Tue, 12 Oct 2021
Andy Wathen
University of Oxford

The solution of systems of linear(ized) equations lies at the heart of many problems in Scientific Computing. In particular for large systems, iterative methods are a primary approach. For many symmetric (or self-adjoint) systems, there are effective solution methods based on the Conjugate Gradient method (for definite problems) or minres (for indefinite problems) in combination with an appropriate preconditioner, which is required in almost all cases. For nonsymmetric systems there are two principal lines of attack: the use of a nonsymmetric iterative method such as gmres, or tranformation into a symmetric problem via the normal equations. In either case, an appropriate preconditioner is generally required. We consider the possibilities here, particularly the idea of preconditioning the normal equations via approximations to the original nonsymmetric matrix. We highlight dangers that readily arise in this approach. Our comments also apply in the context of linear least squares problems as we will explain.

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