## Matrix Transform

Hi,
Suppose I have an nxn matrix A. (If needed it can be assumed invertible). I can perform a transform on the matrix in the following way:
D=C*A*C^-1. C can be chosen to be any nxn invertible matrix.
Does this transform have any meaning, which can be easily understood or visualized?
What space is covered by possible values of D for a given A?
What is the minimal set of matrices A, parametrized by as few as possible parameters, which covers all possible matrices D?
2x2 case is of particular interest, but a general answer would certainly be useful.

Thanks
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 Quote by marcusl Sounds like a homework problem. Please show your attempt at a solution.
This is not a homework problem.
I noticed that I formulated it the way homework/exam questions are often formulated with multiple paragraphs, but that's just because I am trying to fully understand what is going on here.

## Matrix Transform

 Quote by Leo321 Hi, Suppose I have an nxn matrix A. (If needed it can be assumed invertible). I can perform a transform on the matrix in the following way: D=C*A*C^-1. C can be chosen to be any nxn invertible matrix. Does this transform have any meaning, which can be easily understood or visualized?
This is the usual similarity transformation of homomorphisms: you can see both A and D as the representations of the same linear application with respect to different bases. Let's say A is the representation with respect to a base B, and D is the representation with respect to a basis E. Then the matrix C's columns are the vectors of the base B represented in the base E.
 Quote by Leo321 What space is covered by possible values of D for a given A?
This "space" is not a vectorial space. It is the set composed of all matrices that have the same Jordan decomposition of A.
 Quote by Leo321 What is the minimal set of matrices A, parametrized by as few as possible parameters, which covers all possible matrices D?
This set is composed by a representative matrix for each possible Jordan decomposition of a n x n matrix.
 Thanks. If A is invertible, I should be able to find C, which transforms it into the identity matrix, right? C*A*C^-1=I I multiply this by C^-1 from the left and C from the right and get: A=I What went wrong?

Mentor
 Quote by Leo321 Thanks. If A is invertible, I should be able to find C, which transforms it into the identity matrix, right? C*A*C^-1=I
No, you don't necessarily get the identity matrix. What you get under certain conditions is a diagonal matrix, one whose entries off the main diagonal are zero.
 Quote by Leo321 I multiply this by C^-1 from the left and C from the right and get: A=I What went wrong?

 Quote by Petr Mugver It is the set composed of all matrices that have the same rank of A.
 Quote by Mark44 No, you don't necessarily get the identity matrix. What you get under certain conditions is a diagonal matrix, one whose entries off the main diagonal are zero.
Don't these two claims contradict? If I can transform A into any matrix of the same rank, then if A has maximal rank, shouldn't I be able to transform it into the identity matrix?
 You are right, I was wrong: I edited my post and now it should be correct. Are you familiar with Jordan decompositions of matrices?
 Recognitions: Gold Member Science Advisor Staff Emeritus More general than matrices is the "linear transformation" from one vector space to another. Any matrix can be thought of as a linear transformation specifically from the vector space Rn to Rm, Euclidean spaces. In the other direction, a linear transfromation from finite dimensional vector space U to finite dimensional vector space V can be written as matrix by selecting particular ordered bases in U and V. Two matrices, A and B, say, represent the same linear transformation, as written using different bases, if and only if they are "similar": B= CAC-1 for some invertible matrix C.