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   a x = b    ( 1 a ) a x = ( 1 a ) b ( a −1     ) a x = ( a −1 ) b [ ( a −1 ) a ] x = ( a −1 ) b              1 x = ( a −1 ) b                x = ( a −1 ) b

The only difference between a solving a linear equation and a system of equations written in matrix form is that finding the inverse of a matrix is more complicated, and matrix multiplication is a longer process. However, the goal is the same—to isolate the variable.

We will investigate this idea in detail, but it is helpful to begin with a 2 × 2 system and then move on to a 3 × 3 system.

Solving a system of equations using the inverse of a matrix

Given a system of equations, write the coefficient matrix A , the variable matrix X , and the constant matrix B . Then

A X = B

Multiply both sides by the inverse of A to obtain the solution.

( A −1 ) A X = ( A −1 ) B [ ( A −1 ) A ] X = ( A −1 ) B I X = ( A −1 ) B X = ( A −1 ) B

If the coefficient matrix does not have an inverse, does that mean the system has no solution?

No, if the coefficient matrix is not invertible, the system could be inconsistent and have no solution, or be dependent and have infinitely many solutions.

Solving a 2 × 2 system using the inverse of a matrix

Solve the given system of equations using the inverse of a matrix.

3 x + 8 y = 5 4 x + 11 y = 7

Write the system in terms of a coefficient matrix, a variable matrix, and a constant matrix.

A = [ 3 8 4 11 ] , X = [ x y ] , B = [ 5 7 ]

Then

[ 3 8 4 11 ]     [ x y ] = [ 5 7 ]

First, we need to calculate A −1 . Using the formula to calculate the inverse of a 2 by 2 matrix, we have:

A −1 = 1 a d b c [ d b c a ]        = 1 3 ( 11 ) −8 ( 4 ) [ 11 −8 −4 3 ]        = 1 1 [ 11 −8 −4 3 ]

So,

A −1 = [ 11 −8 −4 3 ]

Now we are ready to solve. Multiply both sides of the equation by A −1 .

( A −1 ) A X = ( A −1 ) B [ 11 −8 −4 3 ]     [ 3 8 4 11 ]     [ x y ] = [ 11 −8 −4 3 ]     [ 5 7 ] [ 1 0 0 1 ]     [ x y ] = [ 11 ( 5 ) + ( −8 ) 7 −4 ( 5 ) + 3 ( 7 ) ] [ x y ] = [ −1 1 ]

The solution is ( −1 , 1 ) .

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Can we solve for X by finding the product B A −1 ?

No, recall that matrix multiplication is not commutative, so A −1 B B A −1 . Consider our steps for solving the matrix equation.

( A −1 ) A X = ( A −1 ) B [ ( A −1 ) A ] X = ( A −1 ) B I X = ( A −1 ) B X = ( A −1 ) B

Notice in the first step we multiplied both sides of the equation by A −1 , but the A −1 was to the left of A on the left side and to the left of B on the right side. Because matrix multiplication is not commutative, order matters.

Solving a 3 × 3 system using the inverse of a matrix

Solve the following system using the inverse of a matrix.

5 x + 15 y + 56 z = 35 −4 x −11 y −41 z = −26 x −3 y −11 z = −7

Write the equation A X = B .

[ 5 15 56 −4 −11 −41 −1 −3 −11 ]     [ x y z ] = [ 35 −26 −7 ]

First, we will find the inverse of A by augmenting with the identity.

[ 5 15 56 −4 −11 −41 −1 −3 −11 | 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 ]

Multiply row 1 by 1 5 .

[ 1 3 56 5 −4 −11 −41 −1 −3 −11 | 1 5 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 ]

Multiply row 1 by 4 and add to row 2.

[ 1 3 56 5 0 1 19 5 −1 −3 −11 | 1 5 0 0 4 5 1 0 0 0 1 ]

Add row 1 to row 3.

[ 1 3 56 5 0 1 19 5 0 0 1 5 | 1 5 0 0 4 5 1 0 1 5 0 1 ]

Multiply row 2 by −3 and add to row 1.

[ 1 0 1 5 0 1 19 5 0 0 1 5 | 11 5 −3 0 4 5 1 0 1 5 0 1 ]

Multiply row 3 by 5.

[ 1 0 1 5 0 1 19 5 0 0 1 | 11 5 −3 0 4 5 1 0 1 0 5 ]

Multiply row 3 by 1 5 and add to row 1.

[ 1 0 0 0 1 19 5 0 0 1 | −2 −3 1 4 5 1 0 1 0 5 ]

Multiply row 3 by 19 5 and add to row 2.

[ 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 | −2 −3 1 −3 1 −19 1 0 5 ]

So,

A −1 = [ −2 −3 1 −3 1 −19 1 0 5 ]

Multiply both sides of the equation by A −1 . We want A −1 A X = A −1 B :

[ −2 −3 1 −3 1 −19 1 0 5 ]     [ 5 15 56 −4 −11 −41 −1 −3 −11 ]     [ x y z ] = [ −2 −3 1 −3 1 −19 1 0 5 ]     [ 35 −26 −7 ]

Thus,

A −1 B = [ −70 + 78 −7 −105 −26 + 133 35 + 0 −35 ] = [ 1 2 0 ]

The solution is ( 1 , 2 , 0 ) .

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Questions & Answers

can you not take the square root of a negative number
Sharon Reply
Suppose P= {-3,1,3} Q={-3,-2-1} and R= {-2,2,3}.what is the intersection
Elaine Reply
can I get some pretty basic questions
Ama Reply
In what way does set notation relate to function notation
Ama
is precalculus needed to take caculus
Amara Reply
It depends on what you already know. Just test yourself with some precalculus questions. If you find them easy, you're good to go.
Spiro
the solution doesn't seem right for this problem
Mars Reply
what is the domain of f(x)=x-4/x^2-2x-15 then
Conney Reply
x is different from -5&3
Seid
All real x except 5 and - 3
Spiro
how to prroved cos⁴x-sin⁴x= cos²x-sin²x are equal
jeric Reply
Don't think that you can.
Elliott
how do you provided cos⁴x-sin⁴x = cos²x-sin²x are equal
jeric Reply
What are the question marks for?
Elliott
Someone should please solve it for me Add 2over ×+3 +y-4 over 5 simplify (×+a)with square root of two -×root 2 all over a multiply 1over ×-y{(×-y)(×+y)} over ×y
Abena Reply
For the first question, I got (3y-2)/15 Second one, I got Root 2 Third one, I got 1/(y to the fourth power) I dont if it's right cause I can barely understand the question.
Is under distribute property, inverse function, algebra and addition and multiplication function; so is a combined question
Abena
find the equation of the line if m=3, and b=-2
Ashley Reply
graph the following linear equation using intercepts method. 2x+y=4
Ashley
how
Wargod
what?
John
ok, one moment
UriEl
how do I post your graph for you?
UriEl
it won't let me send an image?
UriEl
also for the first one... y=mx+b so.... y=3x-2
UriEl
y=mx+b you were already given the 'm' and 'b'. so.. y=3x-2
Tommy
Please were did you get y=mx+b from
Abena
y=mx+b is the formula of a straight line. where m = the slope & b = where the line crosses the y-axis. In this case, being that the "m" and "b", are given, all you have to do is plug them into the formula to complete the equation.
Tommy
thanks Tommy
Nimo
0=3x-2 2=3x x=3/2 then . y=3/2X-2 I think
Given
co ordinates for x x=0,(-2,0) x=1,(1,1) x=2,(2,4)
neil
"7"has an open circle and "10"has a filled in circle who can I have a set builder notation
Fiston Reply
Where do the rays point?
Spiro
x=-b+_Гb2-(4ac) ______________ 2a
Ahlicia Reply
I've run into this: x = r*cos(angle1 + angle2) Which expands to: x = r(cos(angle1)*cos(angle2) - sin(angle1)*sin(angle2)) The r value confuses me here, because distributing it makes: (r*cos(angle2))(cos(angle1) - (r*sin(angle2))(sin(angle1)) How does this make sense? Why does the r distribute once
Carlos Reply
so good
abdikarin
this is an identity when 2 adding two angles within a cosine. it's called the cosine sum formula. there is also a different formula when cosine has an angle minus another angle it's called the sum and difference formulas and they are under any list of trig identities
Brad
strategies to form the general term
carlmark
consider r(a+b) = ra + rb. The a and b are the trig identity.
Mike
How can you tell what type of parent function a graph is ?
Mary Reply
generally by how the graph looks and understanding what the base parent functions look like and perform on a graph
William
if you have a graphed line, you can have an idea by how the directions of the line turns, i.e. negative, positive, zero
William
y=x will obviously be a straight line with a zero slope
William
y=x^2 will have a parabolic line opening to positive infinity on both sides of the y axis vice versa with y=-x^2 you'll have both ends of the parabolic line pointing downward heading to negative infinity on both sides of the y axis
William
y=x will be a straight line, but it will have a slope of one. Remember, if y=1 then x=1, so for every unit you rise you move over positively one unit. To get a straight line with a slope of 0, set y=1 or any integer.
Aaron
yes, correction on my end, I meant slope of 1 instead of slope of 0
William
what is f(x)=
Karim Reply
I don't understand
Joe
Typically a function 'f' will take 'x' as input, and produce 'y' as output. As 'f(x)=y'. According to Google, "The range of a function is the complete set of all possible resulting values of the dependent variable (y, usually), after we have substituted the domain."
Thomas
Sorry, I don't know where the "Â"s came from. They shouldn't be there. Just ignore them. :-)
Thomas
GREAT ANSWER THOUGH!!!
Darius
Thanks.
Thomas
Â
Thomas
It is the  that should not be there. It doesn't seem to show if encloses in quotation marks. "Â" or 'Â' ... Â
Thomas
Now it shows, go figure?
Thomas
Practice Key Terms 2

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Source:  OpenStax, Precalculus. OpenStax CNX. Jan 19, 2016 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11667/1.6
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