Abstract:
Let M be a p-by-q matrix with nonnegative entries. The positive semidefinite rank (psd rank) of M is the smallest integer k for which there exist positive semidefinite matrices $A_i, B_j$ of size $k \times k$ such that $M_{ij} = \text{trace}(A_i B_j)$. The psd rank has many appealing geometric interpretations, including semidefinite representations of polyhedra and information-theoretic applications. In this paper we develop and survey the main mathematical properties of psd rank, including its geometry, relationships with other rank notions, and computational and algorithmic aspects.

Abstract:
We show that a class of semidefinite programs (SDP) admits a solution that is a positive semidefinite matrix of rank at most $r$, where $r$ is the rank of the matrix involved in the objective function of the SDP. The optimization problems of this class are semidefinite packing problems, which are the SDP analogs to vector packing problems. Of particular interest is the case in which our result guarantees the existence of a solution of rank one: we show that the computation of this solution actually reduces to a Second Order Cone Program (SOCP). We point out an application in statistics, in the optimal design of experiments.

Abstract:
The positive semidefinite (psd) rank of a polytope is the smallest $k$ for which the cone of $k \times k$ real symmetric psd matrices admits an affine slice that projects onto the polytope. In this paper we show that the psd rank of a polytope is at least the dimension of the polytope plus one, and we characterize those polytopes whose psd rank equals this lower bound. We give several classes of polytopes that achieve the minimum possible psd rank including a complete characterization in dimensions two and three.

Abstract:
The problem of finding a rank-one solution to a system of linear matrix equations arises from many practical applications. Given a system of linear matrix equations, however, such a low-rank solution does not always exist. In this paper, we aim at developing some sufficient conditions for the existence of a rank-one solution to the system of homogeneous linear matrix equations (HLME) over the positive semidefinite cone. First, we prove that an existence condition of a rank-one solution can be established by a homotopy invariance theorem. The derived condition is closely related to the so-called $P_\emptyset$ property of the function defined by quadratic transformations. Second, we prove that the existence condition for a rank-one solution can be also established through the maximum rank of the (positive semidefinite) linear combination of given matrices. It is shown that an upper bound for the rank of the solution to a system of HLME over the positive semidefinite cone can be obtained efficiently by solving a semidefinite programming (SDP) problem. Moreover, a sufficient condition for the nonexistence of a rank-one solution to the system of HLME is also established in this paper.

Abstract:
Given a nonnegative matrix M with rational entries, we consider two quantities: the usual positive semidefinite (psd) rank, where the matrix is factored through the cone of real symmetric psd matrices, and the rational-restricted psd rank, where the matrix factors are required to be rational symmetric psd matrices. It is clear that the rational-restricted psd rank is always an upper bound to the usual psd rank. We show that this inequality may be strict by exhibiting a matrix with psd rank four whose rational-restricted psd rank is strictly greater than four.

Abstract:
Grothendieck inequalities are fundamental inequalities which are frequently used in many areas of mathematics and computer science. They can be interpreted as upper bounds for the integrality gap between two optimization problems: a difficult semidefinite program with rank-1 constraint and its easy semidefinite relaxation where the rank constrained is dropped. For instance, the integrality gap of the Goemans-Williamson approximation algorithm for MAX CUT can be seen as a Grothendieck inequality. In this paper we consider Grothendieck inequalities for ranks greater than 1 and we give two applications: approximating ground states in the n-vector model in statistical mechanics and XOR games in quantum information theory.

Abstract:
This paper presents various worst-case results on the positive semidefinite (psd) rank of a nonnegative matrix, primarily in the context of polytopes. We prove that the psd rank of a generic n-dimensional polytope with v vertices is at least (nv)^(1/4) improving on previous lower bounds. For polygons with v vertices, we show that psd rank cannot exceed 4ceil(v/6) which in turn shows that the psd rank of a p by q matrix of rank three is at most 4ceil(min{p,q}/6). In general, a nonnegative matrix of rank (k+1 choose 2) has psd rank at least k and we pose the problem of deciding whether the psd rank is exactly k. Using geometry and bounds on quantifier elimination, we show that this decision can be made in polynomial time when k is fixed.

Abstract:
We propose an algorithm for solving nonlinear convex programs defined in terms of a symmetric positive semidefinite matrix variable $X$. This algorithm rests on the factorization $X=Y Y^T$, where the number of columns of Y fixes the rank of $X$. It is thus very effective for solving programs that have a low rank solution. The factorization $X=Y Y^T$ evokes a reformulation of the original problem as an optimization on a particular quotient manifold. The present paper discusses the geometry of that manifold and derives a second order optimization method. It furthermore provides some conditions on the rank of the factorization to ensure equivalence with the original problem. The efficiency of the proposed algorithm is illustrated on two applications: the maximal cut of a graph and the sparse principal component analysis problem.

Abstract:
Given a positive integer n and a positive semidefinite matrix A = (A_{ij}) of size m x m, the positive semidefinite Grothendieck problem with rank-n-constraint (SDP_n) is maximize \sum_{i=1}^m \sum_{j=1}^m A_{ij} x_i \cdot x_j, where x_1, ..., x_m \in S^{n-1}. In this paper we design a polynomial time approximation algorithm for SDP_n achieving an approximation ratio of \gamma(n) = \frac{2}{n}(\frac{\Gamma((n+1)/2)}{\Gamma(n/2)})^2 = 1 - \Theta(1/n). We show that under the assumption of the unique games conjecture the achieved approximation ratio is optimal: There is no polynomial time algorithm which approximates SDP_n with a ratio greater than \gamma(n). We improve the approximation ratio of the best known polynomial time algorithm for SDP_1 from 2/\pi to 2/(\pi\gamma(m)) = 2/\pi + \Theta(1/m), and we show a tighter approximation ratio for SDP_n when A is the Laplacian matrix of a graph with nonnegative edge weights.

Abstract:
Fractional minimum positive semidefinite rank is defined from $r$-fold faithful orthogonal representations and it is shown that the projective rank of any graph equals the fractional minimum positive semidefinite rank of its complement. An $r$-fold version of the traditional definition of minimum positive semidefinite rank of a graph using Hermitian matrices that fit the graph is also presented. This paper also introduces $r$-fold orthogonal representations of graphs and formalizes the understanding of projective rank as fractional orthogonal rank. Connections of these concepts to quantum theory, including Tsirelson's problem, are discussed.