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Getting Started with Eigendecomposition in Python

March 11, 2022

Eigendecomposition is a technique used in Linear Algebra to break down a matrix into its constituent parts.

In this tutorial, we will focus on eigenvalues and the eigenvectors of a matrix to derive Eigendecomposition. We will also work with square matrices because they support the computation of eigenvalues and eigenvectors.

Let’s use a simple matrix to understand how Eigendecomposition is derived.

Suppose we have a 2 x 2 square matrix A:


Our first step is to determine its eigenvalues and eigenvectors. If you compute the eigenvalues, you should get:


The corresponding eigenvectors to these eigenvalues are:


When we normalize our eigenvectors, we should see the following output:


We can develop the following equations using these components because they explain eigenvalues and eigenvectors:



If we compress these two systems into a matrix of eigenvectors and a matrix of eigenvalues, we get:


We can also use the following formula:


When we use $U$ and $\lambda$ in equation $(i)$, we get the following equation:


To get our matrix $A$ from this relationship, we take $U$ inverse, i.e., $U^{-1}$, on both sides of the matrix equation above. We end up with the equation below:

$A=U\Lambda U^{-1}$

This component is what we call Eigendecomposition. Matrix $U$ contains eigenvectors and $\Lambda$ has eigenvalues.

Why is this matrix decomposition important?

As stated, a matrix is a transformation that maps a vector from one point to another in the vector space.

In machine learning algorithms, we often apply such transformations several times until the final output is obtained at each phase of the algorithm.

However, the application also depends on the complexity of the problem. This means at the end, we will have taken our matrix raised to a power of a certain number.

To understand this, suppose we have the following square matrix:

$A^{P}$, where $p=16$

A simple approach to computing this matrix is to take the product of all possible pairs at each iteration.

Let’s determine the number of iterations needed to compute this matrix until we get our final output as $A^p$.

We can explicitly write A as:


When we take the product of each pair of the A matrix in the first iteration, we get:


In the next iteration, we check the product of the pairs of the matrix above. The result is:


If we perform the calculation again, we obtain:


We determine the final output as shown below:


To determine the final output, we performed the multiplication in four different iterations.

When the value of p is huge, we can use the formula $log_2(p)$. This will enable us to know the number of iterations we need for the final output.

It’s clear that the number of iterations changes with the size of p. This makes the approach inefficient when a large number is applied.

Let’s apply Eigendecomposition to this problem:

$A=U\Lambda U^{-1}$

When we write A explicitly, we should have the following output:


It’s easy to compute this long chain on the right-hand side of the equation above. The product of a matrix and its inverse equals an identity matrix.

This means that any matrix multiplied with an identity matrix equals the matrix itself. Applying this knowledge to the equation above, it condenses to:

$A=U\Lambda^{16} U^{-1}$

The only matrix we need to compute is $\Lambda^{16}$.

$\Lambda$ is a diagonal matrix. We calculate it using the power of its diagonal components.

To determine the number of iterations required for the output, we first carry out the following multiplication in the first iteration:

$\Lambda^{16} U^{-1}$.

We then take $U*$o (output from the first iteration) and transfer it to the second iteration.

Therefore, regardless of the size of p, in Eigendecomposition, the number of times we carry out our computations remains constant.

Let’s now perform eigendecomposition in python.

Implementation of Eigendecomposition in Python

We only need the Numpy Python library for this tutorial. Let’s import it as follows:

import numpy as np

We will use the following square matrix in this Python demo:


$M=\begin{bmatrix} 1&2&1\ 0&1&0\ 1&0&1 \end{bmatrix}$

Let’s create this matrix in Python:

# create our matrix
M = np.array([ [1,2,1], [0,1,0], [1, 0, 1] ])

Let’s print the matrix to understand its components:



[[1 2 1]
 [0 1 0]
 [1 0 1]]

To get the components of eigendecomposition, we first need to compute eigenvalues and eigenvectors:

#getting the eigenvalues and eigenvvector of M
Lambda, U = np.linalg.eig(M)

Let’s print the eigenvectors and eigenvalues:

## eigenvectors
[[ 7.07106781e-01 -7.07106781e-01  2.00093587e-17]
 [ 0.00000000e+00  0.00000000e+00  4.47213595e-01]
 [ 7.07106781e-01  7.07106781e-01 -8.94427191e-01]]


[2. 0. 1.]

We need $\Lambda$ and $U^-{1}$ to calculate all components of our Eigendecomposition.

We will first utilize the Numpy inv() function to determine $U^{-1}$ using the inverse of $U$, as demonstrated below:

# getting U inverse
inv_U = np.linalg.inv(U)


array([[ 0.70710678,  1.41421356,  0.70710678],
       [-0.70710678,  1.41421356,  0.70710678],
       [ 0.        ,  2.23606798,  0.        ]])

Let’s compute $\Lambda$ on the diagonal matrix. We will use the diag() function with the Lambda vector to obtain this matrix:

Λ = np.diag(Lambda)


array([[2., 0., 0.],
       [0., 0., 0.],
       [0., 0., 1.]])

Since we have the three components of our eigendecomposition, let’s reconstruct the original matrix:

def round(values, decs=0): $# we don't want to include decimal points in our returned matrix
  return np.round(values*10**decs)/(10**decs)

vec =,Λ, inv_U)) # taking the product of our three matrices
round(vec, decs=0)

When we execute the code above, we should have the following output:

array([[ 1.,  2.,  1.],
       [ 0.,  1.,  0.],
       [ 1., -0.,  1.]])

In the code above, we have successively recovered our original matrix from its Eigen components.


In this tutorial, we learned how to derive eigendecomposition. We also used a simple illustration to determine how efficient this form of decomposition is compared to ordinary matrix multiplication.

Finally, we looked at how to perform eigendecomposition using Python. You can now use this knowledge to craft other quality applications.

Peer Review Contributions by: Wanja Mike