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D. Matrix Algebra > Matrix Terminology

Matrix Terminology

We describe a matrix by its number of rows and columns. Figure D-1 displays a matrix that arranges a series of daily temperatures over a two-week period into two rows of seven columns each. This matrix is called a “two-by-seven” matrix. Matrices are enclosed in square brackets when written.

2 by 7 matrix of daily temperatures
Figure D-1. 2 by 7 matrix of daily temperatures

Here are some other terms that you may encounter when dealing with matrix operations: A square matrix is a matrix with the same number of rows as columns. A vector is a matrix with only one row, and a column vector is a matrix with only one column. The individual entries in a matrix are called entries, and the technical term for a plain number is a scalar. Now you can bring these sure-fire conversation stoppers to the next party you attend.


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