An examination of the behavior of the sequence of vectors produced by the power method suggests that the successive vectors may contain considerable information along eigenvector directions corresponding to eigenvalues other than the one with largest magnitude. The expansion coefficients of the vectors in the sequence evolve in a very structured way. Therefore, linear combinations of the these vectors can be constructed to enhance convergence to additional eigenvectors. A single vector power iteration simply ignores this additional information, but more sophisticated techniques may be employed to extract it.
If one hopes to obtain additional information through various linear combinations of the power sequence, it is natural to formally consider the Krylov subspaceand to attempt to formulate the best possible approximations to eigenvectors from this subspace.
It is reasonable to construct approximate eigenpairs from this subspace by imposing a Galerkin condition : A vector is called a Ritz vector with corresponding Ritz value if the Galerkin conditionis satisfied. There are some immediate consequences of this definition: Let be a matrix whose columns form an orthonormal basis for Let denote the related orthogonal projector onto and define where It can be shown that
For the quantities defined above:
These facts are actually valid for any k dimensional subspace in place of Additional useful properties may be derived as consequences of the fact that every is of the form for some polynomial of degree less than k. A thorough discussion is given by Saad in  and in his earlier papers. These facts have important algorithmic consequences. In particular, it may be shown that is an invariant subspace for if and only if the starting vector is a linear combination of vectors spanning an invariant subspace of An important example of this is to put where is a partial Schur decomposition of
There is some algorithmic motivation to seek a convenient orthonormal basis that will provide a means to successively construct these basis vectors. It is possible to construct a unitary using standard Householder transformations such that and is upper Hessenberg with non-negative subdiagonal elements. It is also possible to show that in this basis,with implied by the projection property and .
If it is possible to obtain a as a linear combination of k eigenvectors of , the first observation implies that and is an orthonormal basis for an invariant subspace of . Hence, the Ritz values are eigenvalues and corresponding Ritz vectors are eigenvectors for . The second observation leads to the Lanczos/Arnoldi process [2,20].