresponding

eigenvalues are interpreted as ionization potentials via Koopmans' theorem. In

this case, the term eigenvector is used in a somewhat more general meaning,

since the Fock operator is explicitly dependent on the orbitals and their

eigenvalues. If one wants to underline this aspect one speaks of nonlinear

eigenvalue problem. Such equations are usually solved by

an iteration procedure, called in this case self-consistent field method.

In quantum chemistry, one often represents the Hartree–Fock equation in a

non-orthogonal basis set. This particular representation is a generalized

eigenvalue problem calledRoothaan equations.

Geology and glaciology

In geology, especially in the study of glacial till, eigenvectors and eigenvalues

are used as a method by which a mass of information of a clast fabric's

constituents' orientation and dip can be summarized in a 3-D space by six

numbers. In the field, a geologist may collect such data for hundreds or

thousands of clasts in a soil sample, which can only be compared graphically

such as in a Tri-Plot (Sneed and Folk) diagram, or as a Stereonet on a Wulff

Net.

The output for the orientation tensor is in the three orthogonal

(perpendicular) axes of space. The three eigenvectors are ordered by their

eigenvalues ; then is the primary orientation/dip of clast, is the secondary

and is the tertiary, in terms of strength. The clast orientation is defined as the

direction of the eigenvector, on a compass rose of 360°. Dip is measured as the

eigenvalue, the modulus of the tensor: this is valued from 0° (no dip) to 90°

(vertical). The relative values of , , and are dictated by the nature of the

sediment's fabric. If , the fabric is said to be isotropic. If , the fabric is said to be

planar. If , the fabric is said to be linear.

Tensor of moment of inertia and

stress tensor

Tensor of moment of inertia

In mechanics, the eigenvectors of the moment of inertia tensor define

the principal axes of a rigid body. The tensor of moment of inertia is a key

quantity required to determine the rotation of a rigid body around its center of

mass

Stress tensor

In solid mechanics, the stress tensor is symmetric and so can be decomposed

into a diagonal tensor with the eigenvalues on the diagonal and eigenvectors as

a basis. Because it is diagonal, in this orientation, the stress tensor has

no shear components; the components it does have are the principal

components.

Eigenvalues of a graph

In spectral graph theory, an eigenvalue of a graph is defined as an eigenvalue of

the graph's adjacency matrix , or (increasingly) of the graph's Laplacian

matrix (see alsoDiscrete Laplace operator), which is either (sometimes called

the combinatorial Laplacian) or (sometimes called the normalized Laplacian),

where is a diagonal matrix with equal to the degree of vertex , and in , the th

diagonal entry is . The th principal eigenvector of a graph is defined as either

the eigenvector corresponding to the th largest or th smallest eigenvalue of the

Laplacian. The first principal eigenvector of the graph is also referred to merely

as the principal eigenvector.

Eigenvalues of a graph

The principal eigenvector is used to measure the centrality of its vertices. An

example is Google's PageRank algorithm. The principal eigenvector of a

modified adjacency matrix of the World Wide Web graph gives the page ranks

as its components. This vector corresponds to the stationary distribution of

the Markov chain represented by the row-normalized adjacency matrix;

however, the adjacency matrix must first be modified to ensure a stationary

distribution exists. The second smallest eigenvector can be used to partition

the graph into clusters, via spectral clustering. Other methods are also available

for clustering.

Basic reproduction number

The basic reproduction number (R0) is a fundamental number in the study of

how infectious diseases spread. If one infectious person is put into a

population of completely susceptible people, then is the average number of

people that one typical infectious person will infect. The generation time of an

infection is the time, , from one person becoming infected to the next person

becoming infected. In a heterogeneous population, the next generation matrix

defines how many people in the population will become infected after

time has passed. is then the largest eigenvalue of the next generation m

Eigen faces

In image processing, processed images of faces can be seen as vectors whose

components are the brightnesses of each pixel.

[26]

The dimension of this vector

space is the number of pixels. The eigenvectors of the covariance

matrix associated with a large set of normalized pictures of faces are

called eigenfaces; this is an example of principal components analysis. They

are very useful for expressing any face image as a linear combination of some of

them. In the facial recognition branch of biometrics,

Eigen faces

eigenfaces provide a means of applying data compression to faces

for identification purposes. Research related to eigen vision systems

determining hand gestures has also been made.

Similar to this concept, eigenvoices represent the general direction of

variability in human pronunciations of a particular utterance, such as a word in

a language. Based on a linear combination of such eigenvoices, a new voice

pronunciation of the word can be constructed. These concepts have been

found useful in automatic speech recognition systems, for speaker adaptation.

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