Hotelling's Method

I would like to use this first blog post to introduce Hotelling's method for computing the inverse of a matrix. We'll focus on the symmetric case. First let's begin by asking why we would want to directly compute the inverse of a matrix. After all, one of the first things you'll learn in any numerical linear algebra class is to always avoid explicitly inverting a matrix.

However, in quantum chemistry it's actually fairly normal to compute a matrix inverse. In particular, when solving the generalized eigenvalue problem:

$$\begin{equation}H\phi = \lambda S \phi.\end{equation}$$

We can reduce this generalized eigenvalue problem to the standard eigenvalue problem using the inverse square root of the overlap matrix:

$$\begin{equation} S^{-\frac{1}{2}}HS^{-\frac{1}{2}}\phi = \lambda \phi. \end{equation}$$

Performing this calculation is acceptable because we can reuse the inverse over many scf loops, and because the overlap matrix is usually well conditioned. In the canonical density matrix purification method of Palser[1] (which we will probably discuss in more detail later), one also finds the matrix inverse:

$$\begin{equation} p_0 = \frac{\lambda}{2}(\mu S^{-1} - S^{-1}HS^{-1}) + \frac{1}{2}S^{-1} \end{equation}$$

where $p_0$ is an initial guess at the density matrix.

Hotelling's method is very simple to implement. It works through the following iteration:

$$\begin{equation} X_{n+1} = 2X_{n} - X_{n}SX_{n} \end{equation}$$

where $\lim_{n \to \infty} X_n = S^{-1}$. Palser cites the famous Numerical Recipes book for this method. Disappointingly, it seems that this method is called "Hotelling's Method" because it was invented by statistician Harold Hotelling, and not because it leaves chocolates on your pillows. I've seen some people mention reference [2] as the original paper. Hotelling himself notes that it was "noticed" in reference [3].

The condition for convergence is (from [2]) $ |1 - SX_0 | < 1$. So how should we pick an initial $X_0$? One simple way is to just scale the initial matrix. Consider the eigendecomposition of our initial matrix:

$$\begin{equation} S = UDU^T. \end{equation}$$

Now let's plug the decomposition into the convergence condition, with a scaling value $\alpha$:

$$\begin{equation} |1 - UDU^T\alpha UDU^T | < 1. \end{equation}$$

$$\begin{equation} |1 - \alpha DD | < 1. \end{equation}$$

The effect of multiplying the diagonal matrix of eigenvalues is to square all the eigenvalues. Hence they are all positive. Thus if $\alpha$ is equal to the inverse of the largest eigenvalue squared, we satisfy the equation. The largest eigenvalue can be cheaply computed using the power method.

This is just a simple starting guess that I've introduced, there are better ones out there in the literature, such as the guess in reference [4] which is specific to overlap matrices (homework question: how can we improve our $\alpha$ value for overlap matrices?).

Let's take a look at a simple implementation:

# Libraries
from scipy.sparse.linalg import eigsh, norm
from scipy.sparse import identity, rand
from sys import argv

# Input Parameters
dimension = int(argv[1])
sparsity = float(argv[2])

# Initial Matrix
matrix = rand(dimension, dimension, density=sparsity, format="csr")
matrix = matrix + matrix.T

# Initial Guess
largest_eigenvalue = eigsh(matrix, k=1, which='LM',
inverse_mat = matrix * 1.0/(largest_eigenvalue[0]**2)

# Iterate
for i in range(0, 100):
    inverse_mat = 2*inverse_mat - \
  norm_value = norm( - identity(dimension))
  if norm_value < 1e-8:

print(norm( - identity(dimension)))

The implementation highlights two further features of this algorithm. First, the main computational kernel is matrix multiplication, which is great for high performance computing. Second, it's trivial to extend to the sparse case by simply replacing the dense multiplies with sparse multiplies.

[1] Palser, Adam HR, and David E. Manolopoulos. "Canonical purification of the density matrix in electronic-structure theory." Physical Review B 58, no. 19 (1998): 12704.

[2] Hotelling, Harold. "Some new methods in matrix calculation." The Annals of Mathematical Statistics 14, no. 1 (1943): 1-34.

[3] Frazer, Robert Alexander, William Jolly Duncan, Arthur Roderich Collar, and A. A. Mullin. "Elementary matrices and some applications to dynamics and differential equations." American Journal of Physics 29, no. 8 (1961): 555-556.

[4] Ozaki, T. "Efficient recursion method for inverting an overlap matrix." Physical Review B 64, no. 19 (2001): 195110.