Wei GaoFollow

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mathematics and Statistics

First Advisor

Zhongshan Li

Second Advisor

Marina Arav

Third Advisor

Guantao Chen

Fourth Advisor

Frank Hall

Fifth Advisor

Hendricus van der Holst


A sign pattern is a matrix whose entries are from the set $\{+, -, 0\}$. This thesis contains problems about refined inertias and minimum ranks of sign patterns.

The refined inertia of a square real matrix $B$, denoted $\ri(B)$, is the ordered $4$-tuple $(n_+(B), \ n_-(B), \ n_z(B), \ 2n_p(B))$, where $n_+(B)$ (resp., $n_-(B)$) is the number of eigenvalues of $B$ with positive (resp., negative) real part, $n_z(B)$ is the number of zero eigenvalues of $B$, and $2n_p(B)$ is the number of pure imaginary eigenvalues of $B$. The minimum rank (resp., rational minimum rank) of a sign pattern matrix $\cal A$ is the minimum of the ranks of the real (resp., rational) matrices whose entries have signs equal to the corresponding entries of $\cal A$.

First, we identify all minimal critical sets of inertias and refined inertias for full sign patterns of order 3. Then we characterize the star sign patterns of order $n\ge 5$ that require the set of refined inertias $\mathbb{H}_n=\{(0, n, 0, 0), (0, n-2, 0, 2), (2, n-2, 0, 0)\}$, which is an important set for the onset of Hopf bifurcation in dynamical systems. Finally, we establish a direct connection between condensed $m \times n $ sign patterns and zero-nonzero patterns with minimum rank $r$ and $m$ point-$n$ hyperplane configurations in ${\mathbb R}^{r-1}$. Some results about the rational realizability of the minimum ranks of sign patterns or zero-nonzero patterns are obtained.