I have the an algorithm for computing a matrix determinant:

$$\ det(A) = \sum_{i=1}^n (-1)^{i-1} \cdot A_{i1} \cdot det(A_{-i,-1})$$

Where $\ A_{-i,-1} $ is the matrix $\ A $ without the row $\ 1 $ and column $\ i $

Drawing the recurrence tree, I see each level $\ k $ has $\ \frac{(n-1)!}{(n-k)!} $ nodes. So I think the upper bound for this algorithm to be $\ O(n!) $ because the height of the tree is $\ n $ and the row sum of each level is the same as number of nodes. How can I set lower bound using recurrence tree? I've found this answer where the lower bound of such arithmetic operation in a matrix is set to be $\ \Omega(n^3) $ though , can not understand why?

  • $\begingroup$ Your method can be improved upon significantly. The lower bound is not on a particular algorithm, but rather on a class of algorithms. In fact, the determinant can be computed in $O(n^\omega)$, where $\omega $ is the matrix multiplication exponent, which is smaller than 3. $\endgroup$ Nov 9, 2020 at 15:44
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry I should have added that I was given a particular algorithm that just do exactly as the formula above. Does it change anything? Also, could you elaborate why the determinant can be computed in $\ O(n^{\omega}) $ ? $\endgroup$
    – bm1125
    Nov 9, 2020 at 16:19
  • $\begingroup$ I understand your question. I was trying to explain the other answer. As for the fast algorithm, you can find it in textbooks such as CLRS, and probably also on Wikipedia. $\endgroup$ Nov 9, 2020 at 16:26

1 Answer 1


The complexity of your algorithm on $n \times n$ matrices satisfies the recurrence $$ T(n)=nT(n-1) + O(n^3), $$ with a base case of $T(1) = O(1)$. In particular, $T(n) \geq n! T(1)$.

In the other direction, let $S(n) = T(n)/n!$. Then $$ S(n) = S(n-1) + O(n^3/n!), $$ with a base case of $S(1) = O(1)$. Since $\sum_{n=0}^\infty n^3/n!$ converges, we get $S(n) = O(1)$, and so $T(n) = O(n!)$. (The same argument also proves the lower bound.)


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