Rethinking Linear Algebra


  • Rekha Thomas (University of Washington)


With the surge of interest in Data Science among undergraduates across the university, linear algebra is fast becoming one of the most sought after math courses, along with probability and optimization Are pure math departments ready for this? At the University of Washington, the introductory linear algebra course caters to over 2500 students each year. It used to be taught by a wide variety of instructors, in a wide variety of ways. In the last five years we undertook a massive overhaul of this course (which ends with eigenvalues) and created a follow-up course (that starts with eigenvalues and goes onto singular values), both aimed at non-majors. The introductory course is now coordinated, with a uniform philosophy and materials. The second course is attracting strong advanced undergraduates, and even some graduate students, from all over campus who are hungry to understand the math behind the algorithms they have learned in applied courses. In this talk, I will discuss these projects.

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Additional slide contributed by SamĀ 

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