Math 309
Matrix Algebra

Professor Wickerhauser


  • No news is good news.




Topics. Theory of matrices and vector spaces from a concrete, computational point of view. Topics include row reduction (pivotal method), rank and dimension, determinants, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, diagonalization of symmetric matrices. Some related computational computer software may be used.

Prerequisites. Math 132

Time. Classes meet Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday, 9:00--9:50AM, in Simon Hall, room 1.

Text. The lectures will follow Lay, Linear Algebra and its Applications, fifth edition, Pearson, 2016.

Homework. Assignments will be posted online on WeBWorK. Expect two or three short assigments per week. Access this site via Canvas using your WUSTLConnect ID, under the "Assignments" heading for this course.

Quizzes. Short hand-graded tests will be assigned for every two weeks of material. These will be available and should be completed on CrowdMark. We expect that each quiz will take less than 2 hours to complete and you will have at least 24 hours before it is due.

Quiz assignments:

Tests. These will be take-home, administered on CrowdMark. There will be one midterm examination due by 11:01pm on October 31st, 2020 but will be published at least 3 days earlier. There will be a cumulative final examination that will emphasize later course material. It will be due by 11:01 pm on Monday, January 4th, 2021 but will be published 7 days beforehand.

Grading. One grade will be assigned for homework (3 lowest scores dropped), one for the quizzes (best 6 of 7 scores), one for the midterm examination, and one for the final examination. These three will contribute as follows to the course grade: HW 50%, Quizzes 30%, Midterm 10%, Final 10%.
Letter grades, computed from the course score, will be at least the following:

Course score at least:90%80%70%50%
Letter grade at least:ABCD

Students taking the Cr/NCr or P/F options will need a grade of D or better to pass.
Students auditing the course will need to show evidence of attending least 36 of the 42 lectures in order to receive a succesful audit grade.

Computing. Students are encouraged to use computers for both symbolic and numerical computations.

Octave and MATLAB are two very similar computer applications for matrix algebra calculations. They use the same language and perform the same functions.

Octave is free, open source software. Installers for various computers are at these URLs:

Any recent version will do.

Any recent version of MATLAB may also be used. Wash U students have access to MATLAB at this portal.

Office Hours. On Zoom only, MWF 10:30am-Noon Central Time, or by appointment.
Zoom invitations were sent Wed., Sep 10th by email to all registered students. Email me if you didn't get one or if you are free none of these times.

Questions? Return to M. Victor Wickerhauser's home page for contact information.