Math 2B - Linear Algebra - Spring, 2013

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Syllabus—Spring 2013

MATH 2B - Linear Algebra – Syllabus – Spring ‘13

Instructor: Geoff Hagopian
Office: Math 12, email:;
Phone: 776-7223.
Web Site:  
Prerequisite: Math 1B (Calculus II) with a grade of "C" or better

Course Description: This course is a standard introductory course in linear algebra.  Topics include vectors in Rn, matrices and systems of linear equations, determinants, vector spaces, linear independence, linear transformations, eigenvalues, eigenvectors, and diagonalization of certain quadratic forms.

Text: Introduction to Linear Algebra, 4th ed., Gilbert Strang.  The reading in the textbook is essential. The author has taken care to make this text readable. Gilbert Strang has a strong voice of reason that you can tune into and fully appreciate only after carefully reading and rereading the text.  You should read with a pencil and paper and be prepared to pause repeatedly to reconsider passages and work problems, make notes and reread again, as necessary to gain a firm grasp of what you're reading. There may be some information in the textbook which we won't have time to discuss during class.  Still, you're responsible for understanding what’s written and you are advised to read material in the text before that material is discussed in class and then reread it afterwards, taking notes throughout.

Class Attendance: Regular class attendance is essential. You are expected to be in class on time. If you’re not there, you missed it.

Resources: We will try to use Piazza, an internet-based course software, for this course.   The URL for our course is .  There are multiple resources for materials related to this class including videos, sample tests, etc.  To get the latest, greatest list of these, start by consulting the resources at the Piazza site. 
The Octave software will be used in this course.

Tests: The initial plan is to have 4 midterm exams (one every 3 weeks or so) and a final exam.  To read the entire book this means 2 chapters per exam. These will involve closed-book, in-class exams. 

Homework: Assigned problems are the minimum amount of work which needs to be done.  Solutions will be discussed in class and using Piazza. Students are required to participate with Piazza at a rate of at least 5 posts per week – the more, the better. 

Projects: More extensive problems and writing projects may be assigned, as time allows.