Mathematics 115A/3 - Fall 2002

Linear algebra

Instructor: Terence Tao, MS 5622, ph. 206-4844 (  Note: I get a lot of spam e-mails these days, so please mark your e-mails with "Math 115A" or something similar in the subject line, or send the e-mails from an UCLA address, otherwise it may get lost in the spam.

Lectures: MWF 1-1:50 pm, at MS 5127

Section: Thu 1-1:50pm, at MS 5127

Office hours: W 2-5

TA: John Handy, MS 3973, ph. 946-5051 (

TA Office hours: Tu 2-3, Th 11-11:30, Th 2-3

Textbook: Linear Algebra, S.H. Friedberg, A.J. Insel, L.E. Spence, Third Edition. Prentice Hall, 1999. We will be following the official syllabus closely, but the presentation will differ substantially from that in the textbook (relying more on my own course notes). It's a good idea to read the textbook concurrently with the course for a second opinion.

Homework: Homework will be collected and returned every Thursday in section meetings, starting on Thursday, October 10; there will be eight assignments. Each homework will consist of about ten problems of varying difficulty (both computational and theoretical), about half of which will be from the textbook. The exact questions will be available on the Web, and also handed out in lectures. Only three of the questions, chosen at random, will actually be graded, however it is strongly recommended that you attempt all the questions in the assignment.

Solutions to each homework will be available on the Web on the evening of the due date. Late homework will not be accepted.

Examinations: There is one mid-term, on Friday, Nov 1, 1-2pm, at MS 5127, and a final examination on The final is at Tuesday, Dec 10, 8-11 a.m (exam code 06), at a room to be announced.

Grading: The final grade is based on the homework (15%), mid-term (35%), and the final examination (50%).

If you cannot make one of the examinations, contact me as soon as possible, preferably one week in advance of the exam. Retroactive, or last-minute requests for a make-up, will most likely be denied.

Calculators and written materials: You may use whatever resources you wish to do the homework, including calculators, textbooks, friends, TAs, etc., although by the end of the course you should be able to do all the homework questions without any assistance. No calculators or texts will be allowed in the mid-terms and finals, but a 5x7 index card will be permitted for each exam. More information on examination procedures will be given later in the course.

Mathematical level: The emphasis in this course is theoretical, including abstract proof-type questions in the homework and in the exams. For most of these questions, a relevant sequence of equations arranged in an intelligent and logical order, accompanied by a few words of explanation at the critical steps, will be sufficient.

World-Wide Web: You are encouraged to visit the web-page for this section at
This page will contain all the official information for the course, the latest homework, lecture notes, handouts, Virtual Office Hours, solutions to previous homework, sample exams and quizzes, updates, and other pieces of information.