Q&A #7255

Matrices versus Arrays

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From: Suzanne A. (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Nov 10, 2001 at 08:24:33
Subject: Re: Matrices versus Arrays

Dear Daniel,

Another T2T Associate may have more information for you on this topic but as a 
middle school teacher who loves a challenge, I decided to look around on the 
Web to see if I could figure this out.

At first everything I found used "array" and "matrix" in the same paragraph 
and it was difficult to see a difference. I started feeling, however, that 
"array" was a bit more general a term than "matrix" and then I found Computer 
User High Tech Dictionary:


I searched for "array" and they define it as:

"An ordered arrangement of data elements in one or more dimensions: a list, a 
table, or a multidimensional arrangement of items. A vector is a one-
dimensional array; a matrix is a two-dimensional array. Multidimensional 
arrays are used to store tables of data, especially in scientific simulation 
and mathematical processing. Data items in an array are distinguished by 

So, I think my sense was right in that a matrix is an array but not all arrays 
are matrices.

Try looking up "matrix" and you will see that they define it in terms of an 

I also found this definition of a matrix that includes an illustration:


As I said, another Associate may have more to share with you but maybe this 
information will be helpful.

 -Suzanne A., for the T2T service

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