## Monday, February 17, 2014

### The Sherman-Morrison Formula

In a recent post, I mentioned how the upfront cost of LU decomposition pays for itself when solving a system of linear equations $Ax=b_i, \quad \quad i = 1, 2, ... N.$ Now suppose the (presumably large) matrix $A$ was modified slightly to form a new matrix $A'$. Let us assume that we had a LU factorization of the original unmodified matrix, which would have allowed us to solve $Ax=b$ very efficiently.

If we now wanted to solve $A'x=b$, can we somehow avoid having to perform a brand new LU factorization on the modified matrix $A'$?

Recall that the factorization itself doesn't come very cheap.

The Sherman-Morrison formula (SMF) says "sure can!" as long as the modification can be expressed as an outer-product of two vectors. That is, $A' = A + uv^T.$ As an example, suppose that the element in the $(j,k)$ position $a_{jk}$ was changed to $a'_{kj}$. This modification can be expressed as,$A' = A + (a'_{jk} - a_{jk}) \mathbf{e}_{j} \mathbf{e}_{k}^T,$ where $\mathbf{e}_{j}$ is a vector with "1" in the row $j$ and zeroes everywhere else.

The Sherman-Morrison formula says $(A')^{-1} = (A+uv^T)^{-1} = A^{-1} - {A^{-1}uv^T A^{-1} \over 1 + v^T A^{-1}u}.$ The formula can be readily verified, as shown on wikipedia.

Note: The scalar analog to question the SMF seeks to address is: given $1/a$, how can you find $1/(a+b)$?

The SMF answer would be: $1/a \times \left(1- {b/a \over 1 + b/a} \right).$ Returning to the original problem $A'x = b \implies x = (A')^{-1} b$. Thus $x = A^{-1}b - {A^{-1}uv^T A^{-1}b \over 1 + v^T A^{-1}u}.$ We can set $y = A^{-1}b$, and $z=A^{-1}u$. Since a LU factorization is available for $A$, we can solve for $y$ and $z$ in $\mathcal{O}(m^2)$ operations, where $m$ is the size of the square matrix $A$.

This gives us $x = y - \left({v^T y \over 1 + v^T z}\right) z.$ In general, this can be performed in $\mathcal{O}(3 m^2)$ operations, as opposed to to $\mathcal{O}(m^3)$ for a fresh factorization.