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Why most students fear Linear Algebra?

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Showing 1-14 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 3, 2009 10:24:59 PM PST
thea nguyen says:
I will eventually have to take Linear Algebra to satisfy the CS requirement. Everyone who had already taken the class has told me that it is by far the most difficult of all math classes. That is making me a bit nervous. I have been hoping the class would be as fun as Dif. eq, but after hearing from other students, I am sweating it. What makes it so difficult to other students? Is it the matrices that tend to baffle them? Just wanting to know to ease the fear when I have to take it.

Posted on Mar 4, 2009 8:45:30 AM PST
Hans Fugal says:
Because nobody can see the application of it and if you have no application in mind it is very tedious and hard to remember. Get familiar with image processing, game physics, or bioinformatics or some other field where matrices are king and your mind will know what to do with all that information you're being fed and you'll do fine.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 4, 2009 8:24:52 PM PST
thea nguyen says:
Thank you so much for your info. I will look into those things so I will learn the math better and remember it longer.

Posted on Mar 10, 2009 11:18:44 PM PDT
Brian Gordon says:
Linear's not that bad, just new. And this is the level where you _HAVE_ to do the coursework.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2009 7:26:03 AM PDT
thea nguyen says:

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 13, 2009 11:53:57 AM PDT
Jeff Evans says:
Part of what makes it so difficult is how abstract the ideas are. Geometry is fine since we can see, draw, and measure circles. But we can't picture an n-dimensional coordinate space. It's unclear what that even means (being a purely mathematical construct).

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 14, 2009 1:07:17 AM PDT
thea nguyen says:
Thank you. I figure that is what is causing lots of students so lost and confused. Maybe if I beat it into my head before my class starts, I might get a head start on the confusion state and start seeing a clearer picture slowly afterward.

Posted on Mar 21, 2009 8:11:20 PM PDT
I was a EE in school, and linear algebra is pretty fundamental for us. I generally didn't have trouble applying the same concepts to n-dimensions after thinking intuitively about them in 1-3 dimensions. When doing proofs or solving abstract problems, you should let you intuition guide you, but remember that all you really know are the definitions and previously proved theorems - that cuts down on mistakes and incorrect assumptions.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2009 10:46:17 AM PDT
Hello Thea Nguyen

Since you have differential Equations the concepts of linear algebra will be a breeze. I am concern about the post saying they see no application. Many large companies use the concepts to determine the best allocation of management and staff. Companies have saved millions of dollars by understanding the routing of vital information. The first case of this that I know or was done by IBM. A matrix of mangers and staff was formed. The purpose was to follow the path a vital piece of information followed and who acted on he information. What they found out is there were several executives level people who never acted on anything, and several secretaries that acted on everything. Many upper level people were removed and many secretaries were promoted.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 7, 2009 6:00:11 AM PDT
thea nguyen says:
Thank you for your insight. I guess there are many uses for it. I think it may be the reason to those who couldn't see its uses are students who don't currently work to know and understand the concept.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2009 6:30:53 PM PDT
Hello Thea Nguyen

The problems sometimes with higher level math courses are they are presented in a completely abstract method. If this is what you find in your course find a good application book and work with it along side your assigned text.


In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2009 6:35:59 AM PDT
ani el says:
Honestly, the difficulty of the class depends entirely on the way the class is taught. Some professors teach it largely as a matrix algebra class with applications and little in the way of proofs, some teach it as an intro to proofs class (that is, semi-rigorous), and sometimes it is taught as one of the truly hard classes in an undergrad math program (along with real analysis and abstract algebra.) I have taken a junior level class that was basically the former (and very, very easy), but also a senior level class that was reasonably difficult. I'm assuming that your school teaches it at a really abstract level, but if you did well in your intro to proofs (or as a CS major your discrete math structures class) you should be able to make it through unscathed.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2009 10:41:25 AM PDT
thea nguyen says:
Thank you for your insight. I have found some lessons on Youtube that would get me started before I start my class. Still a bit nervous because I am not strong in math and know that I will screw up the first time.

Posted on Jan 15, 2011 8:42:40 PM PST
I do linear algebra on my spare time for fun. I'm going to take a course in it after calculus, and I'm looking forward to it. The application I have in mind is robotics kinematics transformations.
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Discussion in:  Computer Science forum
Participants:  8
Total posts:  14
Initial post:  Mar 3, 2009
Latest post:  Jan 15, 2011

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