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Linear Algebra, Spring, 1997

Instructor: James A. Davis Office hours: MW 10:30-11:30

206 Jepson Hall TTh 8-9

289-8094 or by appointment jad

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Linear Algebra is the bridge course to much of higher mathematics. Many of the courses in the mathematics major rely heavily on the material in this course, and all of the upper level courses make at least some reference back to linear algebra. There is a theory part of this course and there is an application part, and we will try to go back and forth between many different perspectives. Always, we will take the ``hands-on approach'', which means that we will try to give examples of everything that we work on. By the end of the course, you should have a working knowledge of vectors, matrices, vector spaces, bases, linear independence, row spaces, column spaces, how to solve systems of linear equations, and the fundamental linear algebra theorem.

We will use the text entitled Introduction to linear algebra by Gilbert Strang. We will cover at least the first 7 chapters (maybe in a different order) as well as several applications depending on class interest. This course is useful to people studying math (obviously), physics, chemistry, economics, engineering, and others. One suggestion is to actually read the book. This may be obvious, but I think that a lot of people get through calculus and differential equations without really reading the book to try to find out what is going on. This course will introduce material that you are not familiar with, and the book does a decent job of explaining the hard parts.

GRADING Homework assignments will account for of the final grade. This will take 2 basic forms. First, there will be written homework assignments that you will have to turn in at least once a week. These will be graded on correctness, completeness, and correct usage of the English language. That will account for about 2/3 of the points. The other points will be for computer assignments. Many of the algorithms that we will learn in class are easily adapted to the computer world, and this is a good place to do large examples that would be impossible by hand. There will be 4 or 5 of these assignments, and that will be the other 1/3 of the points.

The second part of the grading involves in-class tests. There will be 3 tests worth 11% apiece; thus, the total of the tests is 1/3 of the final grade. These tests will be take home, and are similar to the homework: some will be purely computational while others will involve a paragraph explanation to demonstrate understanding of important theoretical results. There will also be a final, which is worth 28% of the final grade. The final will be cumulative, and it will be similar to the tests.

The other 5% of the grade will be class participation. This subject will be new to everyone, and it is critical that you be actively involved with the class room discussions. I run an informal classroom where questions are always welcome, and I want to make sure that everyone in the class is with me at all times. This is not a grade on getting the answers correct in class, but simply on your willingness to interact.

ACADEMIC HONESTY: Tests will be closed book, closed notes: you cannot receive help on the tests from anyone except me. Homeworks are a little fuzzier. I want to strongly encourage you to study together and to work on the homework problems that are not going to be graded. However, for the homework that is going to be graded, I want you to work alone. Do your best to keep those separated.

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james a davis
Tue Apr 29 10:36:17 EDT 1997