MATLAB Function Reference    

Find eigenvalues and eigenvectors



d = eig(A) returns a vector of the eigenvalues of matrix A.

d = eig(A,B) returns a vector containing the generalized eigenvalues, if A and B are square matrices.

[V,D] = eig(A) produces matrices of eigenvalues (D) and eigenvectors (V) of matrix A, so that A*V = V*D. Matrix D is the canonical form of A--a diagonal matrix with A's eigenvalues on the main diagonal. Matrix V is the modal matrix--its columns are the eigenvectors of A.

If W is a matrix such that W'*A = D*W', the columns of W are the left eigenvectors of A . Use [W,D] = eig(A.'); W = conj(W) to compute the left eigenvectors.

[V,D] = eig(A,'nobalance') finds eigenvalues and eigenvectors without a preliminary balancing step. Ordinarily, balancing improves the conditioning of the input matrix, enabling more accurate computation of the eigenvectors and eigenvalues. However, if a matrix contains small elements that are really due to roundoff error, balancing may scale them up to make them as significant as the other elements of the original matrix, leading to incorrect eigenvectors. Use the nobalance option in this event. See the balance function for more details.

[V,D] = eig(A,B) produces a diagonal matrix D of generalized eigenvalues and a full matrix V whose columns are the corresponding eigenvectors so that A*V = B*V*D.

[V,D] = eig(A,B,flag) specifies the algorithm used to compute eigenvalues and eigenvectors. flag can be:

Computes the generalized eigenvalues of A and B using the Cholesky factorization of B. This is the default for symmetric (Hermitian) A and symmetric (Hermitian) positive definite B.
Ignores the symmetry, if any, and uses the QZ algorithm as it would for nonsymmetric (non-Hermitian) A and B.


The eigenvalue problem is to determine the nontrivial solutions of the equation

where is an n-by-n matrix, is a length n column vector, and is a scalar. The n values of that satisfy the equation are the eigenvalues, and the corresponding values of are the right eigenvectors. In MATLAB, the function eig solves for the eigenvalues , and optionally the eigenvectors .

The generalized eigenvalue problem is to determine the nontrivial solutions of the equation

where both and are n-by-n matrices and is a scalar. The values of that satisfy the equation are the generalized eigenvalues and the corresponding values of are the generalized right eigenvectors.

If is nonsingular, the problem could be solved by reducing it to a standard eigenvalue problem

Because can be singular, an alternative algorithm, called the QZ method, is necessary.

When a matrix has no repeated eigenvalues, the eigenvectors are always independent and the eigenvector matrix V diagonalizes the original matrix A if applied as a similarity transformation. However, if a matrix has repeated eigenvalues, it is not similar to a diagonal matrix unless it has a full (independent) set of eigenvectors. If the eigenvectors are not independent then the original matrix is said to be defective. Even if a matrix is defective, the solution from eig satisfies A*X = X*D.


The matrix

has elements on the order of roundoff error. It is an example for which the nobalance option is necessary to compute the eigenvectors correctly. Try the statements


MATLAB uses LAPACK routines to compute eigenvalues and eigenvectors:

Real symmetric A
Real nonsymmetric A:

  • With preliminary balance step
DGEEV (with SCLFAC = 2 instead of 8 in DGEBAL)
  • d = eig(A,'nobalance')
  • [V,D] = eig(A,'nobalance')
Hermitian A
Non-Hermitian A:

  • With preliminary balance step
ZGEEV (with SCLFAC = 2 instead of 8 in ZGEBAL)
  • d = eig(A,'nobalance')
  • [V,D] = eig(A,'nobalance')
Real symmetric A,
symmetric positive definite B.
    Special case:
    eig(A,B,'qz') for real A, B
    (same as real nonsymmetric A, real
    general B)


Real nonsymmetric A, real general B
Complex Hermitian A,
Hermitian positive definite B.
    Special case:
    eig(A,B,'qz') for complex A or B
    (same as complex non-Hermitian A,
    complex B)


Complex non-Hermitian A, complex B

See Also

balance, condeig, eigs, hess, qz, schur


[1]  Anderson, E., Z. Bai, C. Bischof, S. Blackford, J. Demmel, J. Dongarra, J. Du Croz, A. Greenbaum, S. Hammarling, A. McKenney, and D. Sorensen, LAPACK User's Guide ( lapack_lug.html), Third Edition, SIAM, Philadelphia, 1999.

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