Arioli, M., Duff, I.S. & de Rijk, P.P.M. Numer. Math. (1989) 55: 667. doi:10.1007/BF01389335

Summary

We study the augmented system approach for the solution of sparse linear least-squares problems. It is well known that this method has better numerical properties than the method based on the normal equations. We use recent work by Arioli et al. (1988) to introduce error bounds and estimates for the components of the solution of the augmented system. In particular, we find that, using iterative refinement, we obtain a very robust algorithm and our estimates of the error are accurate and cheap to compute. The final error and all our error estimates are much better than the classical or Skeel's error analysis (1979) indicates. Moreover, we prove that our error estimates are independent of the row scaling of the augmented system and we analyze the influence of the Björck scaling (1967) on these estimates. We illustrate this with runs both on large-scale practical problems and contrived examples, comparing the numerical behaviour of the augmented systems approach with a code using the normal equations. These experiments show that while the augmented system approach with iterative refinement can sometimes be less efficient than the normal equations approach, it is comparable or better when the least-squares matrix has a full row, and is, in any case, much more stable and robust.