<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
In this section, you will:
  • Write the augmented matrix of a system of equations.
  • Write the system of equations from an augmented matrix.
  • Perform row operations on a matrix.
  • Solve a system of linear equations using matrices.
German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777–1855).

Carl Friedrich Gauss lived during the late 18th century and early 19th century, but he is still considered one of the most prolific mathematicians in history. His contributions to the science of mathematics and physics span fields such as algebra, number theory, analysis, differential geometry, astronomy, and optics, among others. His discoveries regarding matrix theory changed the way mathematicians have worked for the last two centuries.

We first encountered Gaussian elimination in Systems of Linear Equations: Two Variables . In this section, we will revisit this technique for solving systems, this time using matrices.

Writing the augmented matrix of a system of equations

A matrix    can serve as a device for representing and solving a system of equations. To express a system in matrix form, we extract the coefficients of the variables and the constants, and these become the entries of the matrix. We use a vertical line to separate the coefficient entries from the constants, essentially replacing the equal signs. When a system is written in this form, we call it an augmented matrix    .

For example, consider the following 2 × 2 system of equations.

3 x + 4 y = 7 4 x −2 y = 5

We can write this system as an augmented matrix:

[ 3 4 4 −2    |    7 5 ]

We can also write a matrix containing just the coefficients. This is called the coefficient matrix    .

[ 3 4 4 −2 ]

A three-by-three system of equations such as

3 x y z = 0          x + y = 5      2 x −3 z = 2

has a coefficient matrix

[ 3 −1 −1 1 1 0 2 0 −3 ]

and is represented by the augmented matrix

[ 3 −1 −1 1 1 0 2 0 −3    |    0 5 2 ]

Notice that the matrix is written so that the variables line up in their own columns: x -terms go in the first column, y -terms in the second column, and z -terms in the third column. It is very important that each equation is written in standard form a x + b y + c z = d so that the variables line up. When there is a missing variable term in an equation, the coefficient is 0.

Given a system of equations, write an augmented matrix.

  1. Write the coefficients of the x -terms as the numbers down the first column.
  2. Write the coefficients of the y -terms as the numbers down the second column.
  3. If there are z -terms, write the coefficients as the numbers down the third column.
  4. Draw a vertical line and write the constants to the right of the line.

Writing the augmented matrix for a system of equations

Write the augmented matrix for the given system of equations.

    x + 2 y z = 3   2 x y + 2 z = 6    x 3 y + 3 z = 4

The augmented matrix displays the coefficients of the variables, and an additional column for the constants.

[ 1 2 −1 2 −1 2 1 −3 3    |    3 6 4 ]
Got questions? Get instant answers now!
Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Write the augmented matrix of the given system of equations.

4 x −3 y = 11 3 x + 2 y = 4

[ 4 −3 3 2 | 11 4 ]

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Writing a system of equations from an augmented matrix

We can use augmented matrices to help us solve systems of equations because they simplify operations when the systems are not encumbered by the variables. However, it is important to understand how to move back and forth between formats in order to make finding solutions smoother and more intuitive. Here, we will use the information in an augmented matrix to write the system of equations in standard form.

Questions & Answers

Need help solving this problem (2/7)^-2
Simone Reply
what is the coefficient of -4×
Mehri Reply
the operation * is x * y =x + y/ 1+(x × y) show if the operation is commutative if x × y is not equal to -1
Alfred Reply
An investment account was opened with an initial deposit of $9,600 and earns 7.4% interest, compounded continuously. How much will the account be worth after 15 years?
Kala Reply
lim x to infinity e^1-e^-1/log(1+x)
given eccentricity and a point find the equiation
Moses Reply
12, 17, 22.... 25th term
Alexandra Reply
12, 17, 22.... 25th term
College algebra is really hard?
Shirleen Reply
Absolutely, for me. My problems with math started in First grade...involving a nun Sister Anastasia, bad vision, talking & getting expelled from Catholic school. When it comes to math I just can't focus and all I can hear is our family silverware banging and clanging on the pink Formica table.
I'm 13 and I understand it great
I am 1 year old but I can do it! 1+1=2 proof very hard for me though.
Not really they are just easy concepts which can be understood if you have great basics. I am 14 I understood them easily.
find the 15th term of the geometric sequince whose first is 18 and last term of 387
Jerwin Reply
I know this work
The given of f(x=x-2. then what is the value of this f(3) 5f(x+1)
virgelyn Reply
hmm well what is the answer
If f(x) = x-2 then, f(3) when 5f(x+1) 5((3-2)+1) 5(1+1) 5(2) 10
how do they get the third part x = (32)5/4
kinnecy Reply
make 5/4 into a mixed number, make that a decimal, and then multiply 32 by the decimal 5/4 turns out to be
can someone help me with some logarithmic and exponential equations.
Jeffrey Reply
sure. what is your question?
okay, so you have 6 raised to the power of 2. what is that part of your answer
I don't understand what the A with approx sign and the boxed x mean
it think it's written 20/(X-6)^2 so it's 20 divided by X-6 squared
I'm not sure why it wrote it the other way
I got X =-6
ok. so take the square root of both sides, now you have plus or minus the square root of 20= x-6
oops. ignore that.
so you not have an equal sign anywhere in the original equation?
is it a question of log
I rally confuse this number And equations too I need exactly help
But this is not salma it's Faiza live in lousvile Ky I garbage this so I am going collage with JCTC that the of the collage thank you my friends
Commplementary angles
Idrissa Reply
im all ears I need to learn
right! what he said ⤴⤴⤴
greetings from Iran
salut. from Algeria
what is a good calculator for all algebra; would a Casio fx 260 work with all algebra equations? please name the cheapest, thanks.
Kevin Reply
a perfect square v²+2v+_
Dearan Reply
Practice Key Terms 7

Get the best College algebra course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, College algebra. OpenStax CNX. Feb 06, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11759/1.3
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'College algebra' conversation and receive update notifications?