isSymmetric {base}R Documentation

Test if a Matrix or other Object is Symmetric (Hermitian)


Generic function to test if object is symmetric or not. Currently only a matrix method is implemented, where a complex matrix Z must be “Hermitian” for isSymmetric(Z) to be true.


isSymmetric(object, ...)
## S3 method for class 'matrix'
isSymmetric(object, tol = 100 * .Machine$double.eps,
            tol1 = 8 * tol, ...)



any R object; a matrix for the matrix method.


numeric scalar >= 0. Smaller differences are not considered, see all.equal.numeric.


numeric scalar >= 0. isSymmetric.matrix() ‘pre-tests’ the first and last few rows for fast detection of ‘obviously’ asymmetric cases with this tolerance. Setting it to length zero will skip the pre-tests.


further arguments passed to methods; the matrix method passes these to all.equal. If the row and column names of object are allowed to differ for the symmetry check do use check.attributes = FALSE!


The matrix method is used inside eigen by default to test symmetry of matrices up to rounding error, using all.equal. It might not be appropriate in all situations.

Note that a matrix m is only symmetric if its rownames and colnames are identical. Consider using unname(m).


logical indicating if object is symmetric or not.

See Also

eigen which calls isSymmetric when its symmetric argument is missing.


isSymmetric(D3 <- diag(3)) # -> TRUE

D3[2, 1] <- 1e-100
isSymmetric(D3) # TRUE
isSymmetric(D3, tol = 0) # FALSE for zero-tolerance

## Complex Matrices - Hermitian or not
Z <- sqrt(matrix(-1:2 + 0i, 2)); Z <- t(Conj(Z)) %*% Z
isSymmetric(Z)      # TRUE
isSymmetric(Z + 1)  # TRUE
isSymmetric(Z + 1i) # FALSE -- a Hermitian matrix has a *real* diagonal

colnames(D3) <- c("X", "Y", "Z")
isSymmetric(D3)                         # FALSE (as row and column names differ)
isSymmetric(D3, check.attributes=FALSE) # TRUE  (as names are not checked)

[Package base version 3.6.0 Index]