Math 309 - Matrix Algebra

Spring 2005 - Section 2 (Arts and Sciences)

room meeting times
Cupples I, 215 Tue Th 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

instructor phone # office e-mail office hours
Renato Feres 5-6752 Cupples I 17 MWTh 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Note: You can see me outside the set office hours, but contact me in advance to be sure I'm in.

Click here for the Lesson schedule.

Text: Elementary Linear Algebra, 8th Edition, by B. Kolman and D. R. Hill.

Calculators and computers: Most modern calculators, in particular the TI-83 used in our calculus courses, are capable of matrix operations, and are very useful in math 309 for checking homework answers and other problems. However, since these calculators automate many of the skills that are taught in this course, it was decided that use of calculators on exams will not be allowed.

Access to a computer and a mathematical utility program like MATLAB, Maple or Mathematica can be very helpful indeed. If you are in science or engineering you'll want to learn to use such a program in any case, but it is not strictly required in this course. It will, however, greatly reduce the tedium involved in doing matrix algebra problems. The textbook contains an excellent chapter describing matrix operations in MATLAB, and the MATLAB program is widely available in computer labs around the campus.

Exams: There will be two in-class exams and a final. Each of the three exams will count 30% of the grade. The final will be cummulative, with an emphasis on material covered since exam 2. Exams are closed book and calculators are not allowed. All exams will be hand-graded and partial credit for a problem will be awarded when appropriate. The exam schedule is as follows:

exam I exam II final
2/17 3/31 5/10 (deadline)

The final will be a take home exam. Precise instructions for taking it will be given later. Notice that the date given above is the deadline for turning it in.

Homework and take-home problems: There will be (roughly) weekly homework assignments. The homework problems will be posted on the lesson schedule at least a week in advance of its due date. They will also be announced in class. Homeworks will not be accepted past the due date.

Homework problems will be relatively few in number. It is expected that you will write them clearly and cleanly. Even if your answer to a particular problem is correct, you may still lose points for writing it in a sloppy or confusing way. Homework assignments will make 10% of the grade.

Often, especially early in the course, problems may amount to performing a matrix operation that can in principle be done with a calculator without much understanding of the subject. Make sure to show enough work in those cases so that we know you did those problems by hand. Of course, you can still use your calculator to check the answer. This requirement (of solving problems by hand) may be relaxed as the course progresses and problems become more complex.

In addition to the homework problems, the lesson schedule has a long list of suggested problems. These will not be collected. You should work on as many of them as possible to gain practice with the material of each lecture. The date row in which the problems are listed tells you, approximately, when the corresponding topic is being discussed. I will be drawing from this list to make exam problems. (Longer problems may have to be modified to make them doable in the amount of time available during exams.)

Grades: Your grade will be calculated on the basis of the two exams, final, and homeworks. Each exam and the final will make 30% of the grade and the homeworks 10%. The exact grade scale will not be decided till the end of the course. However, the final letter grade is guaranteed to be no harsher than the following:

Score Grade is at least (possibly with a + or - attached)
90-100% A
80-89.99% B
65-79.99% C
50-64.99% D
Below 50% NCR (F)

(Potentially) useful links: You might find some of these links useful (or not). They contain lecture notes and texts for linear algebra that can be freely downloaded, a few historical notes and other resources. I'll add to this list as I find other interesting Web pages. In any event, I will not rely on any of this material for the course. If you find other useful pages, let me know so that I can add to this list.