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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Sturm Sequences and Random Eigenvalue Distributions


This paper proposes that the study of Sturm sequences is invaluable in the numerical computation and theoretical derivation of eigenvalue distributions of random matrix ensembles. We first explore the use of Sturm sequences to efficiently compute histograms of eigenvalues for symmetric tridiagonal matrices and apply these ideas to random matrix ensembles such as the β-Hermite ensemble. Using our techniques, we reduce the time to compute a histogram of the eigenvalues of such a matrix from O(n2+m) to O(mn) time where n is the dimension of the matrix and m is the number of bins (with arbitrary bin centers and widths) desired in the histogram (m is usually much smaller than n). Second, we derive analytic formulas in terms of iterated multivariate integrals for the eigenvalue distribution and the largest eigenvalue distribution for arbitrary symmetric tridiagonal random matrix models. As an example of the utility of this approach, we give a derivation of both distributions for the β-Hermite random matrix ensemble (for general β). Third, we explore the relationship between the Sturm sequence of a random matrix and its shooting eigenvectors. We show using Sturm sequences that assuming the eigenvector contains no zeros, the number of sign changes in a shooting eigenvector of parameter λ is equal to the number of eigenvalues greater than λ. Finally, we use the techniques presented in the first section to experimentally demonstrate a O(log n) growth relationship between the variance of histogram bin values and the order of the β-Hermite matrix ensemble. © SFoCM 2008.

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