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Linear Algebra and Multivariable Calculus (Math 290) — Winter 2019

Welcome to Math 290-2! This is the second in the three-quarter sequence on linear algebra and multivariable calculus for MENU. (My 290-1 page is here.)

Last quarter was all about linear algebra, getting to grips with the tools of vectors and matrices and using them to interpret particular kinds of algebraic problems geometrically. In the first half of this quarter we will continue this journey, and use the tools of linear algebra to parametrise certain kinds of curves and surfaces—this skill will prove to be extremely important in Math 290-3 next quarter!

In the second half of the quarter, we will generalise what you have learnt about differential calculus to functions of more than one variable. You might be wondering, what does this have to do with linear algebra? Here's one example. If $f$ is a nicely behaved function of two variables, then $f(x,y) = 0$ describes a curve in $\mathbb{R}^2$. (For example, if $f(x,y) = x^2-y$, then $f(x,y)=0$ is the parabola $y=x^2$.) At a point $(a,b)$ on the curve, we might ask what is the tangent line to the curve $f(x,y) = 0$ at $(a,b)$. It turns out that this is the subspace of $\mathbb{R}^2$ that is orthogonal to the vector $(f_x(a,b), f_y(a,b))$, where $f_x$ and $f_y$ are the partial derivatives of $f$ with respect to $x$ and $y$, respectively. This example generalises to higher dimensions, and we will make heavy use of the tools of linear algebra in our study of multivariable calculus.

Most administrative aspects of the course will be handled using Canvas.

Time and place. MoWe(Th)Fr 9:00–9:50am in Lunt Hall 103.

Textbooks. We will use two textbooks this quarter:

Homework. Homework assignments will be due at the beginning of class on Fridays—they can be viewed on Canvas.

Examinations. There will be two midterm exams and a final exam.

Handouts. What follows are the handouts from class and solutions to exercises.

  1. Orthonormal vectors — handoutsolutions
  2. Orthogonal projections, lengths and angles — handoutsolutions
  3. Gram–Schmidt orthonormalisation — handoutsolutions
  4. Orthogonal transformations — handoutsolutions
  5. Least squares and data fitting — handoutsolutions
  6. Orthonormal bases of eigenvectors — handoutsolutions

Course calendar

The following calendar contains important dates related to Math 290-2, as well as the times and locations of my classes, discussions and office hours.