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Linear Algebra and Its Applications, 4th Edition 4th Edition

58 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0030105678
ISBN-10: 0030105676
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gilbert Strang is Professor of Mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an Honorary Fellow of Balliol College. He was an undergraduate at MIT and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. His doctorate was from UCLA and since then he has taught at MIT. He has been a Sloan Fellow and a Fairchild Scholar and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Professor Strang has published a monograph with George Fix, "An Analysis of the Finite Element Method", and has authored six widely used textbooks. He served as President of SIAM during 1999 and 2000 and he is Chair of the U.S. National Committee on Mathematics for 2003-2004.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 487 pages
  • Publisher: Brooks Cole; 4th edition (2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0030105676
  • ISBN-13: 978-0030105678
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #431,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 78 people found the following review helpful By sp on December 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
As someone who works in an engineering R&D environment and is called upon to use linear algebra to solve practical "real world"
problems, I wanted to put this book in perspective for those who may be unsure of the true value of this book given the large variance in the reviews.

1. This book presents an applied treatment of the subject appropriate for a first course. The goal of the
book is to provide the reader with an intuitive understanding of the material. Geometrical and visual arguments
are used throughout. Coordinates, matrices, and numerical computations are emphasized. Formal proofs are not provided for most results.

2. This book is geared toward those doing scientific computations involved in solving real world problems. Linear algebra
is the workhorse of modern applied mathematics. This book covers the critical factorization LU, QR, SVD, as well as the 4 Fundamental Subspaces
and least squares. Any book that skimps on these topics is out of touch with reality and in my opinion doing a disservice to those who are paying big bucks
for a technical education. Those who are ever planning
to get a job in engineering or the mathematical sciences will at some time be expected to solve (or understand how
software like MATLAB solves) least squares problems, systems
of linear equations, eigenvalue problems, linear ODE's, optimization problems. This book is the first step toward
gaining an understanding of these issues. This book is practical in the sense that real world problems
require numerical solution described in terms of
a basis-dependent
finite-dimensional representation of the problem.

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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By TinaM on February 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
First off, this book is not well-suited for students who have never seen a matrix and have not yet mastered the basic calculations of how to multiply and add matrices, or for those who have never seen Gaussian elimination. There are many other textbooks that do nothing but provide you with exercise after exercise of manual computations of inverses and determinants that are better suited to that purpose.

That said, for anyone taking a course in linear algebra who actually wants to know more than the rote mechanics of matrix multiplication and Gaussian elimination, this book provides a succint explanation of what matrices actually represent. And I've held onto the book as a reference now for many years (referring to the 3rd edition).

I came across it as a graduate student studying for doctoral qualifying examinations. Someone suggested that I check out Strang's book from the library as a supplement to my utterly confounding graduate school text. It was a godsend! I pored over Strang's book, doing computations on occasion, and taking copious notes of his thorough explanations of concepts like null space, row space, column space, and eigenvalues. After that, I had no problem passing my qualifying exam in linear algebra!
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By twit on September 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I wondered how this book could elicit such mixed opinions, so I took a quick look by reading the first few pages, and scanning the first couple chapters. One can already see the writing style resonsible for this.

Strang is trying to clearly explain the ideas behind the various mechanical constructions, such as Gaussian elmination, in terms of their interpretation via matrices, and also explain practical aspects of the constructions such as cost of implementation, efficiency, and tendency to go "wrong" under roundoff.

This is a lot of ideas to put in a few pages, and students used to books which merely display a mechanical operation, then drill it over and over, are likely stunned by the compactness of the presentation. They are not used to mulling a few succint phrases for meaning, and taking their time. One student reviewer even complained that he had to reread after a few paragraphs, as if that were a bad thing.

He does give very clear and simple examples, he just doesn't give a lot of them. When he has made his point, he does not dwell on it, he moves on to enhance and deepen it. Probably you should work every single exercise in this book.

This is obviously an excellent book from which to learn a lot of deep useful insights into linear algebra and its uses. For those who want more drill on the arithmetic involved, any other book will have a lot of that. But those books will not have the clarity and focus of this book, in most cases. I recommend it highly.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Henry Lenzi on September 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Professor Strang has taught Linear Algebra for many years to legions of one of the United States' top institution. So give him some credit, for starters...
This book is inimitable in its clarity and in how it yields so much insight. I have many books on Linear Algebra and I think this book is worth its weight in gold. I know of no other book that teaches the fundamental subspaces so well.
The book covers standard material in Linear Algebra (and then some) and has a strong matrix-oriented flavor (as opposed to a book giving an algebraic treatment - look for Valenza if you want that).
I don't understand what some of the complaining is about by some reviewers. The book is not abstract enough, not formal enough? No first treatment in Linear Algebra is or should be - that is Linear Algebra 2. Besides, matrices are pervasive in all fields of engineering, physics, applied math and other disciplines and later on the student will advance to even more complex issues (such as numerical linear algebra) and they simply cannot afford not to have seen the standard matrix treatment. In fact, that would be the reason it's so widely taught - because it's so useful. It's no use delving into abstract treatment if one doesn't understand the most basic facts about why it is that you can solve a system of linear equations.
Best of all, his lectures now can be seen on MIT's Open Courseware site.
I have used this book since the second edition. I believe this 4th edition is the best edition yet. Unlike some other books on the market, this new edition is a fully thought-through new edition (Strang has been restructuring his book throughout all editions, ever making this more clear and insightful). Not bloat at all. I wholeheartedly recommend it. In fact, I believe you might get hurt using some other books that are on the market that do a very lousy job on teaching this subject (such as Lay). This book is the gold standard.
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