What Is Square Matrix in Data Structure?


Heather Bennett

A square matrix is a type of matrix in data structure that has an equal number of rows and columns. It is named so because its shape resembles a square. Square matrices are commonly used in various applications, including linear algebra, computer graphics, and network analysis.

Properties of a Square Matrix

Square matrices have some unique properties that set them apart from other types of matrices. Let’s explore these properties:

1. Size

The size of a square matrix is determined by the number of rows or columns it has. If a square matrix has n rows, it also has n columns, resulting in an nxn matrix.

2. Diagonal Elements

The diagonal elements in a square matrix are the elements that lie on the main diagonal from the top left to the bottom right. In other words, these elements have the same row and column index (i.e., A[i][j] where i=j).


A = [
    [4, 0, 0],
    [0, 7, 0],
    [0, 0, 9]

In this example, the diagonal elements are 4, 7, and 9.

3. Symmetry

A square matrix is said to be symmetric if it is equal to its transpose. Transpose involves interchanging rows with columns in a matrix.


A = [
    [1, 2],
    [2, 5]

In this example, the given matrix A is symmetric since AT = A.

4. Determinant

The determinant of a square matrix is a scalar value that can be calculated for a square matrix. It provides useful information about the properties and behavior of the matrix.

Operations on Square Matrices

Various operations can be performed on square matrices, including:

1. Addition and Subtraction

Addition and subtraction of two square matrices with the same dimensions can be done by adding or subtracting corresponding elements from each matrix.


A = [
    [1, 2],
    [3, 4]

B = [
    [5, 6],
    [7, 8]

A + B = [
    [1+5, 2+6],
    [3+7, 4+8]
      = [
          [6, 8],
          [10, 12]

2. Multiplication

Multiplication of two square matrices can be performed using the dot product of rows and columns.

A * B = [
[(1*5) + (2*7), (1*6) + (2*8)],
[(3*5) + (4*7), (3*6) + (4*8)]
= [
[19, 22],
[43, 50]

3. Inverse

The inverse of a square matrix is a matrix that, when multiplied by the original matrix, gives the identity matrix as the result.


Square matrices are an essential concept in data structures and linear algebra. They have unique properties and can be used to perform various operations. Understanding square matrices is crucial for solving complex mathematical problems and analyzing data in different domains.

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