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The Determinant

  1. Sep 5, 2015 #1
    • Member warned about posting with no apparent research done first
    What is the main idea behind the determinant? What was the main purpose for which it was conceived?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 5, 2015 #2

    BvU

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    Extremely useful for solving systems of equations. History here but I suppose you googled that too ?
     
  4. Sep 5, 2015 #3

    cgk

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    The determinant of of N vectors gives you the (signed) volume of the N-dimensional parallelepiped they span. Most of its uses come from either this property, or it's property as the simplest way of getting a totally anti-symmetrized product of stuff.
     
  5. Sep 7, 2015 #4

    Ray Vickson

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    Actually, determinants rarely used anymore for solving general linear systems of equations, because there are so many more efficient and simpler methods available. However, for specially-structured systems, determinants can, indeed, be the best way of solving them. They are also very useful theoretically.
     
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