G. W. Stewart
A JAVA PACKAGE FOR MATRIX COMPUTATIONS
Department of Computer Science
Institute for Advanced Computer Studies
University of Maryland
Mathematical and Computations Sciences Division
- Current Status
- Obtaining Jampack
Jampack (JAva Matrix PACKage) is a collection of cooperating classes
designed to perform matrix computations in Java applications.
The current version of the Jampack is preliminary and incomplete.
It is being released to see if there is enough interest to continue
Jampack was developed by the author at NIST and the University of
Maryland. A sibling matrix package, Jama, has also been developed at
NIST and Mathworks. The two
packages arose from the need to evaluate alternate designs for the
implementation of matrices in Java. Jama is based on a single matrix
class within a strictly object-oriented framework. Jampack uses
a more open approach that lends itself to extension by the user. As
it turns out, for the casual user the packages differ principally in
the syntax of the matrix operations. I hope you will take the time
to look at Jama
along with Jampack. There is much to be learned from both packages.
The following is a summary of the goals and status of the package.
For further details see the
Jampack Owner's Manual or the
Jampack was designed with the following considerations in mind.
- User friendliness. To the casual user Jampack is an
object oriented package, consisting of classes of matrices and
classes of methods (called suites) to manipulate matrices. The
user who wants only to implement a few formulas (e.g, to solve a
least squares problem) can do so without taking a course in matrix
- Expert friendliness. Jampack provides implementations of
the the transformations the advanced user needs to implement
features not in the package. In particular, Jampack supplies
methods for generating and applying plane rotations and Householder
- Efficiency. Jampack routines are (or will be)
moderately efficient. Jampack makes no claim to compete with
high-performance matrix packages.
- Openness. In the Jampack view, implementations of
matrix processes should not be hidden. Instead, each user,
according to his or her abilities, should be encouraged to look
under the hood and even tinker with the code. This is the reason
why Jampack has an Owner's Manual while other packages have User's
- Extensibility. Jampack was created to be open ended.
By segregating matrix operations and functions into suites of
methods that perform related tasks, Jampack makes it easy to add new
features. Just put the appropriate method in the appropriate
suite. Or if the feature is sufficiently novel, start a new suite.
- Growth. If the package catches on, it is hoped that its
users will contribute to the growth of the package under the
supervision an review committee.
Jampack is not yet a mature package. It does not have all the
features that a reasonable matrix package should have (for example
Jampack does not do determinants). The code has only been lightly
tested and certainly has bugs. Many of the basic operations are soft
coded--that is, they use other Jampack methods to perform the
operation, a process that usually requires the creation of matrices to
hold intermediate results. Finally, there are probably
inconsistencies and infelicities built into the design of the package
Which is to say that one should use Jampack cautiously. The time
has not yet come to make it a critical part of an application: things
are too likely to change. But the package can still do a lot. The
following is a list of what Jampack has and has not.
- Complex matrices. A virtue of Jampack is that it fully
supports complex matrices. A failing is that there are only
complex matrices. It was felt that the design should proceed from
the more general to the less general to avoid painting the package
into a corner. The implementation of real matrices is the first
thing on the agenda for extending Jampack
- Indexing. In books on matrix computations, the
beginning element of a matrix is its (1,1)-element. Other
disciplines have other conventions. For example, in queueing
theory matrices often begin with a (0,0)-element. Jampack allows
the index of the base element to be set at the beginning of an
application by the user.
- Matrix classes. Jampack currently has two matrix
classes for general matrices (Zmat) and diagonal matrices
(Zdiagmat). The class Zmat has subclasses for triangular and
positive semidefinite matrices. It is planned to add band matrices
and (much later) sparse matrices.
- Operation suites Jampack segregates its operations in
suites. Here is a list with links to the Owner's Manual.
Obviously, there is much to add to this list.
Plus, Minus, Times, H, Solve, Inv, Norm,
Trace, Eye, Block, Merge, Rand, Print.
- Decompositions. Jampack has a basic complement of
matrix decompositions--i.e, factorizations of matrices. A
decompositions in Jampack is implemented by a class whose members
are the factors of the of the decomposition. The decomposition is
computed by the initializer of the decomposition class. Jampack
currently supports the following decompositions.
- The Pivoted LU decomposition
- The Cholesky decomposition
- The QR decomposition
- The eigendecompostition of a symmetric matrix
- The singular value decomposition
- Hessenberg form
- The Schur Decomposition
- The eigendecompostition of a general matrix
- History. Some applications have loops that repeatedly
use a decomposition of an unchanging matrix. To avoid having to
recompute the decomposition at each iteration of the loop, Jampack
saves it for reuse on a history list in the matrix in question.
The mechanics for turning on and off this option are not completely
- Transformations. Jampack has two Suites, Rot and House, for
generating and applying plane rotations and Householder
transformations. In addition it has suites for pivoting and
permuting rows and columns of a matrix.
- Test programs. The current version of Jampack comes
with the test programs used to help debug the package. These
largely uncommented programs do not represent the thorough testing
required of finished software. But they may be of use to those who
want to extend the package.
- Storage allocation. Jampack uses the Java storage
allocator to maintain its matrices. For example the Jampack
creates a new instance of a matrix class to hold the product of A
and B. In a tight loop, this statement could stress the garbage
collector. Under considerations are extensions like
C = Times.o(A,B);
where the user furnishes a matrix C of appropriate dimensions to
receive the product of A and B.
Times.o(A, B, C);
To obtain and install Jampack, download
Jampack.tar.gz or Jampack.zip to a
directory in your Java CLASSPATH and expand it to produce the
directory Jampack. You are now ready to go.
Jampack can also be obtained by anonymous ftp at thales.cs.umd.edu
in pub/Jampack or at gams.nist.gov in pub/Jampack.
This document can be found at both NIST and the University of Maryland:
The purpose of this release is to see if it generates enough
enthusiasm to justify continued development of Jampack. Your
comments and suggestion will decide the matter. I encourage you to
write me directly or contribute to the discussion group firstname.lastname@example.org. To subscribe to
the group send email to
email@example.com with the test
subscribe jampack your-email-address
in the body. Past contributions will be saved in a
public repository where they may be browsed.