MATH 230Linear Algebra Spring 2001

Room and hours: Red Hill, T, Th.  1:00- 1:50

Instructor: Muhammad Zafrullah                                                                     Office: 709 Garrison

Phone: 282-2892 (Department), and 208-478-2759, (home) e-mail:

Office hours: M- F 11:00- 11:50 AM or by appointment.

Textbook: Linear Algebra and its Applications, David Lay, Addison-Wesley, Second, updated, edition,

Course prerequisites: Satisfactory completion of College Algebra or its equivalent.

Syllabus: We will cover parts of Chapters 1- 3 and 5 and 6 of the textbook.

Course Description: This course provides a brief introduction to the important problem solving set of tools called Linear Algebra, its meanings and its applications, from a user’s point of view. The emphasis of this course is on applications of Linear Algebra to Engineering and Business.

Course objectives: On successful completion of this course you should

  1. Know how to find the solution set of a system of linear equations, via row reduction and should know what a row echelon form is.
  2. Understand the meanings of the term Matrix, and know how, and when, to add and multiply matrices and what the term Algebra of Matrices means. Understand the role of matrices in the solutions of systems of equations.
  3. Know what Rn stands for and what an n-dimensional vector is and be able to tell when a set of vectors is linearly independent or dependent. You should also know what the span of a set of vectors means and what the rank of a matrix is.
  4. Know exactly when a matrix is invertible and be able to find the inverse of a simple invertible matrix, using hand computation as well as a machine, and be able to use it in solving a system of linear equations.
  5. Know basic properties of determinants and be able to compute simple determinants. Should also know how the determinant of a square matrix is linked with its invertibility.
  6. Know what a suitable matrix can do to a column vector and what is the significance of matrix multiplication in this connection.
  7. Be able to recognize the situations in the real world where your knowledge of Linear Algebra applies and be able to apply it independently.


Homework: Homework will be assigned at the end of each section but will not be collected.

Calculators: You are permitted (in fact encouraged) to use programmable graphing calculators, but laptops or other devices with QWERTY keyboards, such as TI 89, TI 92 are not be allowed, neither in the class room nor in the exams. I will use TI 83 and, if time permits, to show how to use machines to do lengthy calculations.


Math Help: Math Lab (Museum Building (Top Floor)) is a free drop-in tutorial service staffed by Teaching Assistants and Instructors from the Department of Mathematics. The hours are:          To be announced                  . The Math Lab provides one of the best ways of getting personalized help. (About Math help: Remember that Mathematics is not a spectator sport. You would not get it if you do not do it. So get your hands dirty, try to do the problems yourself and seek help only if you have some real difficulty with a problem or a concept.) Note that not all the tutors at the Math Lab can help you. I will let you know of the times when you can get help at Math Lab.

Tests, quizzes and grading: There will be:

·         Three in-class  tests (dates to be announced in class),

·         A comprehensive final (Tuesday 5-15-2001, 12:30 –2:30 PM). In addition

·         There will be some 4 to 6 quizzes. The quizzes will not be announced. There will be a minimum of 4 quizzes to be taken. If you do take more, the highest scoring four will be taken into account.

·         To make sure that you read and understand some topics on your own I will give you some reading assignments on some topics. The reading assignments will be due at the next meeting.

Grades: The allocation of grades will be as follows: 100 points each for the three in-class tests, 50 points for the reading assignments, and 200 for the final. The quizzes will be worth 100 points. In all you will be working for 650 points. (There will be no make-ups. If you do have legitimate and documented excuse for missing a test/quiz, your grade will be recalculated without that test.)

Grading scale will be approximately as in the following table:








80- 89

70- 79


(Note: I do reserve the right to give bonus points to those whose performance in the class turns out to be outstanding. Being nice to me will not help. You will have to show performance, by participating in class-discussions, by asking questions and by getting good grades.)

Changes in policies: Course policies are subject to change. Any changes will be announced in class. You are responsible for keeping track of any such announcements.


Notes: (1) Past experience (with similar courses) indicates that you will need at least 8 hours of study per week, in addition to the 2 contact hours, if you want to get good grades in this class. Try not to miss classes. It is not always possible to see the useful points on your own.

(2) Reading the textbook, as the course progresses, enhances the understanding of the subject. Doing homework regularly also helps and allocating some study time to prepare for tests also improves the grades.

Disabilities: If you have or you believe you have a disability that may require accommodation on the part of ISU, call 282-3599 to make an appointment Dian Jenkins, Director, ADA and Disabilities Resource Center.

Academic Honesty: You may work with other students on most assignments, but you are expected to write your own solutions and reading assignments. There will be no tolerance for cheating or plagiarism. University policies will be enforced in such cases.