Hessenberg matrix

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

In linear algebra, a Hessenberg matrix is a special kind of square matrix, one that is "almost" triangular. To be exact, an upper Hessenberg matrix has zero entries below the first subdiagonal, and a lower Hessenberg matrix has zero entries above the first superdiagonal.[1] They are named after Karl Hessenberg.[2]

For example:

is upper Hessenberg and

is lower Hessenberg.

Computer programming[edit]

Many linear algebra algorithms require significantly less computational effort when applied to triangular matrices, and this improvement often carries over to Hessenberg matrices as well. If the constraints of a linear algebra problem do not allow a general matrix to be conveniently reduced to a triangular one, reduction to Hessenberg form is often the next best thing. In fact, reduction of any matrix to a Hessenberg form can be achieved in a finite number of steps (for example, through Householder's algorithm of unitary similarity transforms). Subsequent reduction of Hessenberg matrix to a triangular matrix can be achieved through iterative procedures, such as shifted QR-factorization. In eigenvalue algorithms, the Hessenberg matrix can be further reduced to a triangular matrix through Shifted QR-factorization combined with deflation steps. Reducing a general matrix to a Hessenberg matrix and then reducing further to a triangular matrix, instead of directly reducing a general matrix to a triangular matrix, often economizes the arithmetic involved in the QR algorithm for eigenvalue problems.


The product of a Hessenberg matrix with a triangular matrix is again Hessenberg. More precisely, if A is upper Hessenberg and T is upper triangular, then AT and TA are upper Hessenberg.

A matrix that is both upper Hessenberg and lower Hessenberg is a tridiagonal matrix.

Hessenberg operator[edit]

The Hessenberg operator is an infinite dimensional Hessenberg matrix. It commonly occurs as the generalization of the Jacobi operator to a system of orthogonal polynomials for the space of square-integrable holomorphic functions over some domain -- that is, a Bergman space. In this case, the Hessenberg operator is the right-shift operator S, given by


The eigenvalues of the each principle submatrix of the Hessenberg operator are given by the characteristic polynomial for that submatrix. These polynomials are called the Bergman polynomials, and provide an orthogonal polynomial basis for Bergman space.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Horn & Johnson (1985), page 28; Stoer & Bulirsch (2002), page 251
  2. ^ Biswa Nath Datta (2010) Numerical Linear Algebra and Applications, 2nd Ed., Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) ISBN 978-0-89871-685-6, p. 307


External links[edit]