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- Thread starter Tyrion101
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Anything you can do with matrices is something you can do without (like linear maps for example), but it more annoying and less straightforward. Matrices really allow you to use algorithms. This is very handy for computing.

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In one word - Simplification

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Ecologist use matrices to explore the population dynamics of predator and preys (like foxes and rabbits)

Chemists use matrices to track the concentrations of reactants and products in a chemical reactor.

Physicist, mathematicians, engineers, computer scientists, economists, climate scientist, geologist, etc all matrices to solve a variety of different problems.

There isn't one typical problem where matrices are used, just like there isn't one typical problem where multiplication is used.

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A lot of the uses of matrices are hard for a newcomer to understand, but if you've seen some basic algebra, you've probably solved systems of linear equations. If you have 2 equations and 2 unknowns, you don't really need matrices to solve it. But what if you have 100 equations and 100 unknowns? Using matrices makes it a little less messy. Matrices also lead to a more elegant way of thinking about it, which is hard to appreciate unless you delve into the ideas of linear algebra. These ideas can deepen your understanding of a quite a number of things, and matrices are part of that story. It goes beyond just using matrices directly to compute this or that.

Here's one good application. Keeping track of different stresses and strains in materials:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stress_(mechanics [Broken])

As micromass said, you can always do everything without matrices, but it's convenient.

Here's one good application. Keeping track of different stresses and strains in materials:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stress_(mechanics [Broken])

As micromass said, you can always do everything without matrices, but it's convenient.

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