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Q&A #6276

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Use of matrices in transformation

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From: Loyd <loydlin@aol.com>
To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2003102917:32:50
Subject: Re: use of matrices

I remember back in the early 60's about a mathematician who could
solve 7 equations with seven unknowns.  In those days, there were no
computers readily available to solve these equations so he was
valuable to have around.  Myself, I was able to solve a set of 5
equations with 5 unknowns in my linear algebra class with extreme
difficulty because I would keep making arithmetic errors.  I did
manage to solve one set of five, however.

I was taught how to solve equations using matrices to solve these
equations but it was at a fairly high abstract level, so matrices
didn't help me much then.  

Then, the TI-83 calculator was invented and matrices became anap!  I
can easily plug in the coefficients into the TI-83 graphing calculator
and then use the inverse of the matrix to solve 5, 7 or more equations
if I want to! No problem! 

Matrices don't help everybody but I suspect a few people in any
business industry uses them for initial designs.  When you send people
to the moon or anywhere in space, some engineers and mathematicians
have to initially use matrices to design the equipment and plot the
journey.  Once computers are programed, then you may not need them
very often.

True, not everyone will use them, but a few will always need to have
the skill in using matrices.  Students who understand matrices will
appreciate this knowledge.

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