ecl_linear_algebra Documentation


Ecl frontend to a linear matrix package (currently eigen).

Embedded Control Library

    Classes, representations and methods for manipulation of matrices.

    @subsection otherLibraries Other Libraries

            - BLAS : fast, but awkward c library, often used as the backend for other c++ libraries.
            - BOOST : uses blas, main focus is c++ correctness and versatility of matrix types, not speed.
            - BLITZ++ : containers only, uses template tricks, but almost discontinued.
            - MKL : uses blas and focuses on multi-threading and multi-core performance specialised for intel chips.
            - TVMET : optimised for low-order matrices through heavy use of template tricks.

            The c++ libraries are all hobbled in one way or another. Most can't deal with aliasing intelligently,
            leaving it up to the user to handle that facet of matrix manipulation. They often use template
            expressions also, which is great for speeding up operations, but matrix multiplication regularly
            gets confused and bogged down - another thing that is left to the user to handle.

            Eigen is the new kid on the block and the one that
            is used here. It handles aliasing and nested matrix multiplication without a problem,
            includes important linear algebra modules (i.e. not just containers) and prioritises speed first,
            then c++ conveniences (but still manages to be more convenient than ublas!).


Using ros eigen now, but you can also opt to use the internal ecl_eigen.

Compiling & Linking

    // If you want to use the internal eigen
    // #define ECL_EIGEN_IS_INTERNAL

    // This brings in the whole library
    #include <ecl/linear_algebra.hpp>

    // These calls bring in the individual modules
#include <ecl/linear_algebra/core.hpp>
    #include <ecl/linear_algebra/cholesky.hpp>
    #include <ecl/linear_algebra/dense.hpp>
    #include <ecl/linear_algebra/eigenvalues.hpp>
    #include <ecl/linear_algebra/geometry.hpp>
    #include <ecl/linear_algebra/householder.hpp>
    #include <ecl/linear_algebra/jacobi.hpp>
    #include <ecl/linear_algebra/lu.hpp>
    #include <ecl/linear_algebra/qr.hpp>
#include <ecl/linear_algebra/qtalignedmalloc.hpp>
    #include <ecl/linear_algebra/sparse.hpp>
#include <ecl/linear_algebra/stddeque.hpp>
    #include <ecl/linear_algebra/stdlist.hpp>
    #include <ecl/linear_algebra/stdvector.hpp>
    #include <ecl/linear_algebra/svd.hpp>

    // There will also be some unsupported modules in ecl/linear_algebra/unsupported.
    #include <ecl/linear_algebra/unsupported/nonlinear_optimization.hpp>
    #include <ecl/linear_algebra/unsupported/numerical_diff.hpp>

    // Aliasing the Eigen namespace (for convenience)
    using namespace ecl::linear_algebra

    Note that the namespace is simply an alias to the Eigen namespace. You can use either
    namespace, however the ecl namespace is preferred so its clear we're using our 
    extended interface (via the eigen plugins).

    Since eigen is a template class, no linking is required if you are only using eigen's classes.



The following are some important links for us back to the eigen documentation:

- <a href="">Documentation Frontend</a>
- <a href="">Lazy Evaluation</a>
- <a href="">Writing Optimised Expressions</a>
- <a href="">Decompositions Overview</a>
- <a href="">Modifications needed for Classes with Eigen Members</a>
- <a href="">Stl containers and eigen</a>

    Some important points to note (more detailed notes regarding some eigen specific issues further below):

    - Matrices/Vectors of all types are built from the one base class.
    - Typedefs exist for all common forms of matrices and vectors (important for vectors as there is no Vector class).

    The ecl supplements the eigen library with a few extras features.

Eigen Plugin

    The eigen matrixbase class provides a way to extend its api via a macro-based plugin. The trick is enabled
    by the following code in eigen's MatrixBase class:

    class MatrixBase {
      // ...

    Here we take advantage of it to add the following api:

    - conservativeResize(int rows, int cols) : matrix resizing, carrying over existing elements
    - conservativeResize(int rows) : vector resizing, carrying over existing elements

    This will be brought in if you do one of the following <i>before</i> you include any eigen

    #define EIGEN_MATRIXBASE_PLUGIN <ecl/linear_algebra/eigen_plugin.hpp>
    // OR the ecl bundle
    #include <ecl/linear_algebra.hpp>
    // OR any one of the ecl-eigen3 modules
    #include <ecl/linear_algebra/core.hpp>

    Note that if you wish to customise the eigen plugin differently, simply define the macro,
    pointing it at your own customisation before including ecl/linear_algebra.hpp. The ecl plugin
    makes a check and won't override any existing definitions.


You have to be very careful with eigen to make sure alignment works properly. This is a bit
of a pain in the bum, but will result in hardware speedups. If you see the following error

Eigen::ei_matrix_array<T, Size, MatrixOptions, Align>::ei_matrix_array() [with T = double, 
int Size = 4, int MatrixOptions = 2, bool Align = true]: Assertion 
`(reinterpret_cast<size_t>(array) & 0xf) == 0 && "this assertion is explained here:  **** READ THIS WEB PAGE !!! ****"' 

its probably because you need to fix your storage mechanism for classes with eigen 
vectors inside them. See that web page for more detail and/or run gdb on your program to see
where the compile time assert triggered.

Usual scenario - you have used an eigen type of fixed size as a storage container 
embeddded inside a class or struct, or inherited a class that does so.

- only for fixed size eigen types
- fixed size eigen type is inside the class or inside an inherited class

In this situation, you need to add the following macro to the public section
of the class <i>as well as</i> each class that inherits this class.


Std Vector

If always calling linear_algebra.hpp to access eigen, it will bring in Eigen's NewStdVector 
implementation. This will use it for eigen types and default to the original std vector for
other types, but there's one caveat. For eigen to distinguish, you need to specify the 
vector allocator.

    #include <ecl/linear_algebra.hpp>

    int main(int argc, char **argv) {

            std::vector< Eigen::Vector2d, Eigen::aligned_allocator<Eigen::Vector2d> > vv; // eigen's std vector implementation
            std::vector<double> vd; // std's vector implementation

            Eigen::Vector2d v; v << 1,2;
            vv.push_back(v); vv.push_back(v);
            std::cout << vv[0] << std::endl;

            return 0;


    If you do not include it, you will see the usual compile time alignment warning that Eigen loves.


    Formatters have been included in the plugin for float and double type matrices 
    (may expand to integral types later if we need them). This is achieved by use of the ecl_formatters

    There are several ways you can call these formatters, the most convenient methods are outlined below:

    #include <linear_algebra.hpp>
    Matrix2d m; m << 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0;
    Matrix2d::Formatter formatter(3,6); // prec 3, width 6
    formatter.precision(2); formatter.width(5);
    std::cout << formatter(m) << std::cout;     // format using the stored settings
    std::cout << formatter(m,3,6) << std::cout; // format using one-shot settings

    #include <ecl/formatters.hpp>
    #include <ecl/linear_algebra.hpp>
    Matrix2d m; m << 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0;
    Format<Matrix2d> format(3,6); // prec 3, width 6
    format.precision(2); format.width(5);
    std::cout << format(m) << std::cout;     // format using the stored settings
    std::cout << format(m,3,6) << std::cout; // format using one-shot settings


- <b>Mar 12</b> : depracated Eigen3.
- <b>Dec 10</b> : switched the default to eigen3, also brought in unsupported modules for numerical differentiation and nonlinear optimisation.
- <b>Sep 10</b> : added a formatter for float type matrices with precision and width control.
- <b>Aug 10</b> : incorporated the new std vector implementation explicitly in linear_algebra.hpp.
- <b>Jul 10</b> : embedded the eigen3 library in the ecl.
- <b>May 10</b> : embedded the eigen2 library in the ecl.
- <b>Oct 09</b> : conservative resizing functions added to the eigen plugin.
- <b>May 09</b> : namespace alias to eigen set up.

Author(s): Daniel Stonier
autogenerated on Wed Mar 2 2022 00:16:29