In mathematics, a form (i.e. a homogeneous polynomial) *h*(*x*) of degree 2*m* in the real *n*-dimensional vector *x* is sum of squares of forms (SOS) if and only if there exist forms of degree *m* such that

Every form that is SOS is also a positive polynomial, and although the converse is not always true, Hilbert proved that for *n* = 2, *m* = 1 or *n* = 3 and 2*m* = 4 a form is SOS if and only if it is positive.^{[1]} The same is also valid for the analog problem on positive *symmetric* forms.^{[2]}^{[3]}

Although not every form can be represented as SOS, explicit sufficient conditions for a form to be SOS have been found.^{[4]}^{[5]} Moreover, every real nonnegative form can be approximated as closely as desired (in the -norm of its coefficient vector) by a sequence of forms that are SOS.^{[6]}

## Square matricial representation (SMR)

To establish whether a form *h*(*x*) is SOS amounts to solving a convex optimization problem. Indeed, any *h*(*x*) can be written as

where is a vector containing a base for the forms of degree *m* in *x* (such as all monomials of degree *m* in *x*), the prime ′ denotes the transpose, *H* is any symmetric matrix satisfying

and is a linear parameterization of the linear space

The dimension of the vector is given by

whereas the dimension of the vector is given by

Then, *h*(*x*) is SOS if and only if there exists a vector such that

meaning that the matrix is positive-semidefinite. This is a linear matrix inequality (LMI) feasibility test, which is a convex optimization problem. The expression was introduced in ^{[7]} with the name square matricial representation (SMR) in order to establish whether a form is SOS via an LMI. This representation is also known as Gram matrix.^{[8]}

### Examples

- Consider the form of degree 4 in two variables . We have

- Since there exists α such that , namely , it follows that
*h*(*x*) is SOS.

- Consider the form of degree 4 in three variables . We have

- Since for , it follows that
*h*(*x*) is SOS.

## Generalizations

### Matrix SOS

A matrix form *F*(*x*) (i.e., a matrix whose entries are forms) of dimension *r* and degree *2m* in the real *n*-dimensional vector *x* is SOS if and only if there exist matrix forms of degree *m* such that

#### Matrix SMR

To establish whether a matrix form *F*(*x*) is SOS amounts to solving a convex optimization problem. Indeed, similarly to the scalar case any *F*(*x*) can be written according to the SMR as

where is the Kronecker product of matrices, *H* is any symmetric matrix satisfying

and is a linear parameterization of the linear space

The dimension of the vector is given by

Then, *F*(*x*) is SOS if and only if there exists a vector such that the following LMI holds:

The expression was introduced in ^{[9]} in order to establish whether a matrix form is SOS via an LMI.

### Noncommutative polynomial SOS

Consider the free algebra *R*⟨*X*⟩ generated by the *n* noncommuting letters *X* = (*X*_{1},...,*X*_{n}) and equipped with the involution ^{T}, such that ^{T} fixes *R* and *X*_{1},...,*X*_{n} and reverse words formed by *X*_{1},...,*X*_{n}.
By analogy with the commutative case, the noncommutative symmetric polynomials *f* are the noncommutative polynomials of the form *f* = *f*^{T}. When any real matrix of any dimension *r x r* is evaluated at a symmetric noncommutative polynomial *f* results in a positive semi-definite matrix, *f* is said to be matrix-positive.

A noncommutative polynomial is SOS if there exists noncommutative polynomials such that

Surprisingly, in the noncommutative scenario a noncommutative polynomial is SoS if and only if it is matrix-positive.^{[10]} Moreover, there exist algorithms available to decompose matrix-positive polynomials in sum of squares of noncommutative polynomials.^{[11]}

## References

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