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This subject develops the concepts of vectors, matrices and the methods of linear algebra and introduces students to differentiation and integration of functions of two variables. Students will be exposed to methods of mathematical proof. Little of the material here has been seen at school and the level of understanding required represents an advance on previous studies. Underlying concepts developed in lectures will be reinforced in computer laboratory classes.
Topics covered include systems of linear equations, matrices and determinants, vector geometry, lines and planes, vector spaces, subspaces, linear independence, bases, dimension, inner products, linear transformations, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, complex eigenvalues and exponentials as well as techniques of proof, partial derivatives, chain rule for partial derivatives, directional derivatives, tangent planes, extrema for functions of several variables and double integrals.
Intended learning outcomes
Students completing this subject should:
- be able to use matrix techniques to represent and solve a system of simultaneous linear equations;
- understand the extension of vector concepts to abstract vector spaces of arbitrary finite dimension;
- understand linear transformations, their matrix representations and applications;
- be able to differentiate and integrate functions of two variables;
- be able to do a simple mathematical proof.
In addition to learning specific skills that will assist students in their future careers in science, they will have the opportunity to develop generic skills that will assist them in any future career path. These include:
- problem-solving skills: the ability to engage with unfamiliar problems and identify relevant solution strategies;
- analytical skills: the ability to construct and express logical arguments and to work in abstract or general terms to increase the clarity and efficiency of analysis;
- collaborative skills: the ability to work in a team;
- time-management skills: the ability to meet regular deadlines while balancing competing commitments; and
- computer skills: the ability to use mathematical computing packages.
Last updated: 1 March 2024