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We eliminate one variable using row operations and solve for the other. Say that we wish to solve for x . If equation (2) is multiplied by the opposite of the coefficient of y in equation (1), equation (1) is multiplied by the coefficient of y in equation (2), and we add the two equations, the variable y will be eliminated.

b 2 a 1 x + b 2 b 1 y = b 2 c 1 Multiply  R 1  by  b 2 b 1 a 2 x b 1 b 2 y = b 1 c 2 Multiply  R 2  by b 1 ________________________________________________________   b 2 a 1 x b 1 a 2 x = b 2 c 1 b 1 c 2

Now, solve for x .

b 2 a 1 x b 1 a 2 x = b 2 c 1 b 1 c 2 x ( b 2 a 1 b 1 a 2 ) = b 2 c 1 b 1 c 2                         x = b 2 c 1 b 1 c 2 b 2 a 1 b 1 a 2 = [ c 1 b 1 c 2 b 2 ] [ a 1 b 1 a 2 b 2 ]

Similarly, to solve for y , we will eliminate x .

a 2 a 1 x + a 2 b 1 y = a 2 c 1 Multiply  R 1  by  a 2 a 1 a 2 x a 1 b 2 y = a 1 c 2 Multiply  R 2  by a 1 ________________________________________________________ a 2 b 1 y a 1 b 2 y = a 2 c 1 a 1 c 2

Solving for y gives

a 2 b 1 y a 1 b 2 y = a 2 c 1 a 1 c 2 y ( a 2 b 1 a 1 b 2 ) = a 2 c 1 a 1 c 2                          y = a 2 c 1 a 1 c 2 a 2 b 1 a 1 b 2 = a 1 c 2 a 2 c 1 a 1 b 2 a 2 b 1 = | a 1 c 1 a 2 c 2 | | a 1 b 1 a 2 b 2 |

Notice that the denominator for both x and y is the determinant of the coefficient matrix.

We can use these formulas to solve for x and y , but Cramer’s Rule also introduces new notation:

  • D : determinant of the coefficient matrix
  • D x : determinant of the numerator in the solution of x
    x = D x D
  • D y : determinant of the numerator in the solution of y
    y = D y D

The key to Cramer’s Rule is replacing the variable column of interest with the constant column and calculating the determinants. We can then express x and y as a quotient of two determinants.

Cramer’s rule for 2×2 systems

Cramer’s Rule    is a method that uses determinants to solve systems of equations that have the same number of equations as variables.

Consider a system of two linear equations in two variables.

a 1 x + b 1 y = c 1 a 2 x + b 2 y = c 2

The solution using Cramer’s Rule is given as

x = D x D = | c 1 b 1 c 2 b 2 | | a 1 b 1 a 2 b 2 | , D 0 ; y = D y D = | a 1 c 1 a 2 c 2 | | a 1 b 1 a 2 b 2 | , D 0.

If we are solving for x , the x column is replaced with the constant column. If we are solving for y , the y column is replaced with the constant column.

Using cramer’s rule to solve a 2 × 2 system

Solve the following 2   ×   2 system using Cramer’s Rule.

12 x + 3 y = 15    2 x 3 y = 13

Solve for x .

x = D x D = | 15 3 13 3 | | 12 3 2 3 | = 45 39 36 6 = 84 42 = 2

Solve for y .

y = D y D = | 12 15 2 13 | | 12 3 2 3 | = 156 30 36 6 = 126 42 = −3

The solution is ( 2 , −3 ) .

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Use Cramer’s Rule to solve the 2 × 2 system of equations.

   x + 2 y = −11 2 x + y = −13

( 3 , 7 )

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Evaluating the determinant of a 3 × 3 matrix

Finding the determinant of a 2×2 matrix is straightforward, but finding the determinant of a 3×3 matrix is more complicated. One method is to augment the 3×3 matrix with a repetition of the first two columns, giving a 3×5 matrix. Then we calculate the sum of the products of entries down each of the three diagonals (upper left to lower right), and subtract the products of entries up each of the three diagonals (lower left to upper right). This is more easily understood with a visual and an example.

Find the determinant    of the 3×3 matrix.

A = [ a 1 b 1 c 1 a 2 b 2 c 2 a 3 b 3 c 3 ]
  1. Augment A with the first two columns.
    det ( A ) = | a 1 b 1 c 1 a 2 b 2 c 2 a 3 b 3 c 3 | a 1 a 2 a 3 b 1 b 2 b 3 |
  2. From upper left to lower right: Multiply the entries down the first diagonal. Add the result to the product of entries down the second diagonal. Add this result to the product of the entries down the third diagonal.
  3. From lower left to upper right: Subtract the product of entries up the first diagonal. From this result subtract the product of entries up the second diagonal. From this result, subtract the product of entries up the third diagonal.

Questions & Answers

what is set?
Kelvin Reply
a colony of bacteria is growing exponentially doubling in size every 100 minutes. how much minutes will it take for the colony of bacteria to triple in size
Divya Reply
I got 300 minutes. is it right?
Patience
no. should be about 150 minutes.
Jason
It should be 158.5 minutes.
Mr
ok, thanks
Patience
100•3=300 300=50•2^x 6=2^x x=log_2(6) =2.5849625 so, 300=50•2^2.5849625 and, so, the # of bacteria will double every (100•2.5849625) = 258.49625 minutes
Thomas
what is the importance knowing the graph of circular functions?
Arabella Reply
can get some help basic precalculus
ismail Reply
What do you need help with?
Andrew
how to convert general to standard form with not perfect trinomial
Camalia Reply
can get some help inverse function
ismail
Rectangle coordinate
Asma Reply
how to find for x
Jhon Reply
it depends on the equation
Robert
yeah, it does. why do we attempt to gain all of them one side or the other?
Melissa
whats a domain
mike Reply
The domain of a function is the set of all input on which the function is defined. For example all real numbers are the Domain of any Polynomial function.
Spiro
Spiro; thanks for putting it out there like that, 😁
Melissa
foci (–7,–17) and (–7,17), the absolute value of the differenceof the distances of any point from the foci is 24.
Churlene Reply
difference between calculus and pre calculus?
Asma Reply
give me an example of a problem so that I can practice answering
Jenefa Reply
x³+y³+z³=42
Robert
dont forget the cube in each variable ;)
Robert
of she solves that, well ... then she has a lot of computational force under her command ....
Walter
what is a function?
CJ Reply
I want to learn about the law of exponent
Quera Reply
explain this
Hinderson Reply
what is functions?
Angel Reply
A mathematical relation such that every input has only one out.
Spiro
yes..it is a relationo of orders pairs of sets one or more input that leads to a exactly one output.
Mubita
Is a rule that assigns to each element X in a set A exactly one element, called F(x), in a set B.
RichieRich
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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