**Linear algebra** is a fairly extensive subject that covers vectors and matrices, determinants, systems of linear equations, vector spaces and linear transformations, eigenvalue problems, and other topics. As an area of study it has a broad appeal in that it has many applications in engineering, physics, geometry, computer science, economics, and other areas. It also contributes to a deeper understanding of mathematics itself.

**Matrices**, which are rectangular arrays of numbers or functions, and **vectors** are the main tools of linear algebra. Matrices are important because they let us express large amounts of data and functions in an organized and concise form. Furthermore, since matrices are single objects, we denote them by single letters and calculate with them directly. All these features have made matrices and vectors very popular for expressing scientific and mathematical ideas.

The chapter keeps a good mix between applications (electric networks, Markov processes, traffic flow, etc.) and theory. Chapter 7 is structured as follows: Sections 7.1 and 7.2 provide an intuitive introduction to matrices and vectors and their operations, including matrix multiplication. The next block of sections, that is, Secs. 7.3–7.5 provide the most important method for ** solving systems of linear equations** by the Gauss elimination ...

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