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How to create a random binary matrix with equal number of ones in each column?

Asked by Anne
on 2 Nov 2011

Hi All,

I want to create a random binary matrix with equal number of ones in each column.

Appreciate if anyone have an idea to implement this in Matlab.


  1 Comment

the cyclist
on 2 Nov 2011

To avoid folks providing answers, and then you saying, "No, that's not what I meant", can you please provide more detail? For example, should each column have equal numbers of zeros and ones? What if there are an odd number of rows? Etc.


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5 Answers

Answer by Image Analyst
on 2 Nov 2011
 Accepted answer

This is how I did it:

% Set up parameters.
rows = 10;
columns = 15;
onesPerColumn = 4;
% Initialize matrix.
m = zeros(rows, columns, 'int32')
for col = 1 : columns
	% Get random order of rows.
	randRows = randperm(rows);
	% Pick out "onesPerColumn" rows that will be set to 1.
	rowsWithOne = randRows(1:onesPerColumn);
	% Set those rows only to 1 for this column.
	m(rowsWithOne, col) = 1;
% Display m

  1 Comment

on 2 Nov 2011

This works fine for me. Thanks a lot....really appreciate it.

Answer by Sven
on 2 Nov 2011


% Define your matrix size and randomly pick the number of ones
matSz = [20, 40];
numOnes = randi(matSz(1));
% Make your matrix
myMat = false(matSz);
for i = 1:matSz(2)
    myMat(randperm(matSz(1),numOnes), i) = true;
% Check that all went as planned


on 2 Nov 2011

I tried this method, but could not get what I was expecting...

on 2 Nov 2011

Really? The variable "myMat" is your answer. The last line that prints out a series of ones was just confirmation that all of your columns had "numOnes" true elements in them.

matSz = [10, 15];

numOnes = 4;

gives the exact same output as what you agreed with below.

Answer by Naz
on 2 Nov 2011

Since it's a RANDOM matrix, you are not guaranteed to have the same amount of one's and zero's (at least it seems logical to me). In order to get about 1/2 probability you need large matrix. You can try this:


Check out help file for rand vs. randn


Answer by Anne
on 2 Nov 2011

I also need to make sure that this matrix is invertible.

What I currently do is check det(A)=0 & rank(A)<3 using a while loop. But sometimes the while loop runs infinitely and the script does not respond.

Is there any other way to check for non-singular matrices?

Thanks again...


Answer by Walter Roberson
on 2 Nov 2011

Anne, you need to define what it means to take an inverse for you binary matrix. You can treat the binary matrix as being composed of the real numbers 0 and 1 and then do an arithmetic inverse on the array, ending up with a non-binary array. Or you can treat the binary matrix as being composed of boolean values over a field with the '*' being equivalent to 'or' and '+' being equivalent to xor, and the task is then to find a second binary matrix such that matrix multiplication using those operations produces the identity matrix.

If you want the inverse to be a binary matrix instead of a real-valued matrix, please see this earlier Question:

  1 Comment

on 3 Nov 2011

I was able to figure this out. Now I'm using GF to find the inverse and to check for invertibility I'm using rank(gf(A))=n
this seems to work...

thanks for your answer...

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