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Re: Strange Det function behavior.

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg65459] Re: [mg65445] Strange Det function behavior.
  • From: "Carl K. Woll" <carlw at>
  • Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2006 06:59:23 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Alexander wrote:
> Dear MathGroup!
> Suppose we have defined the following function:
> f[x_Integer] := Det[ Table[ Random[]*t + i/j, {i, x}, {j, x} ] ];
> Now try to make a table for different values of argument (matrix
> dimension):
> Table[f[i], {i, 12}] // TableForm
> It takes a considerable time on my Celeron 1700 with Mathematica 5.2
> under WinXP to make such a table.
> Once we made this table we see very strange bihavior, all results
> before x=12 dimension are polynoms,
> but starting from x=12 result become very big and very
> strange, and in fact it's not even a polynom.
> I spend several hours try to understand why system acts so strange, and
> finally came to idea that the answer is in numbers representation and
> inner
> system algorithms used to evaluate Det function.
> It would be very interesting to see explanations of this result.
> Thanks for your answers!
> Alexander.

I won't try to give you an explanation, but for your particular problem 
there is an undocumented workaround. The function 
CharacteristicPolynomial can accept a list of two matrices as its first 



Det[m - a t]

So, we can use CharacteristicPolynomial for your problem. For example, 
here is a 12x12 matrix:

matrix = Table[ Random[]*t + i/j, {i, 12}, {j, 12} ];

Extract the {m,a} matrices:

{m,a} = {matrix /. t->0, -D[matrix,t]};

Use CharacteristicPolynomial:


                      11              12
{0. Second, 1.24466 t   + 0.0082288 t  }

An instantaneous result for 12x12 matrices.

Carl Woll
Wolfram Research

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