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Show that Matrix Multiplication is Associative

  • #1
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Homework Statement


Show that (AB)C=A(BC)

I am just trying to do this to try to gain some experience with problems like this. I saw in my text that they did a similar example for distributivity using the definition of matrix multiplication, so I thought I could use that approach.




The Attempt at a Solution



Let the (i,j)-entry of A be given by aij
Let the (i,j)-entry of B be given by bij
Let the (i,j)-entry of C be given by cij

Then the (i,j)-entry of (AB) is given by

[tex]\sum_{k=1}^na_{ik}b_{kj}[/tex]

Here is where I get lost. I was thinking of then writing that the (i,j)-entry of (AB)C would be given by

[tex]\sum_{k=1}^n(a_{ik}b_{kj})c_{kj}[/tex]


but I don't think that this works.....and I am not sure why or why not:redface:

Any hints?

Thanks!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Office_Shredder
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
3,750
99
You have the right idea, but your element of (AB)C is incorrect. Each entry in AB is going to be a summation, and then each entry in (AB)C should be a summation in which each term contains a summation (specifically, the piece from AB is going to be a summation). So your final equation for the (i,j)th entry of (AB)C should contain a double summation.

Just walk through the definition of matrix multiplication real carefully and you should be able to get it
 

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