The kernel polynomial method (KPM) is a powerful numerical method for approximating spectral densities. Typical implementations of the KPM require an a prior estimate for an interval containing the support of the target spectral density, and while such estimates can be obtained by classical techniques, this incurs addition computational costs. We propose a spectrum adaptive KPM based on the Lanczos algorithm without reorthogonalization, which allows the selection of KPM parameters to be deferred to after the expensive computation is finished. Theoretical results from numerical analysis are given to justify the suitability of the Lanczos algorithm for our approach, even in finite precision arithmetic. While conceptually simple, the paradigm of decoupling computation from approximation has a number of practical and pedagogical benefits, which we highlight with numerical examples.

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