# Solved – Dimensions Of The Covariance Matrix

I know that PCA can be obtained by eigendecomposition of the covariance matrix, and the covariance matrix $$S$$ is obtained by the equation: $$S = X^TX$$, where $$X$$ is the centered data matrix.

But I am a bit confused about the dimensions of the covariance matrix.

In some resources, they define the data matrix as: $$X_{n times d}$$ where n is the number of samples and d is the dimension. In other resources, it's the opposite: $$X_{d times n}$$. And this definitely yields covariance matrices with different dimensions, and also eigenvectors of different dimensions.

I am not sure what am I getting wrong, but I think I am missing something important here.

Contents

When $$X$$ is $$ntimes d$$, the scatter matrix (the scaled covariance) is $$S=X^TX$$. When it is $$dtimes n$$, $$S=XX^T$$. And, in the latter case, the rows of $$X$$ are mean-centered as opposed to the former.
The logic is always to calculate $$sum_{i=1}^n x_ix_i^T$$ where $$x_i$$ is one data sample of dimension $$dtimes 1$$.
Covariance matrix is typically estimated as $$S/n$$ or $$S/(n-1)$$, since it's just a scalar, in PCA it doesn't matter.