University of Minnesota
Elementary Computational Linear Algebra

Syllabus, Spring 2019
CSci 2033: Elementary Computational Linear Algebra

Instructor: Dr. Carl Sturtivant

Lay, Lay & McDonald, Linear Algebra & its Applications, 5th Edition

Read this document very carefully, as it defines what is required to perform effectively in this class.

This class assumes no previous experience with linear algebra. Linear algebra bridges the abstract and the concrete and its uses pervade both mathematics and computer science. In this course you will be introduced to both practical applications and their connections to underlying abstractions.

Some exercises may need you to use GNU Octave to solve because hand computations would be very laborious: this is free software and you may download an installation for your computer, or use it on CSE machines. Nevertheless, this course covers how the relevant computations actually work, and you will need to be able to solve small instances by hand to establish your understanding of such.

Be sure to get sufficient practice to be able to survive the quizzes, and therefore the course.

It is essential for most students to read the relevant sections of the book as the course proceeds, and do a large number of the exercises pertaining to those sections, for typically
ten hours per week. This provides you with an opportunity to work in groups and get help of any kind. Attend your discussion section where you will be able to do this with help.

Course content approximately in temporal order:

Chapters 1 to 7 of the book, plus a few selected topics beyond the scope of the book


Evaluation: The following rules will be strictly enforced.

Evaluation will consist of quizzes (11), and a final examination. You must pass the final examination by attaining at least 50% of the available points on it. Persons who fail to do so will receive an F for the course. All quizzes and examinations are open book and open notes, but NO ELECTRONIC DEVICES. Do not schedule any absences during the course --- there are no make-up quizzes.

Quizzes are comprehensive --- they may have questions on any previously covered material, not just recently covered material. The final examination is also comprehensive.

Grading is absolute (i.e. not on a curve). The overall grade will be based upon: 5% for each quiz, and 37% for the final. In addition 8% of the course will be recorded for scholastic conduct. Students who do not violate the scholastic conduct rules (see below) will receive the full 8%. A minimum of 60% is necessary for an S or C- grade.

A student may experience a personal crisis that blocks attendance of a quiz unexpectedly. To accommodate this possibility, each student's lowest two scoring quizzes will be scored the average of the remaining quizzes at the end of the term, irrespective of why those grades are low or zero. This means that a student may miss two quizzes without penalty, but further missed quizzes will be scored zero without exception, so it is unwise to squander this defense against the unexpected.

Grading will be as follows: 95.0% or above yields an A, 90.0% an A-, 85% = B+, 80% = B, 75% = B-, 70% = C+, 65% = C, 60% = C-, 55% = D+, 50% = D, and less than 50% yields an F. Percentages are not rounded when using this scheme, because this would be tantamount to moving all of the grade boundaries down by 0.5%.

Grading is performed by the TAs. If you have a question about grading, address it to the TAs. Only if something wholely unreasonable has occurred will the instructor intervene. And this has not yet proved necessary. Furthermore, there is a limit of ten days from when a quiz is graded (whether you inspect the grading or not) for grading problems to be dealt with. After that period, such will not be considered. The sole exception to this rule is the final examination.

Incompletes (or make-up exams) will in general not be given. These options will be considered only when a provably serious family or personal emergency arises, proof is presented, and the student has already completed all but a small portion of the work. Any make-up exam or quiz may be an oral examination conducted by the instructor.

Scholastic conduct must be acceptable. Specifically, you must do your examinations yourself, on your own. READ THESE LINKED DOCUMENTS AS A PART OF THE SYLLABUS. The minimum penalty for an egregious violation of these rules is an F for the course. A lesser penalty may be given at the instructor's sole discretion if he deems the violation is not egregious. In all cases the student's conduct will be reported to OSCAI.