Solutions to optimization problems involving the numerical radius often belong to a special class: the set of matrices having field of values a disk centered at the origin. After illustrating this phenomenon with some examples, we illuminate it by studying matrices around which this set of "disk matrices" is a manifold with respect to which the numerical radius is partly smooth. We then apply our results to matrices whose nonzeros consist of a single superdiagonal, such as Jordan blocks and the Crabb matrix related to a well-known conjecture of Crouzeix. Finally, we consider arbitrary complex three-by-three matrices; even in this case, the details are surprisingly intricate. One of our results is that in this real vector space with dimension 18, the set of disk matrices is a semi-algebraic manifold with dimension 12.
View Partial smoothness of the numerical radius at matrices whose fields of values are disks