Definition and Importance of Vector Norms
Vector norms are a way to measure the magnitude or distance of a vector. They are mathematical functions that assign a nonnegative value to a vector, indicating its size.
Vector norms are important because they allow us to determine the length or magnitude of a vector, making it easier to compare and analyze different vectors. Vector norms have many applications in fields such as physics, engineering, computer science, and economics.
They can be used to solve problems related to optimization, interpolation, clustering, classification, and more.
Different Forms of Vector Norms
There are different forms of vector norms, each with its own properties and characteristics. Some common forms of vector norms are L1 norm, L2 norm, Manhattan Distance, Taxicab norm, and Euclidean norm.
L1 Norm
L1 norm, also known as Manhattan norm or Taxicab norm, measures the absolute differences between the coordinates of a vector. It is called Manhattan norm because it calculates the distance between two points along the gridlike streets of Manhattan.
L1 Norm Formula
L1 norm is given by the formula:
x1 = x1 + x2 + ... + xn
where x is a vector of n dimensions, and xi is the coordinate of x in the ith dimension. L1 norm is often used in applications that require sparsity, meaning that many elements of the vector are zero.
L2 Norm
L2 norm, also known as Euclidean norm, measures the distance between two points in Euclidean space. It is called Euclidean norm because it uses the Pythagorean theorem to calculate the distance between two points.
L2 Norm Formula
L2 norm is given by the formula:
x2 = (x1^2 + x2^2 + ... + xn^2)
where x is a vector of n dimensions, and xi is the coordinate of x in the ith dimension. L2 norm is often used in applications that require smoothness, meaning that nearby points are similar in value.
Manhattan Distance or Taxicab Norm
Manhattan Distance or Taxicab norm is similar to L1 norm, but it has a different interpretation. Manhattan Distance calculates the distance between two points by adding the absolute differences of their coordinates.
It is called Taxicab norm because it measures the distance between two points as if they were in a city and could only travel along the gridlike streets. Manhattan Distance is given by the formula:
d(x, y) = x1  y1 + x2  y2 + ... + xn  yn
where x and y are vectors of n dimensions, and xi and yi are their respective coordinates in the ith dimension.
Calculation and Formula of L1 Norm
Let’s focus on L1 norm, which is the sum of the absolute differences between the coordinates of a vector. To calculate the L1 norm of a vector x, we add up the absolute differences of its coordinates:
x1 = x1 + x2 + ... + xn
For example, let’s consider the vector x = [7, 5]. The L1 norm of x is:
x1 = 7 + 5 = 7 + 5 = 12
This means that the magnitude or size of vector x is 12. We can also interpret the L1 norm of a vector as the distance between its origin and its destination, where the destination is the point represented by the vector.
Visualization and Example of L1 Norm
To better understand L1 norm, let’s visualize it with a diagram. Consider the vector x = [7, 5].
x
^

 *
 /
 /
 /
 /
 /
/________>
Origin
The vector x starts from the origin and ends at the point marked “*”. The L1 norm of x is the sum of the absolute differences between the coordinates of “*”:
x1 = 7  0 + 5  0 = 7 + 5 = 12
As we can see from the diagram, the L1 norm of x is equal to the distance traveled along the gridlike streets of Manhattan. We can also calculate the L1 norm of other vectors using the same formula.
For example, let’s consider the vector y = [3, 4, 2]. The L1 norm of y is:
y1 = 3 + 4 + 2 = 3 + 4 + 2 = 9
Importing Required Library
To calculate the L1 norm of a vector using Python, we need to import the numpy module. Numpy is a popular library for scientific computing in Python, and it provides various functions for handling arrays and matrices.
We can use the numpy.linalg.norm function to calculate the L1 norm of a vector. Here’s how we can import the required modules in Python:
import numpy as np
We can also use an alias for the numpy module, such as np, to make our code more readable.
Calculation of L1 Norm using Python
Let’s calculate the L1 norm of a vector using Python. Suppose we have a vector x = [7, 5]. We can use the norm function from numpy as follows:
import numpy as np
x = np.array([7, 5])
l1_norm = np.linalg.norm(x, 1)
print("L1 norm of x:", l1_norm)
In the above code, we first create a numpy array x that contains the elements of the vector we want to calculate the L1 norm of. Then, we use the np.linalg.norm function with the parameter 1 to calculate the L1 norm of x. Finally, we print the output, which in this case is the L1 norm of vector x. The output of the above code will be:
L1 norm of x: 12.0
Note that the output value is a float type, which is the expected output of the L1 norm.
L2 Norm of a Vector
L2 norm, also known as Euclidean norm, measures the distance between two points in Euclidean space. It is called Euclidean norm because it uses the Pythagorean theorem to calculate the distance between two points.
L2 Norm Formula
L2 norm is given by the formula:
x2 = (x1^2 + x2^2 + ... + xn^2)
where x is a vector of n dimensions, and xi is the coordinate of x in the ith dimension. L2 norm is often used in applications that require smoothness, meaning that nearby points are similar in value.
Calculation and Formula of L2 Norm
To calculate the L2 norm of a vector, we take the square root of the sum of the squares of its individual elements. Let’s say we have a vector x = [7, 5]. The L2 norm of x can be calculated as follows:
x2 = (7^2 + 5^2) = 74 8.602
We can also write the above formula in Python using numpy as follows:
import numpy as np
x = np.array([7, 5])
l2_norm = np.linalg.norm(x)
print("L2 norm of x:", l2_norm)
In this code, we have used the np.linalg.norm function without any parameter to calculate the L2 norm of vector x. The output of the code will be:
L2 norm of x: 8.602325267042627
Visualization and Example of L2 Norm
To better understand L2 norm, let’s visualize it with a diagram. Consider the vector x = [7, 5].
x
^

 *
 /
 /
 /
 /
 /
 /
___/________>
Origin
The vector x starts from the origin and ends at the point marked “*”. The L2 norm of x is the square root of the sum of the squares of the coordinates of “*”:
x2 = (7^2 + 5^2) 8.602
As we can observe from the diagram, the L2 norm of a vector represents the Euclidean distance between the origin and the destination point, where the vector points to.
Implementing L2 Norm in Python
In the previous section, we worked with L1 norm, which measures the absolute differences between the coordinates of a vector. Now we’ll focus on L2 norm, which measures the distance between two points in Euclidean space.
Importing Required Library
To calculate the L2 norm of a vector using Python, we need to import the numpy module, just like we did for L1 norm. Here’s how we can do it:
import numpy as np
Calculation of L2 Norm Using Python
Once we have imported the numpy module, we can use its norm function to calculate the L2 norm of a vector. Here’s how we can do it:
import numpy as np
x = np.array([7, 5])
l2_norm = np.linalg.norm(x)
print("L2 norm of x:", "%.2f" % l2_norm)
In the above code, we first create a numpy array x that contains the elements of the vector we want to calculate the L2 norm of. Then, we use the np.linalg.norm function to calculate the L2 norm of x. Finally, we print the output using the “%.2f” format specifier to display the result up to two decimal places.
The output of the above code will be:
L2 norm of x: 8.60
We can see that the L2 norm of the vector x = [7, 5] is approximately equal to 8.60.
Conclusion
Importance of Vector Norms in Specific Applications
Vector norms have many important applications in specific fields that require specific properties. For example, in machine learning applications, L1 norm is used when sparsity is required, while L2 norm is used when smoothness is required. In image processing applications, L2 norm is used to calculate the distance between two images to determine their similarity.
In physics applications, vector norms are used to calculate forces and accelerations.
How to Compute Vector Norms Using Numpy
In this article, we discussed what vector norms are and why they are important. We explored different forms of vector norms, including L1 norm and L2 norm, and provided their calculating formulas and examples. We then moved on to how we can implement vector norms in Python, using the numpy library and its norm function.
To calculate the L1 norm of a vector, we used np.linalg.norm(x, 1), where x is the vector and 1 is the parameter that specifies L1 norm. Similarly, to calculate the L2 norm of a vector, we used np.linalg.norm(x), where x is the vector and no parameter is needed since L2 norm is the default.
In conclusion, understanding and using vector norms is essential for many applications in different fields. By implementing them in Python using the numpy library and its norm function, we can easily calculate vector norms and use them to solve problems related to optimization, interpolation, clustering, classification, and more.
In this article, we discussed the importance of vector norms and their various applications in fields such as physics, engineering, computer science, and economics. We explored different forms of vector norms, including L1 and L2 norms, and demonstrated how to implement them in Python using the numpy library and its norm function. We focused on calculating L1 and L2 norms and provided formulas, examples, and visualizations to make the concepts clearer. The ability to calculate vector norms is essential in many applications related to data analysis, machine learning, and optimization.
By understanding these concepts, readers can now measure the distance and magnitude of vectors and solve realworld problems.