SUNY at Stony Brook MAT 211: Introduction to Linear Algebra
Fall 2009

MAT 211 -  Introduction to Linear Algebra  - Lecture 3                Stony Brook,  Fall 2009

About this course: This course provides an elementary introduction to linear algebra. It covers systems of linear equations, Gauss-Jordan elimination, matrices and determinants, vector (linear) spaces and linear transformations, bases, dimension, the Kernel-Image theorem, inner-product spaces, orthogonality, Gram-Schmidt orthogonalization, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, diagonalization. Algebraic objects are considered together with their geometric interpretations. May not be taken for credit in addition to AMS 210. 

Prerequisite: C or higher in AMS 151 or MAT 131 or 141, or co-registration in MAT 126, or level 7 on the mathematics placement examination.

When and where: The course meets Mo-We, 2:20 to 3:40pm at Earth&Space 131.

Text: Linear Algebra with Applications, 4th edition,  by Otto Bretscher. This book is available at the campus bookstore or Stony Books . You can also use the older version (the 3rd edition) although you'll have to make sure that you are solving the correct homework problems. There are also electronic-only versions of the text available at CourseSmart (Price to Student $67.33).

New material is presented every week. You shoud read the corresponding section of the texbook before the class.

Homework: You can not learn linear algebra without working problems. Expect to spend between 6 and 8 hours a week solving problems; do all of the assigned problems, as well as additional ones to study. If you do not understand how to do something, get help from your lecturer, your grader, your classmates, or in the Math Learning Center. You are encouraged to study with and discuss problems with others from the class, but write up your own homework by yourself, and make sure you understand how to do the problems. Problem assignments can always be found on the web at 
 Every homework assignment must be handed in with a header containing: 

  •  Surname, Name
  •  University ID Number
  •  Date Submitted
  • Assignment number. 

All of the homework pages MUST be stapled together.
Use black or dark blue ink when writing up answers for your homework assignments. Do NOT use RED ink and do NOT use PENCIL.
Mathematical writing is an important part of this course; therefore all problem sets must be legible and must use complete sentences, correct grammar, correct spelling, etc. Problem sets which prove too difficult for the grader to read may be marked incorrect or may be returned to the student for rewriting (as the instructor sees fit). Moreover, a complete solution will include the following:

  1.  The statement of the problem
  2.  An organized presentation of ideas leading to a solution
  3.  An answer that is circled or boxed
  4.  If a problem has multiple parts it should be solved as though each part were a separate problem, following the order in which parts are listed.
  5.  If there is no work shown, there is no credit. In other words, an answer with no justification is not admissible (even if it is the correct answer!)

The grader will grade selected problems and post the grades in Blackboard. All questions regarding grading of a problem set must be addressed to the grader.


Examinations and grading: There will be two midterms exams (in class), and a cumulative final exam. The dates are listed below;  Success on the exams will require correct and efficient solutions to the more difficult of the homework problems. Part of your grade will be based on class participation in the lecture (note that asking questions in class counts as class participation). 

What When % of Final Grade
Exam 1 Wednesday, October 14th 2:20pm-3:40pm 25%
Exam 2 Wednesday, November 11th 2:20pm-3:40pm 25%
Final Exam Monday, December 14th 5:15pm-7:45pm 35%
Homeworks, participation, etc. 15%

Make sure that you can attend the exams at the scheduled times; make-ups will not be given. If one midterm exam is missed because of a serious (documented) illness or emergency, the semester grade will be determined based on the balance of the work in the course.

Grades will be posted in Blackboard.

All exams are closed notes and closed book.  It is not permitted to use cell phones, calculators, laptops, MP3 players, Blackberries or other such electronic devices at any time during exams. Once the exam has begun, use of such devices or having such devices in view, as well as having notes or books on the desk or in view will be considered cheating and will be referred to the Academic Judiciary. Similarly, once the exam has begun any communication with a person other than the instructor or proctor will be considered cheating and will be referred to the Academic Judiciary.

Calculators: A calculator is not required for this course. No calculators will be allowed on exams

Reading: The textbook is intended to be read. Read the assigned sections before the lecture! This will greatly increase your comprehension, and enable you to ask intelligent questions in class. Furthermore, the lectures will not always be able to cover all of the material for which you will be responsible.

Instructor Office Hours: Moira Chas: Mo 12:00-2pm  and We 11:30 to 12:30 in 3-119 Math Tower.

Grader Office hours and email: Xin Zhang,   FRI   11:40 - 12:40 (in his office, located in the Math Learning Center) and  Wed  11 - 1 (in Math Learing Center)       xzhang at

Math Learning Center: The Math Learning Center, in Math S-240A, is there for you to get help. It is staffed most days and some evening. A schedule should be posted outside the room and at the Math Undergraduate Office.

Disabilities: If you have a physical, psychological, medical, or learning disability that may impact your course work, please contact Disability Support Services at or (631) 632-6748. They will determine with you what accommodations are necessary and appropriate. All information and documentation is confidential.

Students who require assistance during emergency evacuation are encouraged to discuss their needs with their professors and Disability Support Services. For procedures and information go to the following website:

Academic Integrity: Each student must pursue his or her academic goals honestly and be personally accountable for all submitted work. Representing another person's work as your own is always wrong. Faculty are required to report any suspected instances of academic dishonesty to the Academic Judiciary. For more comprehensive information on academic integrity, including categories of academic dishonesty, please refer to the academic judiciary website at

Critical Incident Management Stony Brook University expects students to respect the rights, privileges, and property of other people. Faculty are required to report to the Office of Judicial Affairs any disruptive behavior that interrupts their ability to teach, compromises the safety of the learning environment, and/or inhibits students' ability to learn.