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Linear Algebra

  1. Oct 10, 2006 #1
    I am currently taking linear algebra. I am currious as to why we are learning such abstract concepts as vector spaces. Most the people that take the class are engineers. Is there any reason for EE's to know this stuff?
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  3. Oct 10, 2006 #2


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    Without understanding fundamental concepts, which have to be apstract, you can't move on.
  4. Oct 11, 2006 #3
    Could you please explain why I need to know abstract concepts such as vector spaces?
  5. Oct 11, 2006 #4


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    I think the explanation will arise form itself, after completing the course.
  6. Oct 11, 2006 #5
    yes. It is (IMHO) crucial that even(perhaps, especially!) as an engineer you learn about vector spaces and such. I would go so far as to say that it's important for EE's to understand such abstract concepts as the hilbert spaces (generalization of vector space not limited to finite dimensions) and so on.

    Once you hit fourier transforms it might make a LOT more sense.
  7. Oct 11, 2006 #6
    I am want to take Complex Variables, and if I do it counts as an elective. Plus if I take it I will minor in math. Let me tell you the way my school describes the class, and let me know if the class consists of rather abstract concepts like in my L.A. class, or if it is more like formulas, and solving problems, like the calculus sequence (1,2, and 3) is.
  8. Oct 11, 2006 #7
    Here is the description of Linear Algebra:
    Algebra and geometry of finite dimensional linear spaces, linear transformations, algebra of matrices, eigenvalues and eigenvectors.

    Complex Variables:
    Analytic functions, power series, resisdues and poles, conformal mapping, and applications.
  9. Oct 11, 2006 #8
    And I know calculus is conceptual, and abstract too, but you have to admit that at least those freshman level calc classes focus much less of proofs and focus more on solving problems.
  10. Oct 11, 2006 #9
    Vector spaces are used a lot in Communication Theory.
  11. Oct 11, 2006 #10
    What about linear transformations, where will I use this concept?
  12. Oct 11, 2006 #11
    Even if you won't ever use some of the concepts from linear algebra in EE designs, Linear algebra will expand your mind.

    Besides boolean algebra is loosly based of linear algebra, which is the cornerstone of digital electronics.

    I remember, when i was taking engineering mechanics class, our prof who was an engineer for 20 years, always brought a book to class. Guess what it was? Intro to linear algerba. He said, he's been trying to understand some of the abstract concepts, just for the hell of it. He was old so it was kind of hard for him to grasp it.

    So, there is more to engineering then just blue prints. I wish topology was a requirement for engineering, lol.
  13. Oct 11, 2006 #12


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    The state space approach to linear systems uses all of the concepts you will learn in your linear algebra course.
    Complex variables are used in the frequency approach to linear systems (Laplace and Fourier Transforms).
  14. Oct 11, 2006 #13


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    Linear algebra equips the engineer with mathematical tools that allow one to deal with sets of equations simulatenously. Surely after completing (you did complete it right) your first homework on KCL and KVL you can see why this is useful.

    The problem is the math teacher uses a slightly different vocabulary than what the typical engineer is used to so often beginning engineers often don't make the connection between what they are learning in math class vs engineering class. However, each engineering discipline has its own buzzwords to describe concepts (such as phasor) so what is a math teacher to do?

    I really liked math in college so I made a big effort to learn things like LA. I can tell you it paid off big time in first and second year classes. When other students were plugging and chugging using Gauss' method I was on to the next problem. I was as if I got 20% extra time to do the test.
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