I have a model of an information transmission system Y = XH + N, where X is a diagonal matrix with the transmitted "symbols" (known), H is a column vector which distorts the transmitted symbols and N is a "noise (column) vector" which is sampled from a zero mean Gaussian distribution of known variance. An estimator of the distortion H would be: $\hat{H} = (X^H X)^{-1} X^H Y$. Now, if we apply this estimator to the model, we obtain

$(X^H X)^{-1} X^HX H + (X^H X)^{-1} X^HN = H + (X^H X)^{-1} X^HN$. This implies $(X^H X)^{-1} X^HN$ is the error in the estimator. I am interested to get the mse of this estimator. I was thinking of proceeding as follows: $C_{\tilde{N}} = E[((X^H X)^{-1} X^HN)((X^H X)^{-1} X^HN)^H]$

$ = (X^H X)^{-1} X^HE[NN^H]\ X (X^H X)^{-1}$

$ = (X^H X)^{-1} X^H (\sigma^2 I) \ X (X^H X)^{-1}$

$ = (X^H X)^{-1} X^H (\sigma^2 I) \ X (X^H X)^{-1} = \sigma^2 (X^H X)^{-1}$

We now have, I believe, the covariance matrix of the estimator noise (since X is a matrix here). Can I obtain the MSE of the estimator from this? And, in general, if we have a covariance matrix of the form $\sigma^2 P$, where P is guarenteed to be positive definite (as a covariance matrix should be) but no other information is known (P is not diagonal), how could I calculate the MSE?

  • $\begingroup$ Any citation (reference books?) to such a result would be appreciated. $\endgroup$
    – Analon92
    Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 3:05

1 Answer 1


So it turns out this was rather simple, when I thought about it. $MSE = E[|H-\hat{H}|^2] = E[(H-\hat{H})^H (H-\hat{H})]$

$=E[((X^H X)^{-1} X^HN)^H (X^H X)^{-1} X^HN]$

which is a real number.

What I had calculated was $E[(H-\hat{H}) (H-\hat{H})^H]$, which is a rank 1 matrix. To get the MSE, we just need to sum the diagonal elements of this correlation matrix, which can be derived using basic linear algebra.


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