Just another JavaScript matrix/tensor library.
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JASMAL stands for Just Another JavaScript MAtrix Library, or JAvaScript MAtrix Library. This is a work-in-progress library I used to create interactive simulations on my blog. Initially, I thought it should be a small project. Later, I realized that I need to implement much more functionalities to make it possible to run the even the classical DOA estimation algorithms. It was a good learning progress, especially for numerical algorithms in matrix computations. Because this project is open source, I hope you find it useful when looking for implementations of algorithms in matrix computations.

Despite its name, JASMAL can actually handle multi-dimensional arrays. It also has

  • built-in complex number support
  • flexible indexing schemes (e.g., get('::-1', ':') returns a new matrix with the rows reversed)
  • broadcasting support for various binary operations
  • subroutines for common matrix operations such as trace(), inv(), det(), linsolve(), rank(), kron().
  • subroutines for LU decomposition, QR decomposition, singular value decomposition, and eigendecomposition for both real and complex matrices
  • set functions such as union(), intersect(), and setdiff()

Here is a live demo with the code I used in my blog to demonstrate the MUSIC DOA estimation algorithm in the browser.

Important: Although many of the operations have been tested for common inputs, there may be still many bugs.

Basic Usage

To access the JASMAL engine, simply use const T = require('jasmal').JasmalEngine.createInstance().

For browsers, you can build a standalone version with tsconfig.client.json and import it using SystemJS:

<script type="text/javascript" src="system-production.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="jasmal.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
    System.import('jasmal/index').then(function (jasmal) {
        var T = jasmal.JasmalEngine.createInstance();

Tensor objects and complex numbers

JASMAL is built around tensor objects, which use typed arrays for data storage. In plain JavaScript, jagged arrays is usually used to store multi-dimensional arrays. The following code show how to convert between JavaScript arrays and tensor objects:

// Creates a tensor from JavaScript arrays.
let A = T.fromArray([[1, 2], [3, 4]]); // real 2 x 2
// Specifying the data type for the underlying storage.
// Note that [] means no imaginary part.
let B = T.fromArray([[1, 2], [3, 4]], [], T.INT32);
let C = T.fromArray([[1, 2], [3, 4]], [[-1, -2], [-3, -4]]); // complex 2 x 2
// Convert a tensor to a JavaScript array.
let a = A.toArray(true); // real part only, arr = [[1, 2], [3, 4]]
let [reC, imC] = C.toArray(false); // convert both real and imaginary parts
                                   // reC = [[1, 2], [3, 4]];
                                   // imC = [[-1, -2], [-3, -4]];
// Check if the given object is an instance of Tensor.
T.isTensor(A); // true
T.isTensor([1, 2]); // false

Note that during the conversions the data are always copied because JASMAL cannot be sure whether you will modify the array elements in the future.

JASMAL uses Float64Array as the underlying storage by default, which is marked with T.FLOAT64. Another two data types supported by JASMAL are T.INT32 and T.LOGIC, which are backed by Int32Array and Uint8Array, respectively. You can convert between different data types via asType():

let a = T.fromArray([1, 2, 3], [], T.INT32);
// INT32 -> FLOAT64
let b = A.asType(T.FLOAT64);

let z = T.fromArray([1, 2, 3], [3, 4, 5], T.FLOAT64);
// FLOAT64 -> INT32, down casting is handled by typed arrays
// Here m is a complex vector whose real part and imaginary parts are integers.
let m = z.asType(T.INT32);
// You CANNOT convert complex numbers to logic values.
let n = z.asType(T.LOGIC); // Will throw an error!

JASMAL also includes a built-in ComplexNumber type to support complex scalars. Complex numbers can be created with the following code:

// Creates a complex number.
let c = T.complexNumber(1, -1);
// Retrieves the real part.
let re = c.re;
// Test if c is a ComplexNumber instance.
console.log(T.isComplexNumber(c)); // true

Instead of only allowing tensor objects as inputs, most of the JASMAL functions also allows JavaScript arrays (including typed arrays), ComplexNumber instances, or numbers as inputs. Conversion to tensor objects is automatically performed, and converted tensor objects will always have FLOAT64 as the data type. If you wish to control the data type, you will need to manually do the conversion using fromArray(). For instance, T.add([[1], [2]], [[3, 4]]) produces the same result as the following code:

let x = T.fromArray([[1], [2]]);
let y = T.fromArray([[3, 4]]);
let z = T.add(x, y);

This is very convenient, but it leads to one problem: how is the output type determined? For instance, should T.add(1, 2) output a number or a tensor object? In JASMAL, unless otherwise specified, the following rules applies:

  • If all the inputs are scalars (number or ComplexNumber), the output will be a scalar. In this case, if the output's imaginary part is zero, a JavaScript number will be returned. Otherwise a ComplexNumber instance will be returned.
  • If any of the inputs is a tensor object or a JavaScript array, the output will be a tensor object.
  • Some functions have a parameter named keepDims. If keepDims is set to true, the output will always be a tensor object.


// Creates a 3 x 3 zero matrix.
let Z = T.zeros([3, 3]);
// Creates a 3 x 3 identity matrix.
let I = T.eye([3, 3]);
// Creates a 3 x 4 x 3 array whose elements are all ones with data type INT32.
let X = T.ones([3, 4, 3], T.INT32);


JASMAL support a flexible indexing/slicing scheme similar to that in MATLAB/Python.

let A = T.eye([3, 3]);
A.set(0, 10); // sets the first element to 10
A.set(':', 1); // sets all the elements to 1
A.set(-1, 10); // sets the last element to 10
A.set(0, ':', 2); // sets all the elements in the first row to 2
A.set('::2', 0); // sets all the elements with even indices to 0
A.set([0, -1], [0, -1], [[1, 2], [3, 4]]); // sets four corners to 1, 2, 3, 4
A.set(function (x) { return x < 0; }, 0); // sets all negative elements to 0

A.get(0); // gets the first element
A.get(':', 0); // gets the first column as a 1D vector
// By default, get() will attempt to remove singleton dimensions. If you do not
// want this behavior, you can specify keepDims = true.
A.get(':', 0, true); // gets the first columns as a 2D column vector

A.get('::-1', ':'); // gets a new matrix with the rows reversed
A.get([0, -1], [0, -1]); // gets a new matrix consists of the four corners
A.get([0, 1, 1, 2, 0, 1], ':'); // sample rows

Matrix/Tensor manipulation

JASMAL provides basic tools for tensor manipulation. You can reshape, flatten, squeeze, tile or concatenate tensors. See the definition file for details.

let A = T.fromArray([[1, 2, 3], [4, 5, 6]]);
// Reshaping.
let B = T.reshape(A, [3, 2]);
// The following is equivalent to the above, where we use -1 to indicate that
// the length of this dimension need to be calculated automatically. At most one
// -1 can be used in the new shape.
let B1 = T.reshape(A, [-1, 2]);
// Flattening
let a = T.flatten(A); // should have shape [6]
// Vectorizing
let v = T.vec(A); // should have shape [6, 1]
// Remove singleton dimensions.
let S = T.ones([1, 2, 1, 3]);
T.squeeze(S); // should have shape [2, 3]
// Concatenating at the specified dimension.
let X1 = T.ones([2, 4, 3]);
let X2 = T.zeros([2, 2, 3]);
let X3 = T.ones([2, 1, 3]);
let Z = T.concat([X1, X2, X3], 1); // should have a shape of [2, 7, 3]
/* Tiling. C should be
 *  [[1, 2, 1, 2],
 *   [3, 4, 3, 4],
 *   [1, 2, 1, 2],
 *   [3, 4, 3, 4]] */
let C = T.tile([[1, 2], [3, 4]], [2, 2]);
// Permute axis.
let D1 = T.rand([2, 3, 4]);
let D2 = T.permuteAxis(D1, [2, 1, 0]); // D2 has a shape of [4, 3, 2]

Arithmetic operations

JASMAL supports basic arithmetic operations between tensors of compatible shapes, including add(), sub(), mul(), div(), neg(), reciprocal(), and rem(). For binary operations, broadcasting is supported.

// Only when both operands are scalar, a scalar is returned.
let s = T.add(1, 2); // returns 3

let A = T.ones(3);
// Subtract one from matrix A and return the result as a new matrix.
let B1 = T.sub(A, 1);
// Subtract one from matrix A but do it in-place.
T.sub(A, 1, true);
// Subtract 2+3j from A. The result will be complex.
let B2 = T.sub(A, T.complexNumber(2, 3));

// Broadcasting
let X = T.rand([3, 3]);
let C = T.mul([[1], [2], [3]], X);
// The above operation is equivalent to the following one:
let C1 = T.matmul(T.diag([1, 2, 3]), X);
// or the following one:
let C2 = T.mul(T.tile([[1], [2], [3]], [1, 3]), X);

Math functions

JASMAL supports various math functions. Many of them also accepts complex inputs. You can check the definitions in the following files:

// Absolute value
T.abs([[1, 2], [-3, 4]]);
// Sine
T.sin(T.linspace(0, Math.PI*2, 100));
// Square root
// Element-wise minimum.
T.min2([1, 2], -1);

Random number generation

To support seeding, Jasmal uses the Mersenne twister engine by default to generate random numbers.

// Specify the seed.
// Retrieves an double within (0,1) with 53-bit precision.
let x = T.rand(); 
// Creates a 3x4x5 tensor whose elements sampled from the normal distribution.
let N = T.randn([3, 4, 5]);
// Generate 10 random integers within [0, 10].
let Z = T.randi(0, 10, [10]);

You can configure JASMAL to use the JavaScript's Math.random() using the following code when creating the JASMAL instance:

const T = require('jasmal').JasmalEngine.createInstance({
  rngEngine: 'native'

Matrix operations

JASMAL supports various matrix operations. For details, see the definitions here.

let A = T.rand([3, 3]), B = T.rand([3, 3]);
// Construct a complex matrix by combining real and imaginary parts.
let C = T.complex(A, B);
// Matrix multiplication
let AB = T.matmul(A, B);
// You can specify a modifier for B
let ABt = T.matmul(A, B, T.MM_TRANSPOSED);
// Extract diagonal elements.
let d = T.diag(A);
// Construct a diagonal matrix.
let D = diag(d);
// Matrix transpose/Hermitian.
let At = T.transpose(A);
let Ch = T.hermitian(C);
// Kronecker product.
let K = T.kron(A, B);
// Inverse (JASMAL uses LUP decomposition to compute the inverse)
let Ainv = T.inv(A);
// Determinant (JASMAL uses LUP decomposition to compute the determinant)
let detA = T.det(A);
// SVD
let [U1, S1, V1] = T.svd(A);
// SVD also works for complex matrices.
let [U2, S2, V2] = T.svd(C);
// Eigendecomposition for general square matrices.
let [E1, L1] = T.eig(A);
// Eigendecomposition also works for general complex square matrices.
let [E2, L2] = T.eig(C);
// Solve the linear system AX = B.
let X = T.linsolve(A, B);

Data functions

JASMAL also includes several functions for data processing. For details, see the definitions here.

let A = T.fromArray([[1, 2, 3], [4, 5, 6]]);
// Gets the sum of all the elements.
let sum = T.sum(A);
// Sums each row and returns a column vector. We specify keepDims = true here.
let sums = T.sum(A, 1, true);
// Sorts all the elements in A in descending order and return the indices I
// such that As is given by `A.get(I)`.
let [As, I] = T.sort(A, 'desc', true);
// Histogram (10 bins by default).
let [H, E] = T.hist(T.randn([1000])); // H stores the frequencies and E stores
                                      // the edges of the bins.

Polynomial functions

JASMAL supports polynomial evaluation and polynomial root finding. For details, see the definitions here.

// Evaluates x^2+2x+3 at 2 and 4.
let v = T.polyval([1, 2, 3], [2, 4]);
// Evaluates the matrix polynomial X^2 + 2X + 3I.
let V = T.polyvalm([1, 2, 3], [[1, 2], [3, 4]]);
// Finds the least-squares fit of the sine function with a cubic function.
let x = T.linspace(0, 2, 20);
let y = T.sin(x);
let p = T.polyfit(x, y);
// Finds roots of x^3 + x + 1 = 0.
let r = T.roots([1, 0, 1, 1]);

Set functions

JASMAL includes commonly used set functions such as union(), intersect(), and setdiff(). For details, see the definitions here.

let A = T.fromArray([5, 4, 4, 3, 0]);
let B = T.fromArray([1, 1, 3, 3]);
// Finds the unique elements in A
let C = T.unique(A); // [0, 3, 4, 5]
// Union of sets.
let U = T.union(A, B); // [0, 1, 3, 4, 5]
// Checks membership.
let M = T.isin(B, A); // Returns a logic vector [0, 0, 1, 1]
// Computes set difference.
let D = T.setdiff(A, B); // [0, 4, 5]


Unfortunately, JavaScript is relatively slow for dense numerical computations. Therefore, multiply two 1000 x 1000 matrices or performing the singular value decomposition of a 500 x 500 matrix may take several seconds in the browser. Nevertheless, JASMAL is still useful in demonstrating small scale numeric problems.

Vectorization and indexing

For vectorized operations, JASMAL's performance should not deviate too far from that of the native JavaScript. However, for scalar operations, JASMAL can be slower because of the overheads. For instance, calling T.sqrt(x) 1000 times for a scalar x is slower than calling T.sqrt(X) where X is a 1000-element tensor object.

Element by element indexing can also be slow with JASMAL because of the overhead needed for implementing the flexible indexing schemes. For instance, if you want to set all the elements in a matrix to zero, M.set(':', 0) is much much faster than the following code:

for (let i = 0;i < m;i++) {
    for (let j = 0;j < n;j++) {
        M.set(i, j, 0);

Reference copy

For reshaping operations reshape(), flatten(), and vec(), data are not copied immediately to avoid unnecessary memory allocations:

let A = T.randn([200, 200]);
let B = T.reshape([100, 400]); // Now A and B share the same underlying storage.
B.set(0, 0, 100); // A copy of the data in A is made before setting the element at (0, 0),
                  // A and B no longer share the same underlying storage.

Accessing the underlying data storage directly

JASMAL stores multi-dimensional arrays in the row major order. If you want to completely bypass the indexing overhead of JASMAL's indexing functions, you can directly access the underlying storage and manipulate them:

// If you want to write to the underlying storage directly, ensure that it is
// not shared.
let re = A.realData;
re[0] = 1;
let im;
// If a matrix does not have complex data storage, accessing its imaginary data
// storage will result in an error.
if (!A.hasComplexStorage()) {
    // Make sure the complex data storage is available.
im = A.imagData;
im[0] = -1;


JASMAL itself is released under the MIT license.

eigen.ts contains several subroutines ported from the pristine Fortran code EISPACK, which are distributed using the Modified BSD or MIT license (source). For these subroutines, all rights reserved by the authors of EISPACK.