Math 225 Linear Algebra and Matrix Theory

Semester: Spring 2015

Keep Calm and Learn Linear Algebra
Lecture 01 (22900)
Inst : Dr. Asher Auel
asher * auel AT yale * edu
Time : Tue Thu 09:00 - 10:15 am
Loct : LOM 215
Office : LOM 210
Phone : (203) 432-4187
hours :

Wed 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Text : Linear Algebra, 4th Edition
Stephen H. Friedberg, Arnold J. Insel, Lawrence E. Spence
Pearson, 2003. ISBN-10: 0-13-008451-4. ISBN-13: 978-0130084514.
Course syllabus and homework schedule.
Discussion Section
Teaching Fellow : Florencia Orosz Hunziker
Recitation Time : Mon Tue 4:30 - 6:00 pm
Recitation Loct : LOM 200
Office hours : Math Department Lounge, Wed 07:00 - 08:00 pm

Description of course: Linear Algebra can be regarded as the art of solving linear equations. You have seen such equations since middle school: if 2x=4 then find x. In high school, you probably solved some systems of 2 or 3 simultaneous linear equations in 2 or 3 variables. Such systems can be organized into a matrix equation Ax=b, where A is a matrix, x is a variable vector, and b is a constant vector. Linear algebra is a deep investigation into systems of simultaneous linear equations. In the course, we will examine such questions as: How do we know when a system of m linear equations in n variables has a solution? How many solutions can there be? How do we find them efficiently? If there is no solution, then how close can we get to one? While such questions might seem somewhat abstract, they are actually fundamental to the natural sciences, computer science, economics, and statistics. Furthermore, almost all higher mathematics today (geometry, topology, number theory, analysis, differential equations, etc.) depends on linear algebra in some fundamental way.

The main topics covered will be vector spaces, linear transformations, matrices, systems of linear equations, determinants, eigenvalues, eigenvectors, diagonalization, and applications. Time permitting, we will investigate the theory of Markov chains and the linear algebra behind Google's PageRank algorithm. Math 225 (as opposed to Math 222) is more focused on the abstract aspects of linear algebra and will demand a fair amount of maturity of mathematical thinking, not just rote problem solving. The course will try to strike a balance between computations, concepts, proofs, and applications. Some short proofs may appear on homework assignments and exams.

Expected background: Officially, the prerequisite is Math 120 (taken earlier or concurrently). In reality, we will hardly use any calculus or infinite series. However, it is important that you are comfortable with vectors and basic geometry of 3-dimensional space as taught in Math 120 (e.g., vector addition, scalar multiplication, dot product, magnitude, normal vectors, lines and planes in three dimensional space).

Homework 20%
Quizzes   20%
Midterm exam (05 Mar)   25%
Final exam (05 May) 35%
Grades: Your final grade will be based on weekly homework, several pop quizzes, a midterm exam, and a final exam. Notice that more emphasis is placed on exams than on weekly homework assignments in computing your final grade. On the other hand, completing your weekly homework will be crucial to your success on the exams.
Group work, honestly: Working with other people on mathematics is highly encouraged and fun. You may work with anyone (e.g., other students in your section, in the course, not in the course, tutors, bums on the street, ...) on your homework problems. If done right, you'll learn the material better and more efficiently working in groups. The golden rule is:
Work with anyone on solving your homework problems,
but write up your final draft by yourself.
Writing up the final draft is as important a process as figuring out the problems on scratch paper with your friends, see the guidelines below. Mathematical writing is very idiosyncratic - we will be able to tell if papers have been copied - just don't do it! You will not learn by copying solutions from others or from the internet! Also, if you work with people on a particular assignment, you must list your collaborators on the top of the first page. This makes the process fun, transparent, and honest.


(or otherwise the small print)

Homework: Weekly homework will be due in-class on Thursday. Each assignment will be posted on the syllabus page the week before it's due.

Late or improperly submitted homework will not be accepted. If you know in advance that you will be unable to submit your homework at the correct time and place, you must make special arrangements ahead of time. Under extraordinary circumstances, late homework may be accepted with a dean's excuse.

Your homework must be stapled, with your name clearly written on the top. Consider the pieces of paper you turn in as a final copy: written neatly and straight across the page, on clean paper, with nice margins and lots of space, and well organized.

No homework will be due during the week of the midterm exam.

Your lowest homework score from the semester will be dropped.

Exams/quizzes: There will be approximately three in-class 20 minute unannounced quizzes. The midterm exam will take place in-class on Thursday 05 March. The final exam will take place 09:00 am - 12:30 pm on Tuesday 05 May, 2015 in a location to be decided by the registrar.

Each of your top two quiz scores will be weighted twice as much as your lowest score.

There are no make-up quizzes (obviously). If you have a dean's excuse for your absence during the day of a quiz, you will have the option to do an oral exam in my office.

Make-up exams will only be allowed with a dean's excuse.

The use of electronic devices of any kind during exams is strictly forbidden.

Homework guidelines: Generally, a homework problem in any math course will consist of two parts: the creative part and the write-up.

  • The creative part: This is when you "solve" the problem. You stare at it, poke at it, and work on it until you understand what's being asked, and then try different ideas until you find something that works. This part is fun to do with your friends; you can do it on the back of a napkin. If you're having trouble, even in understanding what the problem's asking, use the resources available to you: my office hours, teaching assistants' office hours, weekly tutoring sessions, etc. Ask for help as early as you can! This part should all be done on "scratch paper."

  • The write-up: Now that everything about the problem is clear in your mind, you go off by yourself and write up a coherent, succinct, and nicely written solution on clean sheets of paper. Consider this your final draft, just as in any other course. This part you should definitely NOT do with your friends.