I need to generate an nxn matrix with random entries, but I also need all of the eigenvalues to be negative (real or complex doesn't matter). I have:

r = 4; (* matrix dimension *)
dom = {1, 10}; (* domain of random numbers *)
eig = DiagonalMatrix[-RandomInteger[dom, r]] (* eigenvalues in diagonal matrix *)
v = RandomVariate[NormalDistribution[], {r, r}] (* normalized eigenvectors? *)
A = v.eig.v

It seems like this should work, as the eigenvalues are all negative, but sometimes I still get positive eigenvalues. What am I doing wrong here?



2 Answers 2


RandomVariate[NormalDistribution[], {r, r}] does not give you normalized eigenvectors. To obtain an orthonormal basis, you can first generate a random matrix, and then apply Orthogonalize to it. Following is the correct code.

r=4;(*matrix dimension*)
dom={1,10};(*domain of random numbers*)
eig=DiagonalMatrix[-RandomInteger[dom,r]] (*eigenvalues in diagonal matrix*)
v=Orthogonalize@RandomVariate[NormalDistribution[], {r, r}](*orthonormal eigenvectors*)
  • $\begingroup$ For uniformly distributed orthogonal matrices, use v = Orthogonalize[RandomVariate[NormalDistribution[], {r, r}]] instead. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 19, 2019 at 10:48
  • $\begingroup$ @J.M. thanks for pointing out, I have updated the answer $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 20, 2019 at 8:54
  • $\begingroup$ Random orthogonal matrices can also be produced with RandomVariate[CircularRealMatrixDistribution[r]]. However, J.M.'s approach seems to be faster. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 20, 2019 at 11:02

Just make a random matrix with all positive eigenvalues and then add a minus sign:

r = 4;
M = -#.ConjugateTranspose[#]&[RandomVariate[NormalDistribution[], {r,r,2}].{1,I}]

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