Math 1341B, Introduction to Linear Algebra
Fall 2003
Peter Selinger

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Instructor: Prof. Peter Selinger
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
585 King Edward, Room 205D
Phone: 562-5800 ext. 3510 (I prefer email when possible)
Email: (please put "1341" in subject line)
Teaching Assistant: Karen Meagher
Email: (please put "1341" in subject line)
Office Hours: To be announced. Office hours will be posted on the web.
Lectures: Tue 1-2:30, MRT 218
Thu 11:30-1, MRT 218
DGDs: Fri 1-2:30, MRT 218
Website: Updated information, announcements, homework, old tests and exams, solutions to tests, any handouts, etc., will be available from the web at
Prerequisites: MAT1340 or Ontario grade 12U Geometry and discrete mathematics or OAC Algebra and Geometry. (Cannot be combined for credit with MAT 1302.)
Topics: Review of complex numbers; fundamental theorem of algebra. Matrix algebra, determinants, solution of systems of linear equations with real or complex coefficients. Review of vector and scalar product, projection. Introduction to vector spaces, linear independence, bases; function spaces. Eigenvalues and eigenvectors of real and complex matrices. Linear transformations from Rn to Rm, composition, inverse; standard matrix of a linear transformation. Applications (e.g., geometry, networks, differential equations).
Textbook: Schaum's outlines, "Linear Algebra", 3rd edition, by Seymour Lipschutz and Marc Lipson, McGraw-Hill.
Approximate course content: Ch.1, polar form of a complex number, Ch. 2.1-2.10, 2.12, 3.1-3.11, algorithm 3.5 (p.88), 4.1-4.9, 4.11, 5.1-4, 5.6, 6.1-6.3, 6.5, 7.5-7.7, 8.1-8.8, 8.13, 9.1-9.5.

Please note that the material in sections 1.1-1.6 for n=2 and 3 and section 1.7 is merely review and will be the subject of the Diagnostic test. The precise sections covered may be subject to change. We may also cover the material in a different order.

Course Work: There will be bi-weekly marked homework, plus the following tests: an OAC Diagnostic test, 2 mid-terms and a final exam. The Diagnostic Test covers material from OAC Algebra and Geometry, and will be given in the second week of classes. Note that all tests are cumulative, i.e., they cover the material from the beginning of the course up to the given date.
Evaluation: If your score on the final exam is less than 50%, then your course mark is your score on the final exam. Otherwise, your course mark is composed as follows: Diagnostic test 5%, homework 15%, each midterm 15%, final exam 50%. However, you may shift the total weight of up to 20% from any tests (diagnostic, mini-test, midterm) to the final. This will be calculated automatically in your favor at the end of the term.
Missed test policy: Missed tests cannot be written at another time. If you miss a test without the instructor's prior permission, then you will receive a 0 on that test (and this test will automatically become part of the 20% whose weight is shifted to the final as explained above). Exceptions are made in two cases: (1) if you obtain the instructor's prior permission to miss a test, or (2) if you have an officially valid excuse such as a medical doctor's note. In these cases, the weight of the missed test will be shifted to the final exam without penalty (i.e., it does not affect your ability to shift another 20% to the final).
Test Schedule:
OAC Diagnostic Test: Friday, Sept 12
Midterm 1: Friday, Oct 3
Midterm 2: Friday, Nov 7
Final Exam: To be announced
Math Help Center: In addition to my office hours and the problem sessions, there is help available in the Math Help Center (Dropin Center). The help center is located in two locations: Marion Hall, room 021 (Mon-Wed 10-9, Thu 10-7, Fri 10-4), and Math Department, room B03 basement, 585 King Edward (Mon-Thu 10-7, Fri 10-4). See the Help Center web page at
Linear Algebra Test Bank: A useful resource is the linear algebra test bank, which allows you to practice multiple-choice exam questions online. To access the bank, go to and login using your Infoservice login name and password. Once you are in, select the course "Linear algebra-algebre lineaire" and click on "projet/project" to open the web page with the questions. After that, it is self-explanatory. Note for Windows XP Users: In the past, we have had some problems with the testbank and Windows XP. Some students have reported better luck with software downloaded from this address: This version is supposed to be Windows XP friendly.

Peter Selinger / Department of Mathematics and Statistics / Dalhousie University / PGP key