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From Greg Sterijevski <>
Subject Re: [math] RealMatrix.set(double)
Date Fri, 26 Aug 2011 23:31:35 GMT
Okay, here we go!

Yes, every matrix can be written or considered sparse. My point is that
knowing the sparsity obeys a pattern (say diagonal) makes your life easier.

Maybe my muddled discussion has added more confusion, an example is in order
(to maximize the entropy, of course). If I was going to build a
"DiagonalRealMatrix" object,
I would store the minimum information:
1. Data - a vector of n reals
2. Indexer -
    public final int index( i, j ){
      if( i == j ) return j;
      return -1;

Presented the information that D is diagonal (through the Java Type System
or through a type variable that I explicitly set in the constructor), I know
that some operations can be made very simple. Say I want to take the inverse
of D, in place. The matrix function that takes the inverse doesn't need to
know much. Something like:

new DiagonalInvertFunction() {
      public void eval(double[] data) {
            for( int i = 0 ; i < data.length; i++){
              data[i] = 1.0/data[i];

Would be very quick and scale very well. Contrast this the case where we are
handed a sparse structure and attempt to invert it. Since we are not told
that it is diagonal, either we need to explicitly test for "diagonality" or
we proceed with some inversion method that can handle arbitrary forms of
sparseness. Both approaches (testing or using a sparse invertor) must be
more expensive? No?

Say that we are adding the diagonal above to a generic matrix (this is a bit
outside of the scope of the discussion). I know, because of the pattern of
the matrix, I need only make n additions, instead of looping naively through
based on some striding scheme.

Where my idea falls apart is precisely in operations like the one you cite
below. Say that the user wants to calculate, elementwise, the cosine of each
element in this diagonal matrix. Here the situation is messy because the
pattern of the data changes. The tidy vector which stores just the diagonal
elements, is not appropriate since the diagonal matrix now becomes a general

In the end, I think I see your point, but, its an empirical question as to
whether my examples (as archetypes) are more likely to occur in practice
versus your example.


On Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 1:41 PM, Ted Dunning <> wrote:

> On Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 7:38 AM, Greg Sterijevski <
> >wrote:
> > Ted,
> >
> > When you say
> >
> > "Functions are good, but giving a tiny  bit
> > more information to the function is also a great idea"
> >
> > do you mean information on indexing and shape of the data?
> >
> I meant the location of the element.  For instance, it would be super
> simple
> to define Hilbert's matrix if you had extra arguments to the function:
>    Matrix a = new DenseMatrix(10,10).assign(new ElementFunction() {
>       public double eval(int i, int j, double value) { return 1.0 / (1 + i
> + j); }
>    }
> Without the indexes, you are reduced to writing loops.  With the indexes,
> you have a very concise functional definition.
> I have missed this more than once in Mahout.
> > One thought I had, I am not sure if this is 100% applicable is the
> > following:
> >
> > 1. You have two types of data (in matrix) : structured and sparse.
> > 2. Structured data is a collection of elements that fits a certain
> pattern.
> > Some of which are
> >   i.) General matrix, stored rowwise
> >  ii.) General matrix, stored columnwise
> >  iii.) Diagonal matrix
> >
> Note that this is really just a special kind of sparse matrix.
> >  iii.) Upper/Lower triangular
> >  iv.) Symmetric stored in either upper triangular or lower triangular
> > compressed format
> >  v.) Banded
> >
> And so is this a kind of sparse matrix.
> >  The visitor should know the pattern and be given an indexer function.
> Why?
> Can you adduce a use case for knowing the pattern inside the visitor?
>  Isn't
> it true that most special cases fall into two situations:
> - the caller knows and can instantiate a special function fit for the
> purpose?  For instance, in computing an SVD, you *know* that you have a
> bi-diagonal form at some point.  You don't need to discover this.
> - standard sparse techniques work fine.  For instance, if you do have a
> banded matrix that just does the normal sparse thing for adding and
> multiplying, don't you get what you want?
> While I think that this breakdown pretty much covers it for element-wise
> functions, this clearly doesn't apply to functions of an entire matrix.  If
> you are doing an SVD, you may find it very advantageous to handle, say
> orthornormal matrices or diagonal offsets of a previous decomposition or
> banded forms specially.
> > The pattern designation eliminates superfluous calls to the indexer. You
> > would
> > not ask for element i,j when i ne j, if the matrix is diagonal.
> I think that I need to see a use case to respond.
> In general, you *do* need to see all the elements.  For instance, suppose
> that I am setting all elements of a matrix to (a_ij + 1)^2 or taking the
> cosine of all elements.
> It might be that you want to have a specialized assignment for just some
> elements.  Or you might want to have a strange kind of view that just
> doesn't have some elements.
> > ... The sparse structure is very important, but since you are unsure of
> how
> > the
> > sparseness occurs, whether there is a pattern or not, you could make
> blind
> > calls to the indexer, or the indexer itself could be class (in this case)
> > which returns to you a collection of acceptable tuples ( eg, element
> > locations which might or might not be zero...)
> >
> This is abstract enough that I don't know how to relate this to use cases.
>  Can you provide a specific example?
> If I want to do something to just the diagonal elements, I generally use
> the
> viewDiagonal method.  I can imagine a viewNonZero(double epsilon) which
> gives a view that is a matrix whose purpose in life is to restrict the
> scope
> of the assign operation, but I usually just use the iterateNonZero element
> iterator for those cases.
> > In cases of very small problems, Luc's 3x3 or 6x6 matrix, it makes sense
> to
> > have subclasses of the general matrix, with rows and columns fixed to be
> 3
> > or 6, respectively.
> >
> Absolutely true.  It might even pay to automatically generate special cases
> for known important sizes (3x3, yes, 4x4, yes, 6x6, yes, 3x5, probably
> not).

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