Noncommutative polynomials describing convex sets

29 May 2020  ·  Helton J. W., Klep I., McCullough S., Volčič J. ·

The free closed semialgebraic set $D_f$ determined by a hermitian noncommutative polynomial $f$ is the closure of the connected component of $\{(X,X^*)\mid f(X,X^*)>0\}$ containing the origin. When $L$ is a hermitian monic linear pencil, the free closed semialgebraic set $D_L$ is the feasible set of the linear matrix inequality $L(X,X^*)\geq 0$ and is known as a free spectrahedron... Evidently these are convex and it is well-known that a free closed semialgebraic set is convex if and only it is a free spectrahedron. The main result of this paper solves the basic problem of determining those $f$ for which $D_f$ is convex. The solution leads to an efficient algorithm that not only determines if $D_f$ is convex, but if so, produces a minimal hermitian monic pencil $L$ such that $D_f=D_L$. Of independent interest is a subalgorithm based on a Nichtsingul\"arstellensatz presented here: given a linear pencil $L'$ and a hermitian monic pencil $L$, it determines if $L'$ takes invertible values on the interior of $D_L$. Finally, it is shown that if $D_f$ is convex for an irreducible hermitian polynomial $f$, then $f$ has degree at most two, and arises as the Schur complement of an $L$ such that $D_f=D_L$. read more

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Functional Analysis Optimization and Control