Math 20F (Linear Algebra)   Winter 2005
Important links:   What is Linear Algebra?     Common Questions

 Schedule     Lecture Homework       Lab Homework

 Academic Integrity   

                   Help with math:   reading math    definitions   "if ... then" and negation   proofs

Professor: Ed Bender  email  lecture: MWF 10  in  Center 119
    Office Hours:  Mon. 1-3 PM  &  Wed. 12 to 2 PM in AP&M 6111
All Tuesday sections are in WLH 2114 from 2PM (B01) to 6PM (B05).
Your Thursday lab section is CLICS* at the same time as your Tuesday section.
Center for Library and Instructional Computing Services,
which is in the northwest mezzanine of Galbraith Hall.

 TA (click to email)



 Office Hours
 Nam Lee   B01 (2pm) & B02 (3PM)  AP&M 2325  Mon. 11-11:50 & Fri. 1-2:50
 Tony Shaheen  B03 (4PM) & B05 (6PM)  AP&M 6337D  Mon. & Wed. 3-4:30
 held: go to Math Add/Drop  B04 (5PM) & B06 (7PM)    

TEXT:  David C. Lay, Linear Algebra and Its Applications (3rd. ed)
You are expected to read material BEFORE it is lectured on.
GRADING AND EXAMS:  Academic Integrity Guidelines for homework and exams
Exams are closed book and calculators are not allowed.
There are no makeup exams.
 % grade   Material                        When     Where
  10%  text HW   due in section (NO LATE HW)  Section Class
   5%  lab HW   due in dropbox (NO LATE HW)  Dropbox
  20%  1st exam   Wed. 1/26  Center 119
  25%  2nd exam   Wed. 3/2  Center 119
  40%  final exam   Tues. 3/15 at 8 AM  Center 119

Some of my old exams are available; however, the course has changed.


Help with Mathematical Problems:

Help if Personal Problems Affect Work:  Talk to the professor or, if appropriate, your college provost.


Linear algebra is a collection of ideas and methods related to linear equations.  It is an important tool in mathematics and statistics and in many areas of science and engineering.  In some areas, linear algebra is more important than calculus and, in others, it is intertwined with calculus.
     It seems to be a fact of life that widespread application requires abstraction in mathematics (even "number" is an abstraction---"things" exist but numbers don't) and science (compare modern physics with physics in the time of Kepler and Galileo).  Linear algebra is no exception: Its concepts and methods are rather abstract.  This requires you learn the language involved.  Making flash cards is often helpful.  You will probably find that over half the battle with most 20F problems is understanding what is being asked.  (See definitions.  Because of the new concepts, this course moves at a faster pace the calculus courses.
     To really understand tools, we must use them to work problems.  All but the smallest linear algebra problems require considerable calculation.  Thus, computers are an essential adjunct to linear algebra.  In fact, the widespread use of linear algebra is due in considerable part to existence of computers.

A Few of the Many Applications of Linear Algebra
 Subject Area  Application
 economics  input-output analysis (used in planning)
 biology  growth of populations
 software  computer graphics
 engineering  Fourier series
 applied math.  numerical solution of partial differential equations
 statistics  factor analysis (looking for important influences)


I can't seem to grasp the new concepts.  What can I do?
A: I assume you're attending lectures, reading the text, trying to do the homework and taking advantage of office hours.  Perhaps some advice on reading mathematics and, in particular, definitions would help.  Flash cards may help.
Q: I know the concepts but can't do the homework.  What can I do?
A: Students are often led to confuse memorization with understanding.  You have probably been taken in by this con.  Some advice can be found in the webpage about mathematics.

HOMEWORK: Due in section.  Lecture and computer lab homework should be handed in separately.
Can I discuss homework with other people?
A: If you do not understand a concept in a problem you should definitely get help in understanding it.  As far as help on working a specific problem, see the guidelines on academic integrity.
Q: What if I have to miss my section someday?
A: Either have a friend hand in your homework or make arrangements with your TA to hand it in at another time.
Q: What if I miss a homework assignment?
A: The lowest homework will be dropped.
Q: I think a homework problem was graded unfairly, what should I do?
A: You can take it to your TA, but remember that each assignment is only a small part of your grade so a small change on one assignment won't matter.

GRADING: Percentages are given in the table above.
Q: I did poorly on the ____ "hour" exam, but I did well on everything else. Does this mess up my grade?
A: Probably not.  When I assign course grades, I try to take into account the fact that someone may have had a bad day on ONE of the two "hour" exams.
Q: I know how to do this type of problem, I just {misread it}/{made an algebra error}/{forgot a concept}/{et cetera} shouldn't I get more credit?
A: Probably not.