A matrix is a rectangular array of numbers or other values, called elements. Matrices provide an excellent format for organizing information and performing computations involving that information.
Matrix arithmetic incorporates the operations of addition, subtraction, and multiplication, but in most unique ways. As with complex numbers, there is no division — the process is accomplished by multiplying by an inverse.
One of the first applications of matrices found in the classroom is that of solving systems of equations. It’s not usually easier to solve those systems with matrices than to do it with algebraic substitution and elimination, but the process is easily programmed in graphing calculators, making technology the choice for doing those systems problems.
The Problems You’ll Work On
In this chapter, you’ll work with matrices in the following ways:
Determining matrix dimensions
Adding and subtracting matrices with the same dimension
Performing scalar multiplication
Multiplying matrices with compatible dimensions
Finding the inverse of a square matrix