Course Contract for Math 4144 - Linear Algebra II

Prerequisites: MATH 3144. This course involves mathematical proofs; it is recommended that students have experience with mathematical proofs.


Instructor: Eric de Sturler (click to find out what I do the rest of the time)

Office: McBryde 544
Phone: (540) 231-5279
Email :

Class Meeting Time: Tuesday/Thursday 8:00am - 9:15pm, McBryde 210.

Office Hours: McBryde 544, (tentative) Monday 1:00pm – 2:30pm, Thursday 2:00pm – 4:00pm, and by appointment (email).

General Description:  Math 4144 covers eigendecomposition, invariant subspaces and Jordan forms, inner products spaces and normed spaces, symmetric/Hermitian/positive definite/normal matrices, singular value decomposition, extremal problems/optimization, matrix analysis and perturbation theory, stochastic matrices and Perron-Frobenius theory, and applications of the various topics.

Text: Linear Algebra in Action, Harry Dym, American Mathematical Society, 2013, 2nd edition.

Software: Matlab. You are required to have access to Matlab. Matlab can be bought through the university for a modest fee ($25 + tax). See

Grade: Grades will be determined by homework, two in-class exams, and the final exam. The homework counts for 25%, and each exam counts for 25%. An average grade of 90% or better will guarantee at least an A, 80% at least a B, 70% at least a C, and 60% at least a D. Make-up exams will be allowed under extenuating circumstances only and will require a letter from the Dean of Students office or a physician.

Assignments: All homework assignments (roughly 8 per semester) will be posted on the course Canvas page. The time and date that the assignment is due will be posted in the Assignments section.  Late assignments are not accepted except under extenuating circumstances, requiring a letter from the Dean of Students office (preferred) or doctor’s note or with prior permission of the instructor for valid (at the discretion of the instructor) reasons. In the homework, there may be some computational work that must be done using MATLAB. I will give you ample instructions and examples of the few commands necessary for the linear algebra work. You are encouraged to work in groups of 2 or 3 students, changing groups is allowed. The lowest homework score will be dropped. All assignments submitted shall be considered "graded work” and all aspects of your coursework are covered by the Honor Code (see below). Students are encouraged to check carefully the definitions of cheating, plagiarism, falsification, fabrication, multiple submission, and complicity.

Special Needs: Any student with special needs or disabilities should schedule an appointment in the first week of classes.

Classroom behavior: From Section V.e.-Class Attendance and Classroom Conduct of the Virginia Tech Student Life Policy: The professor has the authority to determine acceptable classroom conduct for his or her students as long as those decisions do not infringe on the students' rights. Disruptive classroom conduct may be considered disorderly conduct; i.e., behavior that disrupts or interferes with the orderly functioning of the university, disturbs the peace, or interferes with the performance of the duties of university personnel.

Honor System: The Undergraduate Honor Code pledge that each member of the university community agrees to abide by states:

“As a Hokie, I will conduct myself with honor and integrity at all times. I will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor will I accept the actions of those who do.”

Students enrolled in this course are responsible for abiding by the Honor Code. A student who has doubts about how the Honor Code applies to any assignment is responsible for obtaining specific guidance from the course instructor before submitting the assignment for evaluation. Ignorance of the rules does not exclude any member of the University community from the requirements and expectations of the Honor Code.

For additional information about the Honor Code, please visit: