Transpose Matrix
Identifying Problem Isomorphism
“Transpose Matrix” can be approximately mapped to “Rotate Image”.
Reasoning:
Both problems involve dealing with a 2D grid and transforming it in a way that changes the positions of the elements. They both require a good understanding of working with 2D arrays and manipulating indices.
“Transpose Matrix” is simpler as it only requires interchanging rows and columns. “Rotate Image” is more complex, requiring rotating the matrix 90 degrees clockwise, which involves a combination of transposition and reversal operations.
The skill set required to solve them overlaps, specifically navigating and manipulating a 2D array.
10 Prerequisite LeetCode Problems
For “Transpose of a Matrix”, the following is a good preparation:
485. Max Consecutive Ones: This problem helps understand how to iterate through a 1D array which is a stepping stone before working with 2D arrays.
561. Array Partition I: A problem that requires understanding of how to sort a 1D array and relate array indices with their values.
566. Reshape the Matrix: This problem teaches how to manipulate 2D matrices, which is directly relevant to our problem.
657. Robot Return to Origin: Helps to understand the coordinate system which is beneficial when dealing with 2D matrices.
867. Transpose Matrix: This is a simplified version of our problem where the matrix is always a square matrix.
896. Monotonic Array: Understanding monotonic properties in an array can be a good start to understanding how values relate to each other, which is crucial in the context of 2D matrices.
1089. Duplicate Zeros: Handling special cases in an array manipulation problem can help prepare for special cases in a 2D array.
118. Pascal’s Triangle: This problem provides good practice on understanding the relationship between a value and its position in a 2D matrix.
119. Pascal’s Triangle II: This problem is an extension of the previous problem where you generate a specific row in a 2D matrix. It offers a way to grasp the idea of manipulating rows and columns in a 2D matrix.
498. Diagonal Traverse: This problem deals with diagonal traversal in a 2D matrix which can be helpful in understanding the concept of transposing a matrix.
These cover array manipulation and handling 2D matrices, which are essential concepts for the given problem.
Problem Classification
This problem belongs to the domain of Linear Algebra, specifically the subdomain of Matrix Manipulation. It’s a common type of problem that arises in many fields such as Computer Science, Data Science, Physics, and more.
Let’s break down the ‘What’ components of the problem:
Problem Input: The input is a 2D integer array or matrix.
Operation: The operation is to transpose the given matrix. The transpose of a matrix is obtained by flipping it over its main diagonal, which essentially means swapping the row and column indices for each element.
Problem Output: The output is another 2D integer array or matrix which is the transpose of the input matrix.
We can further classify the problem as follows:
Data Structure: The problem involves handling 2D arrays or matrices, which suggests it is related to the data structure domain.
Algorithm: Transposing a matrix is a welldefined operation and there are known algorithms to achieve this. Hence, it falls under the algorithmic domain as well.
Complexity: Given the constraints, the problem also implicitly challenges the candidate to come up with an efficient solution that can handle large matrices. So, it involves aspects of computational complexity as well.
By identifying these categories and understanding the problem components, we can have a clearer understanding of the problem, which can help us in solving it more effectively.
Clarification Questions
Here are some potential clarification questions for this problem:
Are we guaranteed that the input matrix will always be nonempty? The problem states the dimensions of the matrix will be at least 1x1, but it doesn’t explicitly say whether the matrix will contain any elements.
Will the input matrix always be a valid matrix? That is, will every row in the matrix have the same number of columns?
Are there any constraints on how we should implement the transpose operation? For example, can we use builtin functions or libraries that perform this operation, or should we implement it from scratch?
Can the input matrix contain negative numbers? The problem states that the values can range from 109 to 109, but it would be good to confirm this.
What should we do if the matrix is too large to fit in memory? The problem’s constraints suggest this shouldn’t be the case, but it’s worth confirming, especially since the product of the dimensions (m*n) can be up to 105.
How should we handle the output? Should we return a new matrix, or is it acceptable to modify the original matrix inplace?
Will the matrix always be square? That is, will the number of rows always equal the number of columns?
Is it guaranteed that the input and output matrices will fit into memory? Given the constraints, this should be the case, but it could be worth confirming.
These questions can help ensure you understand the problem and its constraints fully, and can guide your approach to solving it.
Problem Analysis and Key Insights
The following are key insights that can be drawn from analyzing the problem statement:
Transpose Operation: The operation we need to perform on the matrix is called transposition. In the context of a matrix, the transpose operation involves flipping the matrix over its main diagonal. This results in the row and column indices of each element being switched. For instance, an element that was originally at position (i, j) in the original matrix ends up at position (j, i) in the transposed matrix.
Input and Output Matrix Dimensions: The dimensions of the output matrix will be the inverse of the input matrix’s dimensions. If the input matrix has ’m’ rows and ’n’ columns, the output (transposed) matrix will have ’n’ rows and ’m’ columns.
Input Matrix Constraints: The input matrix can have a maximum of 1000 rows and 1000 columns, with a total of 105 elements. This means the size of the input matrix should be manageable for standard algorithms and it is unlikely we need to consider memory constraints for this problem.
Element Constraints: The values of the elements in the matrix can range from 109 to 109. This means we don’t have to worry about issues related to integer overflow for this problem.
Inplace vs New Matrix: The problem does not specify whether we need to perform the transpose operation inplace (i.e., modify the original matrix) or if we can create a new matrix for the output. This could affect our approach to the problem. If we are allowed to create a new matrix, we could simply iterate over the input matrix and insert each element into its correct position in the new matrix. However, if we had to do it inplace, the solution would be more complex, especially for nonsquare matrices.
Understanding these key points is crucial as it helps us formulate our approach to solving the problem.
Problem Boundary
The scope of this problem involves:
Understanding Matrix Operations: The problem is primarily about understanding and implementing a fundamental operation on a 2D matrix  transposing. It requires a clear understanding of what a matrix is, how it is represented in a 2D array, and how the transpose operation modifies a matrix.
Creating a New Data Structure: Depending on the approach, the solution could involve creating a new matrix (2D array) that holds the transposed version of the original matrix. This would entail understanding how to initialize and populate a new 2D array.
Iteration: The problem will involve iterating over a 2D structure and using the indices in the computation, since the operation has to be performed on each element of the matrix.
Data Mapping: A crucial part of the problem is the mapping of an element’s position from the original matrix to its position in the transposed matrix. This requires a grasp of how data is transferred and transformed from one format (original matrix) to another (transposed matrix).
The problem does not extend to other matrix operations (like matrix addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc.), handling sparse matrices, or optimizing for space complexity (unless it is stated that the transpose should be done inplace).
The boundary of this problem can be established based on several factors:
Input Size: The problem statement defines the boundary for the size of the matrix as 1 <= m, n <= 1000 and 1 <= m * n <= 105. This provides an upper and lower limit for the matrix dimensions.
Data Type: The input is a matrix consisting of integers, as per the problem statement. This implies that the solution doesn’t need to account for other types like floatingpoint numbers or strings.
Operation: The task is to transpose a matrix, flipping it over its main diagonal. Other matrix operations like addition, subtraction, or multiplication are not considered.
Inplace vs New Matrix: The problem doesn’t specify whether the transpose should be done inplace or not. Unless otherwise specified, we can assume that we can use a new matrix to store the transposed matrix.
Input/Output Format: The input is a list of lists representing a 2D matrix, and the output should also be in the same format.
By defining these boundaries, we ensure that the solution specifically addresses the problem and doesn’t include unnecessary functionality or complexity. The solution should focus on correctly transposing the given matrix within these constraints.
Distilling the Problem to Its Core Elements
Fundamental Concept: The principle this problem is based on is the mathematical concept of matrix transposition. In simple terms, a transposed matrix is obtained by flipping a matrix over its main diagonal, which switches the row and column indices.
Simplified Problem Description: Imagine you have a grid of numbers. The task is to swap the rows and columns, so the first row becomes the first column, the second row becomes the second column, and so on.
Core Problem: The main problem to solve here is to correctly transpose a given 2D matrix. The simplified version of the problem statement would be: “Given a grid of numbers, swap the rows and columns.”
Key Components: The key components of this problem are the input 2D matrix, the concept of matrix transposition, and the output transposed matrix.
Minimal Set of Operations: The minimal operations we need to perform are:
 Create a new matrix with the number of rows and columns swapped.
 Iterate over the original matrix.
 For each cell in the original matrix, place the cell’s value in the new matrix at the position where the row number is the column number in the original matrix and the column number is the row number in the original matrix.
 Return the new matrix.
Visual Model of the Problem
Visualizing the problem statement for this matrix transposition problem involves understanding the concept of how the rows and columns switch places.
Consider the given input matrix:
1 2 3
4 5 6
7 8 9
You can visualize the transposition operation as “flipping” the matrix over its main diagonal (the one that goes from the topleft to the bottomright), which will make rows become columns and columns become rows.
The transpose of the above matrix would be:
1 4 7
2 5 8
3 6 9
So, the first row [1 2 3]
of the original matrix becomes the first column [1 4 7]
of the transposed matrix. Similarly, the second row [4 5 6]
becomes the second column [2 5 8]
, and so on.
Problem Restatement
The task is to perform a transformation on a twodimensional grid of numbers (a matrix). This transformation is known as ’transposition’. When you transpose a matrix, you’re essentially flipping it over its main diagonal. This diagonal runs from the top left to the bottom right of the matrix.
In more straightforward terms, each row of numbers in the original matrix should become a column in the new matrix.
For instance, if your input matrix has three rows: [1,2,3], [4,5,6], [7,8,9], the transposed matrix will have the first column as [1,4,7], the second as [2,5,8] and the third as [3,6,9].
There are constraints to consider. The length and width of the matrix will be between 1 and 1000 inclusive, and the total number of elements (length * width) will not exceed 105. The matrix will only contain integer numbers, and these numbers can range from 10^9 to 10^9 inclusive.
Abstract Representation of the Problem
This problem revolves around a fundamental operation on a twodimensional grid (matrix). The operation is known as ’transposition’. Transposing a matrix involves altering the arrangement of elements in such a way that rows of the original matrix become columns in the transformed matrix, and vice versa.
We can imagine this as an operation on a grid of abstract entities, which are subject to the same reordering operation. We have a starting state (the initial grid) and a transformation rule (transposition), and the goal is to determine the state of the grid after this rule has been applied.
The specific details about the grid contents (integers ranging from 109 to 109), or the exact size of the grid (from 1x1 to 1000x1000), are aspects of the realworld representation and aren’t essential to the abstract problem formulation.
In short, we have a twodimensional structure and a rule for transforming it. The task is to apply this rule and determine the resulting structure.
Terminology
There are a few key terms and concepts which are crucial for this problem:
Matrix: A matrix is a twodimensional data structure where each data element is of a strictly same size and is denoted by a number of rows and columns. It represents a table of values or quantities.
Transpose of a Matrix: Transposing a matrix involves flipping the matrix over its main diagonal, which starts from the top left and ends at the bottom right. In other words, this operation swaps the row and column indices of each element. For any element at position (i, j) in the original matrix, its position in the transposed matrix will be (j, i).
Row and Column of a Matrix: The horizontal entities are known as ‘rows’ and the vertical entities are ‘columns’ in a matrix.
In the context of the problem, you’re given a matrix (twodimensional grid), and your task is to generate a new matrix which is the transpose of the input. This involves converting the rows of the input matrix into columns of the output matrix, and vice versa. Understanding these concepts is fundamental to solving this problem.
Problem Simplification and Explanation
The core concept in this problem is transposing a matrix, and it’s all about interchanging rows and columns. To make it simpler, let’s imagine a fun classroom activity.
Think of the 2D matrix as a classroom of students arranged in rows and columns. Each student is an element and the student’s position in the classroom is determined by their row and column (i.e., seat). Now, the principal announces a change: they want the students to rearrange themselves such that every student who was in a particular row will now be in the corresponding column, and vice versa.
So, if a student was sitting in the 3rd row from the front and 4th column from the left (we could denote this position as (3,4)), after the rearrangement, they should be sitting in the 4th row from the front and 3rd column from the left (position (4,3)). All students make this change, and voila  the classroom has been ’transposed’!
This analogy simplifies the concept of matrix transposition, where rows and columns are swapped. This is the key to solving the problem  you need to rearrange elements of a 2D matrix such that every element at (i,j) moves to position (j,i) in the transposed matrix.
Constraints
There are a few characteristics or conditions in this problem that can be leveraged for an efficient solution:
Numerical Ranges: The elements in the matrix are integers, and the constraints on the size of the matrix (1 <= m, n <= 1000) make it possible to handle even the largest possible matrix within reasonable computation time and space.
Fixed Size: The size of the matrix is known ahead of time and does not change. This allows us to preallocate the resulting matrix, leading to a more efficient implementation.
Matrix Property: The problem is based on a fundamental property of matrices: the transpose of a matrix. This operation is welldefined, so we don’t need to invent a new algorithm or data structure to solve the problem. We can just apply the definition directly.
No Dependency Between Elements: Each element in the transposed matrix depends only on one element in the original matrix, and each element in the original matrix contributes to only one element in the transposed matrix. This means the order in which we process the elements doesn’t matter. We can process them in any order and still get the same result. This could allow us to use parallel processing techniques to speed up the computation.
Inplace Transposition: If the matrix is a square matrix (i.e., the number of rows is equal to the number of columns), we could perform the transposition inplace, which could save space. However, for a rectangular matrix, an inplace transposition is not possible, as the number of rows and columns in the transposed matrix would be different.
Analyzing the constraints in this problem, we can come to the following insights:
Size of the Matrix: The matrix size can range from 1x1 to 1000x1000. Therefore, the solution must be able to handle large matrices efficiently. This rules out solutions with quadratic time complexity or higher.
Range of Elements: The elements in the matrix range from 10^9 to 10^9. This wide range could lead to integer overflow issues if not handled properly. For instance, if the solution involved summing elements, the sum could potentially exceed the maximum integer value. However, since we’re just transposing the matrix without any arithmetic operations, this range does not pose a problem.
Type of Elements: All elements in the matrix are integers. This means that we don’t need to worry about precision or rounding issues.
Matrix Structure: The problem statement does not specify whether the matrix is square or rectangular, which means the solution must be able to handle both types of matrices. In case of a square matrix, an inplace transposition could be possible. For rectangular matrices, however, we would need to create a new matrix to hold the transposed result.
No Null Values: The problem statement doesn’t mention the possibility of null or missing values in the matrix. We can assume that all values are valid integers.
These insights help in choosing an appropriate data structure and algorithm for this problem and avoiding potential pitfalls related to the size and contents of the matrix.
Case Analysis
Edge cases are scenarios that occur at the extreme ranges of the input space, and they often reveal unexpected issues in code that are not handled by the main logic. They are called “edge” cases because they represent the boundaries or “edges” of possible inputs. For this problem, the edge cases could be:
Empty Matrix (“No Elements Case”): While the problem states that m and n are greater than or equal to 1, it’s always good to think about how your code would handle an empty matrix.
Single Element Matrix (“Minimum Size Case”): This represents the smallest possible valid size for the matrix. It helps us ensure our solution handles the simplest case correctly.
Input: matrix = [[5]] Output: [[5]]
 Matrix with One Row or One Column (“Single Dimension Case”): This is interesting because the transpose of such a matrix is still a valid matrix, but the dimensions are flipped. This can test if your code correctly handles the change in dimensions.
Input: matrix = [[1, 2, 3, 4, 5]] Output: [[1], [2], [3], [4], [5]]
 Matrix with All Identical Elements (“Uniform Value Case”): This tests whether your code correctly handles a matrix where all elements are the same. This shouldn’t affect the logic of the transpose, but it’s a good test to ensure that all elements are correctly transposed.
Input: matrix = [[7, 7, 7], [7, 7, 7]] Output: [[7, 7], [7, 7], [7, 7]]
Large Matrix (“Maximum Size Case”): While it may not be feasible to manually check a matrix of size 1000x1000, it’s important to think about how your solution would scale to matrices of this size. This case would test the efficiency of your solution.
Matrix with Negative and Positive Values (“Mixed Value Case”): This case is to ensure that the solution correctly handles both negative and positive integers.
Input: matrix = [[2, 3], [1, 5]] Output: [[2, 1], [3, 5]]
By considering these edge cases, we can make sure that our solution covers all possible scenarios and handles the transposition of any valid input matrix correctly.
Visualizing the various test cases for this problem involves understanding how the matrix is transposed. Let’s visualize the following cases:
Single Element Matrix (“Minimum Size Case”):
Input: matrix = [[5]]
This is a single element matrix. The transpose would not change the matrix:
Output: [[5]]
The visualization could be like this:
5 –> 5
Matrix with One Row or One Column (“Single Dimension Case”):
Input: matrix = [[1, 2, 3, 4, 5]]
In this case, the input is a 1x5 matrix, and the transpose should be a 5x1 matrix:
Output: [[1], [2], [3], [4], [5]]
The visualization could be like this:
1 2 3 4 5 –> 1 2 3 4 5
Matrix with All Identical Elements (“Uniform Value Case”):
Input: matrix = [[7, 7, 7], [7, 7, 7]]
Regardless of the values being the same, the transpose should flip rows and columns:
Output: [[7, 7], [7, 7], [7, 7]]
The visualization could be like this:
7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 –> 7 7 7 7
Matrix with Negative and Positive Values (“Mixed Value Case”):
Input: matrix = [[2, 3], [1, 5]]
The transpose should flip rows and columns:
Output: [[2, 1], [3, 5]]
The visualization could be like this:
2 3 2 1 1 5 –> 3 5
In each of these cases, visualizing involves understanding that the process of transposing a matrix essentially swaps rows for columns. In other words, the first row becomes the first column, the second row becomes the second column, and so on.
From the analysis and visualization of the different cases, we can gather a few key insights:
Transposing doesn’t change the values, only their positions: The elements inside the matrix remain the same when we transpose the matrix; only their positions are changed. This indicates that our solution should focus on rearranging the indices rather than manipulating the values themselves.
Square matrix vs. Rectangular matrix: The nature of the transpose operation is quite different when comparing a square matrix (equal number of rows and columns) to a rectangular one. In a square matrix, elements remain on the same diagonal after transposition, but in a rectangular matrix, dimensions themselves get swapped.
Matrix with a single row or column: When the matrix has only one row or one column, the transpose essentially converts rows to columns or vice versa. This case serves as a good baseline to understand the transpose operation.
Uniform values don’t simplify the problem: Even if the matrix’s values are uniform, the transpose operation still changes the matrix if it’s not a square one. Therefore, the values themselves are not as relevant to the problem as the matrix’s dimensions and the positions of the values within it.
Negative or positive values do not impact the transpose operation: The transpose operation is not affected by the magnitude or sign of the elements in the matrix. The operation focuses on the position of elements, not their values.
No need to handle outliers: The constraints indicate that all values will be within the range of 10^9 to 10^9, so we don’t need to account for extremely large or small numbers.
Overall, these insights direct us towards a solution that focuses on swapping positions of elements (i.e., changing their indices) rather than modifying the values themselves.
Identification of Applicable Theoretical Concepts
The primary mathematical concept at play in this problem is the concept of matrix transposition. Transposing a matrix is a standard operation in linear algebra. Given a matrix, its transpose is obtained by flipping the matrix over its main diagonal, which switches its row and column indices. This is a welldefined operation, and understanding this concept would simplify the problem substantially.
Beyond the concept of matrix transposition, the problem can also benefit from an understanding of arrays and indexing in computer science. The input data is provided as a 2D matrix, which can be viewed as a nested list or a list of lists in many programming languages. This makes indexing an important concept for this problem. In the context of a 2D array or matrix, the index of each element corresponds to its row and column numbers. Understanding how to manipulate these indices is key to solving the problem.
Also, the spacetime tradeoff, a fundamental concept in computer science, can be considered here. While a naive approach to the problem may involve creating a new matrix to hold the transposed result (requiring additional space), an inplace solution (i.e., performing the transposition on the original matrix without using extra space) might be more spaceefficient but could require more complex manipulation and thus might not be applicable in this case due to dimension changes.
While not a formal ’theory’ or ‘methodology’, the concept of iteration over data structures (like arrays) is fundamental to solving this problem. A solution will involve iterating over the input matrix and manipulating the positions of elements in the resulting matrix.
Simple Explanation
Let’s imagine you have a bunch of family photos lined up in a photo album. Each page of the album holds several photos, arranged in rows and columns.
Now, let’s say you want to rearrange your photos in a different way  instead of having rows of photos that read from left to right, you want the photos to read from top to bottom.
To do this, you would go through each page of the album and take each photo from a row and put it into a column. You start from the topleft photo and take the photo in the same position on every page, placing them all into a single column on a new page. You repeat this process for every photo, working your way from left to right in the old arrangement until all photos are rearranged into the new vertical layout. This is how you transpose your photo album.
The problem we are trying to solve here is very similar. Instead of photos, we have numbers, and instead of a photo album, we have a matrix (which is just a fancy name for a rectangular grid of numbers). And just like with the photos, we want to rearrange the numbers from their rows into columns  this process is what we call the “transpose” of a matrix.
Problem Breakdown and Solution Methodology
Let’s break down the approach for transposing a matrix in simpler terms and steps.
Understanding the problem: First and foremost, it’s crucial to understand what the problem is asking. Transposing a matrix means to flip it over its main diagonal, switching the matrix’s row and column indices. This is similar to changing the orientation of a photo album, as we discussed before.
Create a blueprint of the new matrix: Once we understand the problem, our next step is to create a new matrix (empty photo album). The size of the new matrix will be the flip of the original one  if the original matrix had ’m’ rows and ’n’ columns, our new matrix will have ’n’ rows and ’m’ columns.
Fill in the new matrix: Then, we go through each element of the original matrix one by one. For each element located at position [i, j] (i.e., row ‘i’, column ‘j’), we put it in the new matrix at position [j, i]. This is similar to taking each photo from its original position and placing it in a new position, as per the new orientation.
Let’s illustrate this process with an example:
Original matrix:
1 2 3 4 5 6
Our blueprint for the new matrix, based on the original matrix’s size (2 rows and 3 columns), will be a 3x2 matrix:
_ _ _ _ _ _
Then we take each element of the original matrix and place it in the new matrix:
1st element ‘1’ at position [0, 0] in the original matrix goes to position [0, 0] in the new matrix 2nd element ‘2’ at position [0, 1] goes to position [1, 0] in the new matrix 3rd element ‘3’ at position [0, 2] goes to position [2, 0] in the new matrix 4th element ‘4’ at position [1, 0] goes to position [0, 1] in the new matrix 5th element ‘5’ at position [1, 1] goes to position [1, 1] in the new matrix 6th element ‘6’ at position [1, 2] goes to position [2, 1] in the new matrix
So, our new transposed matrix looks like this:
1 4 2 5 3 6
This is the overall approach to solve this problem. The specific operations or changes in the problem’s parameters would basically change the size of our new matrix and the positions where we place the elements. As long as we adhere to the rule of transposition ([i, j] goes to [j, i]), we can handle any changes in the parameters.
Inference of ProblemSolving Approach from the Problem Statement
Here are the key terms or concepts in this problem and how they inform the approach to solving it:
2D integer array or Matrix: This term tells us that we’re dealing with a twodimensional data structure where the data is arranged in rows and columns. It guides us towards using nested loops  one loop for traversing the rows and another for traversing the columns within each row.
Transpose of a Matrix: This term refers to an operation in linear algebra where we flip a matrix over its main diagonal, thereby interchanging the row and column indices of each element. This guides us towards a solution where we swap positions based on indices. For an element at position [i, j] in the original matrix, we need to put it at position [j, i] in the new matrix.
Constraints: The constraints given in the problem help to define the problem’s boundaries. They ensure that the matrix size isn’t too large (1 <= m, n <= 1000) and that the integers within the matrix have a specific range (10^9 <= matrix[i][j] <= 10^9). These constraints help us understand that our solution must be efficient enough to handle a fairly large size matrix and that we must account for potentially very large or very small integer values.
By understanding these key terms and concepts, we can choose appropriate strategies or methods for solving the problem. For example, we know that we’ll need a nested loop to traverse the matrix, a new matrix of swapped dimensions to hold the result, and an operation to swap the positions of elements based on their indices.
To visualize the problem’s properties, consider using a table or a grid to represent the 2D array or matrix. Here’s how you can use a table to understand the problem and the properties we discussed:
2D Integer Array or Matrix: Draw a table with some number of rows and columns to represent a matrix. Fill the cells with integers. This will give you a clear picture of how data is arranged in a matrix.
Transpose of a Matrix: Now, to visualize the transpose of a matrix, imagine drawing a diagonal line from the topleft cell to the bottomright cell of the table. This is the main diagonal of the matrix. The transpose of the matrix is obtained by flipping the matrix along this diagonal.
You could demonstrate this flipping process by swapping elements of the original matrix about the main diagonal. For instance, if you have an element at the 2nd row and 3rd column of the original matrix, it goes to the 3rd row and 2nd column of the transposed matrix.
Constraints: The constraints on matrix size and integer range are more abstract and may not be directly visualizable through a diagram. However, understanding these constraints helps ensure that our solution can handle the scale of the problem and the range of values it needs to operate on.
So, by drawing a matrix and its transpose on a piece of paper or a whiteboard, you can better understand the problem’s properties and see how data moves when we transpose the matrix. This visualization can help to form a solution strategy.
How did you infer from the problem statement that this problem can be solved using ?
Simple Explanation of the Proof
Let’s consider the example where the original matrix is:
1 2 3
4 5 6
7 8 9
In the transposed matrix, we can observe that the old positions (i, j) become the new positions (j, i). Here’s a table showing the old positions and new positions:
Old Position  Value  New Position 

(0, 0)  1  (0, 0) 
(0, 1)  2  (1, 0) 
(0, 2)  3  (2, 0) 
(1, 0)  4  (0, 1) 
(1, 1)  5  (1, 1) 
(1, 2)  6  (2, 1) 
(2, 0)  7  (0, 2) 
(2, 1)  8  (1, 2) 
(2, 2)  9  (2, 2) 
This table shows that for each cell (i, j) in the original matrix, its value moves to the cell (j, i) in the transposed matrix.
Stepwise Refinement
Stepwise Refinement of the Approach:
Step 1: Understand and interpret the problem. The task is to return the transpose of a given matrix.
Step 2: Initialize a new 2D array (let’s call it “resultMatrix”) of size n x m, where n and m are the number of columns and rows in the original matrix, respectively.
Step 3: Traverse each row of the original matrix, and for each row, go through each element or column.
Step 4: For each element in the original matrix at position (i, j), place it at position (j, i) in the resultMatrix.
Step 5: After all elements are processed, return the resultMatrix as the result, which is the transpose of the original matrix.
Granular, Actionable Steps:
Step 2a: Identify the number of rows (m) and columns (n) in the original matrix.
Step 2b: Create a new 2D array “resultMatrix” with n rows and m columns.
Step 3a: Start a loop to traverse each row of the original matrix.
Step 3b: Within this loop, start another loop to traverse each column of the original matrix.
Step 4a: For each element at position (i, j) in the original matrix, set the element at position (j, i) in resultMatrix to this value.
Parts of the Problem That Can Be Solved Independently:
The initialization of the resultMatrix can be done independently.
The process of traversing the original matrix and populating the resultMatrix can be done separately for each element of the original matrix.
Repeatable Patterns Within Our Solution:
The process of reading a value from the original matrix and writing it to the resultMatrix in a transposed position (from (i, j) to (j, i)) is a repeatable pattern that is applied for all elements in the matrix.
The use of nested loops to traverse the 2D array or matrix is a common pattern in problems dealing with matrices or 2D arrays.
Solution Approach and Analysis
Let’s approach this by imagining that we have a grid of photos. Each photo has a position  a row and a column, like in a gallery. The problem statement wants us to rotate this gallery in such a way that the positions of these photos change  rows become columns, and columns become rows.
Here’s how we can approach it:
Step 1: Understand the problem  The task is to return the transpose of a matrix. This means we need to switch the rows and columns of a given 2D grid (or matrix).
Step 2: Create a new gallery (2D list in Python)  This new gallery should have as many rows as the columns in the original gallery, and as many columns as the rows in the original gallery. Let’s call this “resultGallery”.
Step 3: Start walking through the original gallery row by row. For each row, look at each photo (or element) in the row.
Step 4: As you look at each photo, move it to its new position in the “resultGallery”. The photo that was in the ith row and jth column in the original gallery should be in the jth row and ith column in the “resultGallery”.
Step 5: Once we have walked through all the photos, “resultGallery” will be the final gallery after rotation. This is our answer.
Now, let’s discuss how changes in the problem parameters affect the solution.
If we have more rows (or columns) in the original gallery, the size of “resultGallery” would be different. It would have the same number of rows as the columns in the original gallery and the same number of columns as the rows in the original gallery.
If we have different values in the original matrix, those values would appear in different positions in the “resultGallery”. The value would move from the (i, j) position to the (j, i) position.
Now, let’s look at an example case.
Consider a gallery with 2 rows and 3 columns, looking like this:
1 2 3 4 5 6
We start by creating an empty “resultGallery” with 3 rows and 2 columns. Then we start walking through the original gallery.
For the first photo, with a value of 1, we move it from (1, 1) to (1, 1) in “resultGallery”. Then we move to the second photo, with a value of 2, from (1, 2) to (2, 1) in “resultGallery”. We keep doing this for all photos.
At the end, our “resultGallery” looks like this:
1 4 2 5 3 6
This is our final gallery, which is the transpose of the original gallery.
Identify Invariant
The invariant in this problem, i.e., the property that remains unaltered during the execution of the algorithm, is the number of elements in the matrix. Regardless of how the matrix is transposed, the total count of the elements remains the same.
In other words, if you have an m x n
matrix initially, after transposing, you’ll have an n x m
matrix, but the total count m*n
remains constant. Each element in the original matrix will have a unique corresponding place in the transposed matrix and no elements are added or removed in the process.
Identify Loop Invariant
In the context of this problem, a suitable loop invariant in the process of calculating the transpose of a matrix could be:
“At the start of each iteration of the nested loops (i, j), the elements from the original matrix at positions (0 to i1, 0 to j1) have been successfully transposed to the positions (0 to j1, 0 to i1) in the resulting matrix.”
This loop invariant is important as it helps ensure that our algorithm is working correctly by preserving the relationship between the original and transposed matrix across every iteration. Also, it helps in the process of formally proving the correctness of the algorithm.
For this problem, the invariant and the loop invariant happen to be the same. The reason is that the invariant — a condition that remains true throughout the execution of the program — is closely tied to the iterative process (the loop) of transposing the matrix.
The loop invariant we identified earlier:
“At the start of each iteration of the nested loops (i, j), the elements from the original matrix at positions (0 to i1, 0 to j1) have been successfully transposed to the positions (0 to j1, 0 to i1) in the resulting matrix.”
This statement, which remains true throughout the loop, is the invariant for the process of transposing the matrix. Thus, in this case, the invariant and the loop invariant are the same. However, in other problems, there might be other invariants outside of loops.
Thought Process
The problem at hand is to transpose a given matrix. Transposing a matrix involves changing the rows of the original matrix to columns in the resulting matrix.
Here’s a stepbystep approach:
Step 1: Understanding the problem
First, let’s understand the problem. The problem is asking us to transpose a matrix. Transposing a matrix simply means to flip it over its main diagonal, which switches its row and column indices. If we have a matrix that is m x n
, after the transpose, it will be n x m
. This is the key insight from the problem statement.
Step 2: Analyzing the problem and formulating a plan Now, let’s look at how we can solve the problem. From our understanding of the problem, we know that we have to switch the row and column indices. This gives us a hint that we might have to use nested loops to iterate over the rows and columns of the matrix. Additionally, the resulting matrix’s size will be different from the input matrix, indicating that we will have to create a new matrix to store the result.
Step 3: Coding the solution Now that we have an idea of how to approach the problem, let’s write the code. We’ll use Python for this.


That’s how you’d approach this problem, starting from understanding the problem statement, coming up with a plan, coding the solution, and finally, testing the solution.
Establishing Preconditions and Postconditions
Parameters:
 The method takes one input:
matrix
. matrix
is of type List[List[int]].matrix
represents the 2D integer array that needs to be transposed.
 The method takes one input:
Preconditions:
 The
matrix
must be a 2D list where the number of rows (m) and the number of columns (n) satisfy the conditions 1 <= m, n <= 1000 and 1 <= m * n <= 10^5.  Each element in the
matrix
(matrix[i][j]) must be an integer satisfying the condition 10^9 <= matrix[i][j] <= 10^9.  The program does not need to be in any specific state before this method is called.
 The
Method Functionality:
 This method is expected to return the transpose of the input
matrix
.  It does not modify the input
matrix
and thus does not affect the current state of the program.
 This method is expected to return the transpose of the input
Postconditions:
 After the method has been called and has returned, the state of the program remains unchanged.
 The return value represents the transposed matrix.
 The method does not have any side effects as it does not modify the state of the program or the input parameters.
Error Handling:
 If the preconditions are not met, Python will likely throw an exception due to illegal operations (like trying to index a nonexistent element).
 The method does not have builtin error handling to deal with such situations, it’s assumed that the preconditions are satisfied when the method is called.
Problem Decomposition
Problem Understanding:
 The problem requires us to transpose a given 2D matrix. Transposing a matrix involves converting all rows of the matrix to columns and vice versa. The key component of this problem is the given 2D matrix, and the requirement is to return its transpose.
Initial Breakdown:
 The major part of the problem involves iterating through each cell in the matrix and swapping its row and column indices to achieve the transposition.
Subproblem Refinement:
 The subproblem of iterating through the matrix can be further broken down into two tasks:
 Iterating through each row.
 Iterating through each element in a row (column).
 These tasks need to be performed for each cell in the matrix.
 The subproblem of iterating through the matrix can be further broken down into two tasks:
Task Identification:
 The tasks of iterating through each row and each column of the matrix are repeated for all cells.
Task Abstraction:
 Each task is abstracted enough to be clear and reusable. Iterating through each row and column makes sense within the context of the problem as it allows us to visit each cell in the matrix.
Method Naming:
 The tasks identified don’t need separate method names as they are part of a standard matrix traversal process. However, if we were to name them, we could use “iterate_rows” and “iterate_columns” to represent the two tasks.
Subproblem Interactions:
 The task of iterating through each column is dependent on the task of iterating through each row because we can only access the columns within a row. Therefore, they need to be performed in the order: “iterate_rows” followed by “iterate_columns” for each row.
From Brute Force to Optimal Solution
Let’s start with the brute force approach to solving this problem.
Brute Force Approach:
A brute force solution to this problem is quite straightforward:
 Create an empty list to represent the transposed matrix.
 Iterate through each column in the original matrix.
 For each column, iterate through each row.
 Append the element at the current row and column to a new list.
 After going through each row for a particular column, append the new list to the result list.
 For each column, iterate through each row.
 Return the result list which is the transpose of the original matrix.
This approach works because by iterating the columns in the outer loop and the rows in the inner loop, we effectively swap the row and column indices of each element, which is exactly what we want for a transpose.
Now, let’s consider the inefficiencies of this approach:
 Space Inefficiency: We are creating a new matrix of the same size as the input matrix, so the space complexity is O(m*n), where m is the number of rows and n is the number of columns in the input matrix.
 Time Inefficiency: We are iterating through each cell in the matrix exactly once, so the time complexity is also O(m*n).
However, given the constraints of the problem and the nature of the operation we’re performing (transposition), these “inefficiencies” are actually inherent to the problem, and there’s no way to avoid them. We cannot do better than O(mn) time because we have to visit each cell at least once, and we cannot do better than O(mn) space because we have to create a new matrix to hold the transposed matrix (the original matrix remains unchanged).
So in this case, the brute force solution is already the optimal solution. There is no further room for optimization, as the operation of transposing a matrix has a lowerbound time and space complexity of O(m*n). This is a good example of a problem where the brute force solution is the best we can do, and trying to optimize further would be unnecessary.
Code Explanation and Design Decisions
Let’s walk through the code step by step to understand the role of each part in solving the problem.
1. Initial Parameters:
The input parameter is matrix
, a 2D list representing the original matrix to be transposed. Each element in matrix
is a list of integers representing a row. The significance of matrix
is that it’s the source of data we need to manipulate in order to produce the desired output, which is its transpose.
2. Primary Loop: The primary loop iterates over each column index in the original matrix, and for each column, an inner loop iterates over each row index. This is effectively swapping the rows and columns of the original matrix, which is exactly what we want for a transpose.
3. Conditions or Branches within the Loop: There are no conditions or branches within the loop. The operation performed in the loop is straightforward: for each column index in the original matrix, create a new list (row in the transposed matrix), append each element from that column of the original matrix to this list, then append this list to the transposed matrix.
4. Updates or Modifications to Parameters: During each iteration of the inner loop, an element from the current column of the original matrix is appended to the new list. This is necessary because we are creating a new row for the transposed matrix from a column of the original matrix.
5. Invariants: An invariant in this context is something that remains unchanged throughout the execution of the code. Here, the invariant is the number of rows and columns in the matrix after the transpose operation. The number of rows in the original matrix will be the number of columns in the transposed matrix, and the number of columns in the original matrix will be the number of rows in the transposed matrix.
6. Final Output: The final output is a 2D list representing the transposed matrix. This means that the rows of the original matrix have become the columns of the output matrix, and the columns of the original matrix have become the rows of the output matrix. This satisfies the requirement of the problem, which is to transpose the input matrix.
Coding Constructs
HighLevel ProblemSolving Strategies: The primary problemsolving strategy used in this code is iteration. It uses nested loops to iterate over the elements of a 2D list (matrix) in a specific order (column by column instead of the usual row by row) to transpose the matrix.
Explaining to a NonProgrammer: Imagine you have a grid of numbers, and you’re tasked with rotating this grid so that what were originally rows now become columns and vice versa. This code accomplishes exactly that. It goes through each column in the grid, takes the numbers in the column and makes them into a new row in a new grid.
Logical Elements or Constructs: The logical constructs used in this code include variables, lists (or arrays), and loops. Variables are used to hold the data. Lists store the rows of the original and transposed matrices. Loops are used to traverse the lists.
Algorithmic Approach in Plain English: The code begins by creating an empty list to store the transposed matrix. Then it starts by looking at the first item in each row of the original matrix and puts them into a new row in the new matrix. Then it does the same for the second item, and so on. This way, what was once a column in the old matrix becomes a row in the new one.
Key Steps or Operations: The key steps this code is performing are:
 Initializing an empty list to store the transposed matrix.
 Iterating over the columns in the original matrix.
 For each column, creating a new row for the transposed matrix.
 Appending each element from the current column of the original matrix to the new row.
 Appending the new row to the transposed matrix.
Algorithmic Patterns or Strategies: The main algorithmic pattern in this code is a variation of the “iterate over a 2D list” pattern. The variation is that it iterates column by column instead of the usual row by row. Another pattern is the “create a new list from an existing list” pattern, which is used to create each new row for the transposed matrix from a column of the original matrix.
Language Agnostic Coding Drills
 Dissecting the Code:
Let’s identify the distinct concepts in the code. The fundamental coding concepts being used are:
 Variable Initialization: Declaring and assigning initial values to variables.
 List Manipulation: Creating and adding elements to lists.
 Nested Loop Iteration: Using loops to traverse through elements of a list, particularly a 2D list.
 Indexing: Accessing elements in a list using their indices.
Listing Concepts in Order of Increasing Difficulty:
Variable Initialization: It’s a basic concept that involves assigning a space in memory for a value. This is a foundational coding concept and, therefore, least difficult. It’s where most coding begins.
List Manipulation: This involves creating and adding elements to a list. It’s slightly more complex as it involves dealing with data structures (lists) and understanding how to manipulate them.
Indexing: This concept requires understanding that each element in a list has a position (an index) and that this position can be used to access the element. It involves being able to conceptualize and manipulate a list’s structure.
Nested Loop Iteration: This is the most complex concept as it involves understanding control flow and the notion of iteration. It requires an understanding of loops, how to traverse data structures, and how to use loops within loops to access multidimensional data structures.
ProblemSolving Approach:
Start by understanding the problem and the expected transformation. A transpose operation requires converting rows of the given matrix to columns of the result matrix. This realization helps in identifying the need for a nested loop iteration.
Next, initialize an empty list to hold the transposed matrix. This requires understanding of variable initialization and list manipulation.
Then, recognize that the problem requires iteration over elements of a 2D list in a columnwise manner. This requires knowledge of nested loop iteration and indexing.
Lastly, for each column in the original matrix, create a new row in the transposed matrix. Add each element from the current column of the original matrix to the new row and then add the new row to the transposed matrix. This involves combining all the identified coding drills to form a complete solution.
Targeted Drills in Python
Python Coding Drills for Identified Concepts:
Variable Initialization: In Python, variables don’t need explicit declaration. To initialize a variable, assign a value to it directly.
1
my_variable = 10
List Manipulation: Creating and adding elements to a list in Python is straightforward. The append() function is used to add elements to a list.
1 2
my_list = [] # create an empty list my_list.append(1) # add 1 to the list
Indexing: In Python, we can access elements in a list using their indices. Indices start at 0 for the first element.
1 2
my_list = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] # a list of integers first_element = my_list[0] # access the first element
Nested Loop Iteration: To traverse a 2D list, we often use nested for loops. Here’s an example:
1 2 3 4
my_list = [[1, 2, 3], [4, 5, 6], [7, 8, 9]] # a 2D list for i in range(len(my_list)): for j in range(len(my_list[i])): print(my_list[i][j]) # print each element
ProblemSpecific Concepts:
The problem at hand is quite general and doesn’t require any problemspecific concepts outside of the ones we’ve already discussed. The understanding of matrix transpose operation would be the key here, which can be understood as a mathematical concept rather than a Pythonspecific concept.
Integrating the Drills:
Now, we can integrate these coding drills into one comprehensive solution. To transpose a matrix, we can use the following steps:
 Initialize an empty list to store the transposed matrix.
 Use nested for loops to traverse the input matrix columnwise.
 For each column in the input matrix, create a new list.
 Access each element in the current column of the input matrix, and add it to the new list.
 Finally, append the new list (which represents a row in the transposed matrix) to our result list.
Here is how you could implement it:


This function effectively combines the drills we identified and creates a comprehensive solution for the problem.
Q&A
What ’s the error in this code?


(giving runtime error)
The error in this code is due to the matrix dimensions not being taken into account when performing the transpose operation.
You have a loop that goes from j = i
to n
. When you try to access matrix[j][i]
you’re assuming that the matrix has at least as many columns as rows. This won’t necessarily be the case, particularly if you’re dealing with a nonsquare matrix where the number of rows is greater than the number of columns.
Let’s take a simple example: a matrix with 3 rows and 2 columns:
1 2
3 4
5 6
On the first iteration where i = 2
(third row), your code will try to access matrix[2][0]
and matrix[2][1]
(third row, first and second columns). That’s fine, because those elements exist. However, when it tries to access matrix[0][2]
and matrix[1][2]
, it’s trying to access elements that are not there (first and second rows, third column), and so it’ll crash.
Your transpose function assumes that the matrix is square, i.e., has the same number of rows as columns. To fix the code, you need to create a new matrix with the transposed dimensions and then populate it accordingly:


This code creates a new transposed
matrix, then populates it by switching the row and column indices. This works regardless of whether the original matrix is square or not.
Similar Problems
Here are 10 problems that use similar underlying concepts:
LeetCode 566. Reshape the Matrix: This problem requires you to reshape a given 2D matrix. Like the transposition problem, you’re required to manipulate 2D matrices and index them in a particular order to construct the new matrix.
LeetCode 48. Rotate Image: This problem involves rotating a 2D matrix 90 degrees. The solution requires understanding of matrix indexing and iteration, much like the matrix transposition problem.
LeetCode 73. Set Matrix Zeroes: In this problem, you need to set entire rows and columns to zeros in the given matrix, requiring similar iteration through a 2D matrix as in our original problem.
LeetCode 36. Valid Sudoku: This problem requires understanding and checking the constraints of a Sudoku game, which involves a 2D matrix. It’s similar because it also requires navigating a matrix to check certain conditions.
LeetCode 54. Spiral Matrix: This problem involves iterating over a 2D matrix in a spiral order. It’s similar to the original problem as it requires careful indexing and iteration.
LeetCode 59. Spiral Matrix II: This problem is about creating a spiral matrix given an integer ’n’. The solution requires a nested loop to fill up the matrix in a particular order, which is a concept used in our original problem.
LeetCode 74. Search a 2D Matrix: This problem involves searching a 2D matrix. While it adds a binary search twist, it’s related in the sense that it requires understanding of 2D matrix structure and how to traverse it.
LeetCode 240. Search a 2D Matrix II: Similar to problem 74, this problem involves searching a 2D matrix with slightly different properties. It still requires understanding of matrix indexing and traversal.
LeetCode 498. Diagonal Traverse: This problem requires traversing a 2D matrix diagonally, which involves careful matrix indexing and nested loop traversal, much like our original problem.
LeetCode 378. Kth Smallest Element in a Sorted Matrix: This problem requires finding the kth smallest element in a sorted 2D matrix. While it also involves heap or binary search, the concept of matrix traversal and understanding is relevant here.