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

Linear Algebra Reference and Text

  1. Mar 10, 2010 #1
    Hello All

    I have recently recovered from a 4 year hospitalization which pretty much ended my career as a computer scientist. Much of the time I was barley lucid and thus time and medication have taken their toll on my memory. Although I retain much of the theory, I have found my knowledge of the underlying mathematical mechanics is less then stellar.

    I have finally reached a point where I should be able to return to work in 6 months. With this in mind I am seeking to reaquaint myself with my past work (high end computer graphics engines).

    I was hoping that someone might be able to suggest a good linear algebra text book, that is thorough without being overly verbose in explanation. I was also hoping that a good reference work could also be suggested.

    I appreciate any help that may be provided.

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 10, 2010 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I really like "Linear algebra done right" by Sheldon Axler. I recently used it myself to refresh my memory. I'd be surprised if you find a better one, but if you'd like to see other recommendations, I suggest you search the science book forum. (This thread will probably be moved there when a moderator sees it).

    I hope things work out for you. That sounds like a nasty illness.
  4. Mar 10, 2010 #3
    Linear Algebra by Gilbert Strang is a good choice
  5. Mar 10, 2010 #4
    Although a good book, I doubt that Strang will be of much use in Computer Graphics.

    A better introduction is

    Elementary Linear Algebra by Anton and Rorres.

    This comes in two versions, plain vanilla and 'applications version'.

    Some other books that may be of use include

    Geometry of Spatial Forms by Gasson

    The Mathematical Description of Shape and Form by Lord and Wilson

    Computational Geometry for Design and Manufacture by Faux and Pratt

    Hope the recovery goes well.
  6. Mar 10, 2010 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    So sorry to hear of your ills, and, BTW, welcome to Physics Forums! I like Meyer, Matrix Analysis and Applied Linear Algebra. It's hands-on and applied, just like the title says.
  7. Mar 15, 2010 #6
    I second both Meyer "Matrix Analysis and Applied Linear Algebra" [my current book] & Axler "Linear Algebra Done Right" [the next book I'll be using].

    I've encountered very few issues with Meyer's work so far, it's superb & if you already know some LA I bet you'd fly through it even though it is like 800 pages. What's more is that there is a solutions manual.
  8. Mar 22, 2010 #7
    Thankyou All for your replies and warm welcome.

    I will look into all of your suggestions. I have just finished re-aquaniting myself with Eberly (3D Engines) and Moller/Haines(Real Time Renedring) and the DirectX/OpenGL standards and now need to move on to obtaining a more solid mathematical understanding of the concepts involved (ie the why, not just the how etc), hence the text book question. I will be branching into radiosity methods in the near future (once I am comfortable again with Linear Algebra) and will then ask you good people for your calculus reference suggestions.

    Moderator - Thankyou for not killing the thread, I realise there are several questions about linear algebra texts on this forum but none seemed tailored to graphics (3D engines specifically). Although I do not mind expanding my mathematical knowledge beyond the requirements of my past (and hopefully) future work with a more general text, I wanted to be certain that the specific topics I required would be covered.

    Once again many thanks for all your help, I will post back when I have made my choice for any that are interested.

    PS For any that are interested my past work was in parallel processing and distributed apps, signal processing (radars) and some battlefield simulation (3D Game Engines for Defence). Graphics and Visual Realism has always been where my interest lay (My honours thesis was on Fast Ray Tracing/Radiosity Methods), and much of my hobbyist work was in 3D game engine design. I figured why not start with something I enjoy. If I can build an optimised, working 3D engine then I should be rehabilitated enough to return to work (most likely in a far less interesting (from my perspective anyway) discipline). Plus it is something I have always wanted to do.

    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook