I am asking this question in context to Regularization/Ridge Regression

Let's say that there is a Matrix A of dimension n x d, where n is the number of rows and d is the number of columns ( n may or may not be larger than d)

Consequently, we cannot say if ATA is Invertible or not, irrespective of what is n or d

Let's say we have a diagonal matrix D (with diagonal elements > 0) and if we add it to ATA as follows -


Can we say that the resulting matrix will always be invertible, irrespective whether n is larger or smaller than d ? OR can we say that adding a diagonal matrix to any matrix converts it into a full rank matrix?

I have read in the literature that the addition of a diagonal matrix D to ATA 'regularizes' ATA and it becomes invertible, irrespective whether n is larger or smaller than d, but I am looking for a formal proof to it.


2 Answers 2


I assume we're working over $\Bbb R$, the real numbers system.

Since $\mathbf A$ is an $\mathbf n \times \mathbf d$ matrix, $\mathbf A^{\mathbf T} \mathbf A$ is a $\mathbf d \times \mathbf d$ matrix; thus the context indicates that $\text{size}(\mathbf D) = \mathbf d$. We may set

$\mathbf D = \text{diag}(\mu_1, \mu_2, \ldots, \mu_{\mathbf d}), \tag 0$

where $\mu_i > 0$, $1 \le i \le \mathbf d$.


$0 \ne \mathbf x = (x_1, x_2, \ldots, x_{\mathbf d})^{\mathbf T} \in \Bbb R^{\mathbf d}; \tag 1$

then if $\langle \cdot, \cdot \rangle$ is the usual inner product on $\Bbb R^{\mathbf d}$, we have

$\langle \mathbf x, \mathbf A^{\mathbf T} \mathbf A \mathbf x \rangle = \langle \mathbf A \mathbf x, \mathbf A \mathbf x \rangle \ge 0; \tag 2$

furthermore, since the matrix $\mathbf D$ has only positive elements along is diagonal and zeroes elsewhere, we also have

$\langle \mathbf x, \mathbf D \mathbf x \rangle = \displaystyle \sum_1^{\mathbf d} \mu_i x_i^2 > 0; \tag 3$


$\langle x, (\mathbf D + \mathbf A^{\mathbf T} \mathbf A ) \mathbf x \rangle = \langle \mathbf x, \mathbf D \mathbf x \rangle + \langle \mathbf x, \mathbf A^{\mathbf T} \mathbf A \mathbf x \rangle > 0 \tag 4$

as well. By (4), $\mathbf D + \mathbf A^{\mathbf T} \mathbf A$ is positive definite; we further see that (4) precludes the possibility that

$(\mathbf D + \mathbf A^{\mathbf T}\mathbf A) \mathbf x = 0 \tag 5$

for any $\mathbf x \in \Bbb R^{\mathbf d}$; thus $\mathbf D + \mathbf A^{\mathbf T}\mathbf A$ is nonsingular, hence invertible, no matter what the values of $\mathbf d, \mathbf n > 0$ may be; in other words, $\mathbf D + \mathbf A^{\mathbf T}\mathbf A$ is of full rank $\mathbf d$.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thank you so much. I responded late because I had to learn/brush off quite a few things to make sense of the equations you had jotted down, but finally, they make sense to me. Many thanks for your precious time. Highly appreciated. Vielen lieben Dank :) $\endgroup$
    – cph_sto
    Commented Jan 7, 2018 at 19:28

Indeed: if $D$ a diagonal matrix with non-zero diagonal entries, then $D + A^TA$ will necessarily be invertible.

A succinct proof is as follows: we begin by noting that $A^TA$ is (symmetric and) positive semidefinite, and $D$ is (symmetric and) strictly positive definite. As such, $D + A^TA$ will also be strictly positive definite, and hence invertible.

  • $\begingroup$ At this time succinctness is beyond my ken, given that it has been quite some time since I left University. That said, thank you so much for your reply! $\endgroup$
    – cph_sto
    Commented Jan 7, 2018 at 19:32

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .