"Linear Algebra and thoughts on Rigor"

Le Wed 30 December 2020 Par Tony Spiker  | Cat├ęgorie : misc

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Linear Algebra was the bane of my existence in college

Seriously. Its course number was MTH357 as in .357 magnum. like I wanted to blow my damn head off with. I didn't get it. I never understood what it was we were trying to do with the course. Now, granted, in retrospect, I didnt try that hard, but also, I didn't know how to try hard in school, as everything had been relatively easy for me up to that point.

22 years later, here I am trying to learn it, as linear algebra is a fairly fundamental concept when it comes to machine learning. Now, the difference is I want to learn it. The best courses I could find were offered on EdX. They are taught by Math professors at Georgia Tech, and they provide a pdf copy of the text book they use at the school. It is divided into 4 different classes, each representing 1/4 of the linear algebra class that students would take at GIT.

Here is the catch: Rigor. I can audit the course for free. That is, I can do the practice problems, but not the quizes or the homework. Or I can pay 199 dollars per class, or 800 dollars total for all four classes, to take a few quizzes to make sure I am progressing properly. Now, If I am going to pay 800 buck for a class, I want the get the damn cerification (degree) that comes along with it. Thats not going to happen, especially at this point in my career. I'm a teacher for god's sake. So... I am going to audit this class. By default, this removes a large part of the rigor that is neccesary for learning.

So, what do I do about it? Fortunately, GIT (that's Georgia Institute for Technology, also know as Georgia Tech. Not GIT as GITHUB) publishes their own text book for this class- and they put it online for free.


One hint that John passed on to be through his education trials, was: Anytime a text says, it can be easiely shown that... Go ahead and show it. This textbook has plenty of opportunities to do so. Today I did about 1/3 of the first of 4 linear algebra classes. Judging by the book, that take me to about chapter 2.3 in the text. So, tomorrow, I am going to "show" all the things that can be easily shown. In otherwords, I am going to do all the examples in the book to supply the rigor that the 800 dollar fee was supposed to provide.

Update: Found some more problem sets that I am going to share, that is if you are interested in learning linear algebra on your own as well

There is this one from UC Davis:


And this one from MIT: