I am in a situation where as part of a sort of inverse power method scheme, I want to very often perform the following step:

  1. Apply a symmetric rank one update $uu^\top$ to my inverse matrix $A^{-1}$
  2. Compute the QR decomposition of my updated inverse

Right now, I'm using Sherman-Morrison-Woodbury formula to update my inverse:

  1. Update $A^{-1}$ with Sherman-Morrison-Woodbury:
    • Let $a = 1 / (1 + u^\top A^{-1} u)$
    • Update $A^{-1} \gets A^{-1} - a A^{-1} u u^\top A^{-1}$

and then I'm recomputing the QR from scratch:

  1. Recompute QR: $QR = A^{-1}$.

However, I'm aware that it's possible to efficiently update a QR decomposition with a low-rank update. Unfortunately, as we can see above the Sherman-Morrison update looks to be full rank, so we can't make use of the QR update.

I'm doubtful, but maybe there is some approach I am missing that can avoid the hit of recomputing the whole QR?

(Also: there are a lot of other questions here about low rank updates of different factorizations here, and I didn't see anything along these lines. Also, I have looked through Matrix Computations without success.)


1 Answer 1


The update on the inverse is actually rank-one. You can group the terms as $(A^{-1}u)(A^{-1}u)^T$ because of the symmetry of $A$.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Good answer, but here the symmetry of A is irrelevant I think. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 21:13
  • $\begingroup$ Of course, thanks cdipaolo! And yeah I guess it works even without symmetry, although in my case the expression here is great. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 29, 2019 at 21:42

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