Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Column picture for representing a system of equations

  1. Jun 25, 2012 #1
    I've been dabbling with linear algebra lately and on the MIT OCW course for linear algebra, the professor talks about a column representation of a system of linear equations. For example, you teaches you to represent a

    2x + 3y = 4
    5x + 7y = 9

    as a

    x [[itex]\stackrel{2}{5}[/itex]] + y [[itex]\stackrel{3}{7}[/itex]] = [[itex]\stackrel{4}{9}[/itex]]

    The professor says one can perform this alternate way to solve a SoE, but what's the logic that allowed people to discover this new method?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 25, 2012 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Pretty much basic linear algebra. The two operations we have in a vector space are "addition of vectors" and "scalar multiplication". The "[itex]x\begin{bmatrix}2 \\ 5\end{bmatrix}= \begin{bmatrix}2x \\ 5x\end{bmatrix}[/itex]" and "[itex]y\begin{bmatrix}3 \\ 7\end{bmatrix}= \begin{bmatrix}3y \\ 7y\end{bmatrix}[/itex]" are "scalar multiplications" while [itex]\begin{bmatrix}2x \\ 5x\end{bmatrix}+ \begin{bmatrix}3y \\ 7y\end{bmatrix}= \begin{bmatrix}2x+ 3y\\ 5x+ 7y\end{bmatrix}[/itex] is "addition of vectors". Finally, the definition of "equality" for vectors tells us that [itex]\begin{bmatrix}2x+ 3y \\ 5x+ 7y\end{bmatrix}= \begin{bmatrix}4 \\ 9\end{bmatrix}[/itex] is the same as "2x+ 3y= 4" and "5x+ 7y= 9".
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook