I'm trying to solve an homework question but I got stuck.

Let A be a m x n matrix with the SVD $A = U \Sigma V^*$ and $A^+ = (A^* A)^{-1} A^*$ its pseudoinverse.

I'm trying to get $A^+ = V \Sigma^{-1} U^*$, but I'm missing something.

Can anyone help me with this please?


  • $\begingroup$ If you are content with Sivaram Ambikasaran's or my answer you might want to accept one of them so that the question will be recognised as an answered one. $\endgroup$ – Rasmus Feb 19 '11 at 3:44
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    $\begingroup$ Saying "SVD decomposition" is not quite unlike saying "enter your PIN number into the ATM machine"... $\endgroup$ – J. M. isn't a mathematician Aug 3 '11 at 8:31
  • $\begingroup$ Fair enough! Thanks for the fix! =) $\endgroup$ – paulochf Aug 24 '11 at 21:06

$$ \begin{align} A^+ &= (A^*A)^{-1}A^* \\ &=(V\Sigma U^*U\Sigma V^*)^{-1} V\Sigma U^* \\ &=(V\Sigma^2 V^*)^{-1} V\Sigma U^* \\ &=(V^*)^{-1} \Sigma^{-2} V^{-1} V\Sigma U^* \\ &= V \Sigma^{-2}\Sigma U^* \\ &= V\Sigma^{-1}U^* \end{align} $$ using the properties of the matrices $U,V,\Sigma$ in the Singular_value_decomposition.

  • $\begingroup$ Hi Rasmus! I could get by myself until 3rd line. The 4th one was my point of doubt. I forgot to invert the $\left( \cdot \right)^{-1}$ sequence! Thanks in pointing that! =) $\endgroup$ – paulochf Feb 2 '11 at 15:12
  • $\begingroup$ It could happen that $\Sigma^{-1}$ does not exist. If $\sigma_i=0$ for some $i$. $\endgroup$ – Herman Jaramillo Aug 6 '19 at 20:44
  • $\begingroup$ If $\Sigma$ is not square (and thus not invertible), the result still holds! Just show directly that $(V \Sigma' \Sigma V')^{-1} = V(\Sigma' \Sigma )^+V'$ and that $(\Sigma' \Sigma )^+ \Sigma' = \Sigma^+$. The result will follow by adjusting the derivation in the answer. I'm not super familiar with the pseudoinverse + notation, but hopefully I'm using it correctly. $\endgroup$ – Smithey Jun 27 '20 at 2:10

First you need to assume that the matrix $A^*A$ is invertible. For which you need $n \leq m$ and rank($A$) is $n$.

So when $n \leq m$ and when rank($A$) is $n$, then the reduced SVD of $A$ is $A = U \Sigma V^*$ where $U \in \mathbb{R}^{m \times n}$, $\Sigma \in \mathbb{R}^{n \times n}$ and $V \in \mathbb{R}^{n \times n}$ such that $U^* U = I_{n \times n}$, $V^* V = I_{n \times n}$, $V V^* = I_{n \times n}$ and $\Sigma$ is a square diagonal matrix and has only (positive) real entries.

Note that $V^{-1}=V^*$.

Also note that $A^* = V \Sigma^* U^* = V \Sigma U^*$ since $\Sigma^* = \Sigma$.

Further note that if $M_1,M_2 \text{and} M_3$ are invertible matrices then $(M_1 M_2 M_3)^{-1} = M_3^{-1} M_2^{-1} M_1^{-1}$.

Use these to get the final answer.

  • $\begingroup$ Given that the question is homework - which I realise only now - it would have probably been better to restrict to hints like you did. Sorry. $\endgroup$ – Rasmus Feb 1 '11 at 22:37
  • $\begingroup$ Hey Sivaram, I was in a hurry when I posted, so it was a (bad one) typo. Thanks for fixing the title! $\endgroup$ – paulochf Feb 2 '11 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ I knew all these hints but I missed your "further note" and did not invert the sequence inside those parentheses. Thanks for your patience! $\endgroup$ – paulochf Feb 2 '11 at 15:14

If the dimensions of A are m x n and $m\not\equiv n$ then there isn't any way of deriving $A^+ = U\Sigma^{-1}V$. The reason is because $\Sigma$ has the same dimensions as $A$ therefore it is not invertible. If you see any source about SVD you will see that the equation is $A = U_{mxm} \Sigma_{mxn}V^T_{nxn}$. If A is rectangular maybe the possible derivation you're looking for is $$\begin{align} A^+ &=(A^TA)^{-1}A^T\\ &=(V\Sigma^TU^T U\Sigma V^T)^{-1}V\Sigma^TU^T\\ &=(V\Sigma^T\Sigma V^T)^{-1}V\Sigma^TU^T \\ &=(V^T)^{-1}(\Sigma^T \Sigma)^{-1}V^{-1}V\Sigma^TU^T \\ &=V(\Sigma^T \Sigma)^{-1}\Sigma^TU^T \end{align}$$

  • $\begingroup$ The result still holds for non-square matrices (unless I made a mistake); see my comment above $\endgroup$ – Smithey Jun 27 '20 at 2:12

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