MATH 4153: Finite Dimensional Vector Spaces

MATH 4153
Finite Dimensional Vector Spaces

Spring 2004

  Section 1   Instructor: Dan Cohen   Phone: 578-1576
  M W F   10:40 - 11:30     Office Hours: M W F   11:40 - 12:30*     E-mail:
  132 Lockett   Office: 372 Lockett   URL:  
* Tentative. Any change in office hours will be announced in class. I will also hold office hours by appointment.

TextLinear Algebra, Second Edition, by K. Hoffman and R. Kunze. I hope to cover material from all ten chapters. Probably, discussion of topics from the first eight chapters is a more realistic goal.

Prerequisites:  MATH 2057 or 2085.

Catalog Description:  Vector spaces, linear transformations, determinants, eigenvalues and vectors, and topics such as inner product space and canonical forms.

Blackboard:  Throughout the semester, information will be posted at the Blackboard site for this course, accessible from

Homework:  This course will use the computer package WeBWorK for the assigning and grading of some homework problems. The first graded WeBWorK assignment will be given in the second week of classes. Your WeBWork assignment for the first week of class is to successfully log on at and complete the introductory problem set. This initial problem set (Set 0) is designed to acquaint you with using WeBWorK, and will not be graded. I will check near the end to the first week of classes to make sure everyone has successfully completed this problem set. If you are enrolled in the course, but are not able to access WeBWorK, contact me (preferably by email).

I will assign other homework problems (to be done by hand) essentially every class. Some of these homework problems may be collected, with selected problems graded. Homework may also be occasionally augmented with short in-class quizzes. Homework assignments will be announced in class, posted at the Blackboard course site, and occasionally discussed in class as necessary.

In total, the homework (and any quizzes) will be worth 100 points.

Exams:  There will be two hour-long, in-class exams, each worth 100 points. Exam dates will be announced in class. No make-up exams, except in extreme cases. If you must miss an exam, you should notify me before the exam takes place.

Final:  There will be a comprehensive final exam worth 150 points on Wednesday, May 12, 5:30 - 7:30 pm.

Grade:   Your course grade will be out of the 450 possible points outlined above. I may curve course grades. In any case, 90-100% is assured an A, 80-89% a B, and so on.

Important Dates:   January 27 is the last day to drop; January 29 is the last day to add; Mardi Gras is February 23-25; Spring Break is April 5-11; April 12 is the last day to withdraw.

Notes:   In this course, we will investigate a number of topics in linear algebra, a subject which is extremely useful both in mathematics and in applications. Some of these topics will probably be familiar (for instance, systems of linear equations), while others (such as the eigenvalue problem) may be new. The course will have both computational and conceptual aspects. We will develop methods for solving problems such as those mentioned above, and also endeavor to develop an understanding of why these methods work. Linear algebra also provides a good forum for developing experience working with mathematical proofs.

Calculators, computers, books, notes, etc. may not be used on the in-class exams, any quizzes, or the final exam.

Blue Books:   For redistribution for the exams and final, please bring three (blank) blue books to class by Friday, January 30.

Bear in mind that you are taking this course under the guidelines of the Code of Student Conduct.

Dan Cohen   Spring 2004