Author Archives: Nick Higham

What Is a Matrix Function?

If you give an array as the argument to a mathematical function in a programming language or problem solving environment you are likely to receive the result of applying the function to each component of the array. For example, here … Continue reading

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Randsvd Matrices with Large Growth Factors

Sixty years ago James Wilkinson published his backward error analysis of Gaussian elimination for solving a linear system , where is a nonsingular matrix. He showed that in floating-point arithmetic the computed solution satisfies where is the unit roundoff and … Continue reading

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What Is Bfloat16 Arithmetic?

Bfloat16 is a floating-point number format proposed by Google. The name stands for “Brain Floating Point Format” and it originates from the Google Brain artificial intelligence research group at Google. Bfloat16 is a 16-bit, base 2 storage format that allocates … Continue reading

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What Is the Matrix Exponential?

The exponential of a square matrix is defined by the power series (introduced by Laguerre in 1867) That the series converges follows from the convergence of the series for scalars. Various other formulas are available, such as The matrix exponential … Continue reading

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Simulating Low Precision Floating-Point Arithmetics in MATLAB

At least five floating-point arithmetics are available in mainstream hardware: the IEEE double precision (fp64), single precision (fp32), and half precision (fp16) formats, bfloat16, and tf32, introduced in the recently announced NVIDIA A100, which uses the NVIDIA Ampere GPU architecture. … Continue reading

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What Is a Matrix Square Root?

A square root of an matrix is any matrix such that . For a scalar (), there are two square roots (which are equal if ), and they are real if and only if is real and nonnegative. For , … Continue reading

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1984 Symposium in Honour of James Wilkinson

In September 1984 a two-day Symposium on Computational Mathematics–State of the Art was held at Argonne National Laboratory in honour of James Hardy Wilkinson on his 65th birthday. Wilkinson was one of the leading figures in 20th century numerical analysis. … Continue reading

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Singular Values of Rank-1 Perturbations of an Orthogonal Matrix

What effect does a rank-1 perturbation of norm 1 to an orthogonal matrix have on the extremal singular values of the matrix? Here, and throughout this post, the norm is the 2-norm. The largest singular value of the perturbed matrix … Continue reading

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Which Fountain Pen Ink for Writing Mathematics?

If, like me, you sometimes prefer to write mathematics on paper before typing into LaTeX, you have the choice of pencil or pen as your writing tool. I’ve written before about writing in pencil. My current tools of choice are … Continue reading

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What Is IEEE Standard Arithmetic?

The IEEE Standard 754, published in 1985 and revised in 2008 and 2019, is a standard for binary and decimal floating-point arithmetic. The standard for decimal arithmetic (IEEE Standard 854) was separate when it was first published in 1987, but … Continue reading

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