Properties of a representation of a basis for the null space

Philip E. Gill, Walter Murray, Michael A. Saunders, G. W. Stewart, Margaret H. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Given a rectangular matrix A(x) that depends on the independent variables x, many constrained optimization methods involve computations with Z(x), a matrix whose columns form a basis for the null space of AT(x). When A is evaluated at a given point, it is well known that a suitable Z (satisfying ATZ = 0) can be obtained from standard matrix factorizations. However, Coleman and Sorensen have recently shown that standard orthogonal factorization methods may produce orthogonal bases that do not vary continuously with x; they also suggest several techniques for adapting these schemes so as to ensure continuity of Z in the neighborhood of a given point. This paper is an extension of an earlier note that defines the procedure for computing Z. Here, we first describe how Z can be obtained by updating an explicit QR factorization with Householder transformations. The properties of this representation of Z with respect to perturbations in A are discussed, including explicit bounds on the change in Z. We then introduce regularized Householder transformations, and show that their use implies continuity of the full matrix Q. The convergence of Z and Q under appropriate assumptions is then proved. Finally, we indicate why the chosen form of Z is convenient in certain methods for nonlinearly constrained optimization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-186
Number of pages15
JournalMathematical Programming
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1985


  • Matrix Factorization
  • Nonlinear Optimization
  • Null-Space Continuity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • General Mathematics


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