# Homework Help: Show that if ad-bc ≠ 0

1. Dec 4, 2012

### icesalmon

1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
Show that if ad-bc ≠ 0 then
RREF[a b] = [1 0]
[c d] [0 1]

3. The attempt at a solution
I cannot use any equivalent statements here, and I don't "know" what a determinant is yet so I have to show this in another way.

I start off by saying if ad - bc ≠ 0 then I can say ad - bc = "e" whether it's positive or negative, i'm not sure, is important. So what I tried was using some substitution and got
a = ( e + bc ) / d
b = ( ad -e ) / c
c = ( ad - e ) / b
d = ( e + bc ) / a
and creating a little 2 x 2 matrix with the RHS, it got too messy and I wasn't even sure what I was doing would work so I stopped with that.

then I went back to ad - bc = ±e and tried working on some ideas with inequalities for instance if ad - bc = +e then I know ad > bc and if ad - bc = -e then I know ad < bc and this is where I get stuck. I'm not sure if any of this is on the right track, but as always, i've come to PF to untangle my mangle. Thanks for the help.

The little scribble at the end of the problem statement is supposed to be a 2x2 matrix row reducing to the identity.

Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2013
2. Dec 4, 2012

### Staff: Mentor

Re: Stuck

The two matrices are
$$\begin{bmatrix} a & b\\ c & d\end{bmatrix}$$
and
$$\begin{bmatrix} 1 & 0\\ 0 & 1\end{bmatrix}$$
You don't need to worry about ad - bc being positive or negative; just whether it ad - bc = 0 or ad - bc ≠ 0. What I would do is actually row-reduce your first matrix. You should see in a short time what effect the value of ad - bc has on what you get.

3. Dec 4, 2012

### icesalmon

Re: Stuck

okay so i'm row reducing \begin{bmatrix} a & b\\ c & d\end{bmatrix}
and i'm concerned about ad - bc and it's relationship with 0. Well if ad - bc = 0 then we don't get the 2x2 identity, so how do I show it's exactly equal to one and not some other number?
Am I just setting:
equal to
\begin{bmatrix} 1 & 0\\ 0 & 1\end{bmatrix} and calling it finished?

4. Dec 4, 2012

### Staff: Mentor

Re: Stuck

You don't have to show that ad - bc = 1. All you need to know is that ad - bc ≠ 0. As long as that's true, you can multiply each row by 1/(ad - bc), which gives you 1 for the upper left and lower right entries in the matrix.

5. Dec 4, 2012

### Staff: Mentor

Re: Stuck

There are three row operations that you can use to row-reduce a matrix:
1. Adding a multiple of one row to another.
2. Interchaning two rows.
3. Replacing a row by a nonzero multiple of itself.

The matrix that you end up with after doing these operations is equivalent to, but not equal to, the one you started with.

6. Dec 4, 2012

### icesalmon

Re: Stuck

so based on the condition, that we assume from the start, which is ad - bc isn't equal to 0 we can divide out the ( ad - bc ) terms to make it equal to the identity without having to worry about any impossibilities: 1/0
working off of #3 there.

It would help if I were to pay more attention to the problem statement from now on.
Thanks, Mark

7. Dec 4, 2012

Re: Stuck

Pretty much.