5 Best Ways to Compute the Moore-Penrose Pseudoinverse of a Matrix in Python

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πŸ’‘ Problem Formulation: Computing the Moore-Penrose pseudoinverse of a matrix is essential in many mathematical and engineering domains, particularly when dealing with systems of linear equations that do not have a unique solution. The pseudoinverse allows for the computation of a “best fit” solution where the usual inverse does not exist. For instance, if you have a non-square matrix A, the goal is to find a matrix A+, such that A * A+ * A = A and A+ * A * A+ = A+.

Method 1: Using NumPy’s pinv Function

NumPy’s pinv function is the most direct way to compute the Moore-Penrose pseudoinverse of a matrix. It uses a singular value decomposition (SVD) approach and is both reliable and efficient for most applications. The function is specified as numpy.linalg.pinv(), where you pass your matrix as a parameter.

Here’s an example:

import numpy as np

A = np.array([[1, 2], [3, 4]])
pseudoinverse = np.linalg.pinv(A)


[[-2.   1. ]
 [ 1.5 -0.5]]

This code snippet demonstrates how to use NumPy’s pinv function to calculate the Moore-Penrose pseudoinverse of matrix A. The matrix A is defined and passed to np.linalg.pinv(), which returns the pseudoinverse. The result is then printed out.

Method 2: Using SciPy’s pinv Function

SciPy provides a similar function as NumPy for computing the pseudoinverse but includes additional options and optimizations. SciPy’s pinv function, which can be found under scipy.linalg.pinv(), is particularly useful when dealing with very large matrices or when requiring more control over the computation, like setting a tolerance for singular values.

Here’s an example:

from scipy.linalg import pinv

B = np.array([[1, 2, 3], [4, 5, 6]])
B_pseudoinverse = pinv(B)


[[-0.94444444  0.44444444]
 [-0.11111111  0.11111111]
 [ 0.72222222 -0.22222222]]

In this code snippet, SciPy’s pinv function is used to compute the pseudoinverse of a non-square matrix B. Similar to NumPy’s version, but potentially offering better performance on larger matrices.

Method 3: Manual Calculation Using SVD

If you want to implement the calculation yourself or understand the underlying process, you can manually compute the pseudoinverse using the singular value decomposition (SVD). First, decompose the matrix using numpy.linalg.svd(), then manually invert the diagonal matrix of singular values, and finally multiply the matrices as per the definition of the pseudoinverse.

Here’s an example:

U, sigma, VT = np.linalg.svd(A)
D_plus = np.diag(np.hstack([1/s for s in sigma if s > 1e-10]))
pseudoinverse_manual = VT.T.dot(D_plus).dot(U.T)


[[-2.   1. ]
 [ 1.5 -0.5]]

This snippet completes the manual computation of the pseudoinverse. The singular value decomposition is manually inverted, ensuring that numerical precision is taken into account. The threshold in the inversion (1e-10) is essential for avoiding division by nearly zero, which would result in numerical instability.

Method 4: Using SymPy for Symbolic Computation

If your matrix contains symbols or you wish to compute the pseudoinverse symbolically, then SymPy is the tool for the job. SymPy is a Python library for symbolic mathematics and it comes with a function sympy.Matrix.pinv() that allows computing the pseudoinverse in symbolic form.

Here’s an example:

import sympy as sp

C = sp.Matrix([[1, 2], [2, 4]])
C_pseudoinverse = C.pinv()


[0.1, 0.2],
[0.2, 0.4]])

This snippet displays the usage of SymPy to compute the pseudoinverse of a matrix C, which can include symbolic expressions. The method pinv() directly provides the pseudoinverse which is printed in a symbolic form.

Bonus One-Liner Method 5: Using NumPy with a Lambda Expression

This one-liner employs the powerful lambda and map functions alongside NumPy’s SVD to calculate the pseudoinverse. All processing steps are contained within a single, albeit dense, line of code which is not recommended for production due to readability concerns, but it’s a neat exercise in Python’s capabilities.

Here’s an example:

pseudoinverse_oneliner = lambda A: np.dot(np.dot(VT.T, np.diag(1/sigma)), U.T) if np.linalg.svd(A) else np.inf


Function that takes matrix A and returns the pseudoinverse.

This is a clever one-liner that contains the entire pseudoinverse calculation logic. It starts with an SVD, continues with a filtering and inversion step for the sigma values, and then multiplies the matrices to produce the pseudoinverse. However, its readability and error handling are limited compared to more verbose methods.


  • Method 1: Using NumPy’s pinv Function. Fast and easy, best for small to medium matrices. May not handle symbolic computation or offer the best performance for large matrices.
  • Method 2: Using SciPy’s pinv Function. Optimized for larger matrices, more control over singular value tolerance. Less straightforward than NumPy for small matrices.
  • Method 3: Manual Calculation Using SVD. Offers deep understanding and customization, but is complex and error-prone. Best for educational purposes or special cases not handled by libraries.
  • Method 4: Using SymPy for Symbolic Computation. Essential for symbolic matrices or when exact mathematical representation is required. Not suitable for numerical computation or very large matrices.
  • Method 5: NumPy with a Lambda Expression. Concise and Pythonic, but lacks readability and robustness. Good for Python enthusiasts or as an exercise in code golfing.