Matrix Algebra is algebra that covers the theory of using and manipulating matrices (plural for matrix.) A matrix is a grouping of sorts, usually into a grid of rows and columns. If you think of how spreadsheets look, this is also how matrices look!
Here is an example of a 3x3 matrix:
The matrix elements are sometimes referred to as they are numbered above, but just as often are referred to their row/column position. For example, the 0 element above is at row 0, column 0, making it (0,0). Note: When dealing with matrices, depending on the text, they may start at 0 or at 1. Check with your teacher or textbook for details. Likewise, the element having a 7 in row 2 and column1 (assuming we start counting at 0), making the element at (2,1).
Since there are a total of 3 rows and 3 columns, the matrix is said to be a 3x3 matrix. Matrices, however, can come in any size, and may even be uneven, such as a 4 row, 5 column matrix being a 4x5 matrix. A matrix with the same number of rows and columns is called a square matrix.
There is a lot to be said about dealing with matrices, and we will be covering most of the basics. Matrix algebra is extremely important in computer science, especially when dealing with 3D space, as a matrix is manipulated to create movement, scaling, and other transformations!
Find another math lesson at the Math Lesson and Tutorial Center!
