Math 1B03 Linear Algebra Information

Term 2 Winter 2005

Table of Contents


We will be using the Math 1B03 WebCT website for many purposes in this course. All students should log on to as soon as possible, and check out what is available there. To log in you need your MAC ID and your McMaster Modem/Printing/CIS Managed Lab Access/Proxy Services password. If you have problems logging on, you may go to for help.
Back to the top


Back to the top


The required text for the course is:    Linear Algebra with Applications, 4th edition, by W. Keith Nicholson, McGraw-Hill Ryerson.

NB: It is critical that you purchase the text with LILA (WARNING: the bookstore also sells the text without LILA...that's for another course!)  LILA is the interactive linear algebra package which you will need for self study and submission of homework.
Back to the top

Course objective

To learn the basic concepts, techniques and uses of linear algebra.
Back to the top

Course outline

Review of geometry and algebra of vectors, systems of linear equations, spanning sets and linear independence, matrices, basis and dimension, linear transformations, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, complex numbers, diagonalization, orthogonality and projections. During the term there will be applications to coding, electric circuits, population dynamics and other topics. We will cover most of the sections in chapters 1 through 5 of the text.
Back to the top

Lectures and tutorials

There will be three lectures and one tutorial per week. Tutorials provide an opportunity to ask questions in a smaller group and to work with other students in the course. They are an essential part of the course, and attendence is strongly encouraged.
Drop and Add for Tutorials: If you have not been assigned a tutorial, or need to change tutorials, then go online to:

Back to the top


Homework for credit will be done and submitted using the LILA system, which will be accessed through a folder called LILA found on the 1B03 WebCT homepage. To get everyone started, your first tutorial will be held in one of the computer labs. Check WebCT announcements for rooms! Be sure to have your LILA registration completed before that tutorial.

LILA assignments can be completed in your own time through the term; due dates are given in the Course Calendar. The problems on LILA are submitted and marked online. Any problem can be done as many times as you like until the deadline; only your best score will be retained.

We will also regularly recommend problems from the textbook to be done. It it important you do these conscientiously, since they are more similar to the possible test and exam problems you will face.
Back to the top


There will be three projects during the term. These will be due at 3:00 pm on the dates given in the Course Calendar. They should be handed in to the Math 1B03 course lockers on the basement level of Hamilton Hall. Each project will focus on an interesting application of linear algebra such as cryptography, population dynamics or game theory. They  will be introduced in class, and you will have time to work on them in tutorials. While we encourage you to work in small groups to exchange ideas, each student must submit their own individual work. Solutions will be posted in WebCT.
Back to the top


There will be one midterm exam on the evening of Monday, February 14th. Room information will be posted on WebCT. There will also be two quizzes, which will take place during your tutorial, in the week given in the Course Calendar.
Back to the top

Final exam

The final exam will be scheduled by the Registrar. Only the McMaster standard calculator Casio FX-991 is allowed. It is essential that you bring your McMaster ID to the final exam. By around mid February, you will find timetable information at: examination timetable
Back to the top


LILA assignments  10%
Projects                  15% (5% each)
Quizzes                  15% (7.5% each)
Midterm                 20%
Final exam             40%

Important note: The course evaluation is not negotiable, i.e. individual requests for alternative weightings will never be considered. Only excuses validated by the Dean's Office will be accepted for missing an exam or quiz. Back to the top

Senate policy statements

Academic dishonesty consists of misrepresentation by deception or by other fraudulent means and can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

Back to the top