# SVD - Linking right and left singular vectors

I'm working through the textbook mathematics for machine learning and have hit a sticking point in SVD. If the matrix $$A \in \mathbb{R}^{m \times n}$$ then, I understand how the right and left singular vector $$V$$ and $$U$$ are derived from the diagonalization of $$A^TA$$ and $$AA^T$$. However, the book states

The last step is to link up all the parts we touched upon so far. We have an orthonormal set of right-singular vectors in $$V$$ . To finish the construction of the SVD, we connect them with the orthonormal vectors $$U$$ . To reach this goal, we use the fact the images of the $$\mathbf v_i$$ under $$A$$ have to be orthogonal, too. We can show this by using the results from Section 3.4. We require that the inner product between $$A\mathbf v_i$$ and $$A\mathbf v_j$$ must be 0 for $$i \ne j$$ . For any two orthogonal eigenvectors $$\mathbf v_i$$ , $$\mathbf v_j$$ , $$i \ne j$$ , it holds that: $$(A\mathbf v_i)^T(A\mathbf v_j) = \mathbf v_i^T(A^T A)\mathbf v_j = \mathbf v_i^T(\lambda_j \mathbf v_j ) = \lambda_j \mathbf v_i \mathbf v_j = 0 .$$

My question is, how does the final equation go from $$\mathbf v_i^T(A^T A)\mathbf v_j = \mathbf v_i^T(\lambda_j \mathbf v_j )$$? How does $$A^T A$$ end up as a scalar value $$\lambda$$? Can somebody add a more intuitive explaination to the above?

• What is $\lambda_j$ here? The eigenvalue of $A^T A$ corresponding to $\mathbf{v}_j$? – cosmic_philosopher Oct 8 '20 at 11:14

Remember how the $$v$$s were defined --- they're the eigenvectors of the square matrix $$A^T A$$, so for each $$k = 1, 2, \ldots, n$$, there's a number $$\lambda_k$$ with $$(A^T A) v_k = \lambda_k.$$ In particular, for $$k = j$$, we have $$(A^T A) v_j = \lambda_j.$$
Just to be clear, you've said that they arise from "the diagonalization of $$M = A^TA$$," and it may not be clear that this makes them eigenvectors. Well, suppose that $$Q^{-1} M Q = D(\lambda_1, \ldots, \lambda_n)$$ a diagonal matrix with numbers we'll call "$$\lambda$$s" on the diagonal. Then multiplying through by $$Q$$ we get $$MQ = QD$$ If we call the first column of $$Q$$ by the name $$v_1$$, then this can be read as saying, by equating the first column of each side, that $$Mv_1 = Q \pmatrix{\lambda_1\\0\\ \vdots \\ 0} = \lambda_1 v_1.$$ and similarly for other columns. In other words, when we diagonalized $$M$$, the diagonalizing matrix $$Q$$ has the property that its columns (which we call $$v_1, v_2, ...$$) are each eigenvectors, with eigenvalues being the corresponding entries of the diagonal matrix $$D$$.
• Thank you John. I'd clearly overlooked the most basic concept of $Ax = \lambda x$, which in this case is $(A^T A)x = \lambda x$ – Grant B Oct 8 '20 at 11:22