Categories: Algorithms, Mathematics.

# Gram-Schmidt method

Given a set of linearly independent non-orthonormal vectors $$\ket*{V_1}, \ket*{V_2}, ...$$ from a Hilbert space, the Gram-Schmidt method turns them into an orthonormal set $$\ket*{n_1}, \ket*{n_2}, ...$$ as follows:

1. Take the first vector $$\ket*{V_1}$$ and normalize it to get $$\ket*{n_1}$$:

\begin{aligned} \ket*{n_1} = \frac{\ket*{V_1}}{\sqrt{\braket*{V_1}{V_1}}} \end{aligned}

2. Begin loop. Take the next non-orthonormal vector $$\ket*{V_j}$$, and subtract from it its projection onto every already-processed vector:

\begin{aligned} \ket*{n_j'} = \ket*{V_j} - \ket*{n_1} \braket*{n_1}{V_j} - \ket*{n_2} \braket*{n_2}{V_j} - ... - \ket*{n_{j-1}} \braket*{n_{j-1}}{V_{j-1}} \end{aligned}

This leaves only the part of $$\ket*{V_j}$$ which is orthogonal to $$\ket*{n_1}$$, $$\ket*{n_2}$$, etc. This why the input vectors must be linearly independent; otherwise $$\ket{n_j'}$$ may become zero at some point.

3. Normalize the resulting orthogonal vector $$\ket*{n_j'}$$ to make it orthonormal:

\begin{aligned} \ket*{n_j} = \frac{\ket*{n_j'}}{\sqrt{\braket*{n_j'}{n_j'}}} \end{aligned}

4. Loop back to step 2, taking the next vector $$\ket*{V_{j+1}}$$.

If you are unfamiliar with this notation, take a look at Dirac notation.

1. R. Shankar, Principles of quantum mechanics, 2nd edition, Springer.