M340L-CS, Matrices and Matrix Calculations

  • Unique number: 55740
  • Lectures TuTh 9:30-11:00, Wel 2.246
  • Web page: http://www.ma.utexas.edu/users/sadun/S12/340L
  • Professor: Lorenzo Sadun, RLM 9.114, x1-7121, sadun@math.utexas.edu
  • Teaching Assistant: Mark Norfleet, RLM 10.106, mnorfleet@math.utexas.edu
  • Sadun office hours: M 1-2, W 10-11. I generally keep an open door and welcome visitors at all times.
  • Norfleet office hours: M3:30-5, Th 12-1:30.
  • Textbook: Introduction to Linear Algebra, 4th ed., by Gilbert Strang. (Not "Linear Algebra and Its Applications", which costs 3 times as much!)
  • Prerequisites: M408C or K or N with a grade of C- or better. Note that you cannot get credit for both M340L and M341.
  • Syllabus: Most of Chapters 1-7 of the text, plus a few sections of chapter 8. You can find an online week-by-week schedule here.
  • Homework and attendance: Homework will be due in lecture every Thursday, even on exam days, except for the first week of class. That's 14 assignments. See hw.html for the latest information. Late homework will not be accepted, even a few minutes after class is over, unless you are sick or have made prior arrangements with me. In other words, you must attend class!

    Each written homework will be graded on a 10-point scale. Some of those points will be for completing all of the problems. Some are for the accuracy of your solution to one or two selected problems. (Our grader is only working 5 hours/week.)

    You are encouraged to work homework in groups, and to come to Mark and me for help if you don't understand something. However, each person should turn in his own homework, and you should only submit what you have calculated yourself (possibly with help). Working together is fine; mindless copying is not; respecting the difference is a matter of honor and integrity. At the end of the semester I will drop one homework score, and average the rest.

  • Exams: There will be three in-class midterm exams, on Tuesday February 14, Thursday March 22 (a week before drop day) and Thursday April 12, plus a comprehensive final exam on Thursday afternoon, May 10, 2-5. These exams will all be closed book and calculators will not be allowed. However, each student will be allowed to bring a single letter-sized ``crib sheet'' (2-sided) to each midterm, and 2 crib sheets to the final. These notes must be HANDWRITTEN ORIGINALS - NO XEROXING ALLOWED.
  • Grading: Each midterm counts 20%. The final exam counts 40%. The homework, taken together, counts 20%. At the end of the term I will drop your lowest 20%. (For instance, if your worst score is a midterm, then that midterm gets dropped, while if your worst score is the final, then the final only counts 20%.) If you miss a midterm exam because of illness, then that's the grade that gets dropped. I usually give hard exams, so it's a good idea to rack up points on the homework.

    The final grade distribution is neither a straight scale nor a fixed curve. The cutoffs will be set at the end of the semester, based on overall class performance, with the following qualitative standard for the major grades (with obvious adjustments for plusses and minuses):
  • An "A" means that you understand the ideas of the course well enough that you can use them even in unusual settings.
  • A "B" means that you can do the standard problems we have done during the semester, but can't do anything new.
  • A "C" means that you understand the techniques of the class well enough to handle a class (such as M346) that has M340L as a prerequisite.
  • A "D" means that you have learned a substantial amount, but that you are not prepared to take that successor course.
  • An "F" means that you have failed to grasp the essential concepts of the course.

    Grading isn't an exact science, and all I'm going to do is adjust cutoffs. Nobody will leapfrog anybody else. If you have more points than your buddy, then your grade will be at least as good as your buddy's, no matter what my general impressions of the two of you are. Furthermore, a 90% average will guarantee you at least an A-, an 80% average a B-, and a 70% average a C-. Most of the time, my cutoffs are significantly more lenient than that.
  • Disabilities: The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. For more information, contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 471-6259, 471-4641 TTY
  • Drop dates: The deadline for dropping the class without the course appearing on your transcript is February 1. After that date, a "Q" will appear on your record. The deadline for dropping, period, is April 2.
  • Religious Holidays: I have tried to schedule major class events to avoid major religious holidays, and I apologize if I overlooked something. If you expect to miss class or miss an assignment because of a religious holiday, please let me know 14 days in advance, and you will be given the opportunity to make up the missed work within a reasonable time.
  • Honor Code: The core values of The University of Texas at Austin are learning, discovery, freedom, leadership, individual opportunity, and responsibility. Each member of the Universtiy is expected to uphold these values through integrity, honesty, trust, fairness, and respect toward peers and community.