# Matrix Inverse

This lesson defines the matrix inverse, and shows how to determine whether the inverse of a matrix exists.

## Matrix Inversion

Suppose A is an n x n matrix. The inverse of A is another n x n matrix, denoted A-1, that satisfies the following conditions.

AA-1 = A-1A = In

where In is the identity matrix. Below, with an example, we illustrate the relationship between a matrix and its inverse.

 2 1 3 4
 0.8 -0.2 -0.6 0.4
=
 0.8 -0.2 -0.6 0.4
 2 1 3 4
=
 1 0 0 1
A A-1 A-1 A I

Not every square matrix has an inverse; but if a matrix does have an inverse, it is unique.

## Does the Inverse Exist?

There are two ways to determine whether the inverse of a square matrix exists.

• Determine its rank. The rank of a matrix is a unique number associated with a square matrix. If the rank of an n x n matrix is less than n, the matrix does not have an inverse. We showed how to determine matrix rank previously.

• Compute its determinant. The determinant is another unique number associated with a square matrix. When the determinant for a square matrix is equal to zero, the inverse for that matrix does not exist. We showed how to find the determinant of a matrix previously.

A square matrix that has an inverse is said to be nonsingular or invertible; a square matrix that does not have an inverse is said to be singular.

## Test Your Understanding of This Lesson

Problem 1

Consider the matrix A, shown below.

A =
 2 4 1 2

Which of the following statements are true?

(A) The rank of matrix A is 1.
(B) The determinant of matrix A is 0.
(C) Matrix A is singular.
(D) All of the above.
(E) None of the above.

Solution

• The rank of a matrix is defined as the maximum number of linearly independent row vectors in the matrix. Rows 1 and 2 of matrix A are not independent, since Row 1 = 2 * Row 2. Therefore, A has only one independent row, so its rank is 1. Previously, we described how to compute matrix rank.

• Previously, we showed how to find the determinant of a 2 x 2 matrix. We use that approach to find the determinant of A, which is denoted |A|.

|A| = ( A11 * A22 ) - ( A12 * A21 )
|A| = ( 2 * 2 ) - ( 4 * 1 ) = 4 - 4 = 0

• Matrix A is not a full rank matrix. And its determinant is equal to zero. Therefore, matrix A does not have an inverse, which means that matrix A is singular.

Note: If a square matrix is less than full rank, its determinant is equal to zero; and vice versa.