About this book
LINEAR equations play an important part, not only in mathe matics itself, but also in many fields in which mathematics is used. Whether we deal with elastic deformations or electrical networks, the flutter of aeroplane wings or the estimation of errors by the method of least squares, at some stage in the cal culation we encounter a system of linear equations. In each case the problem of solving the equations is the same, and it is with the mathematical treatment of this question that this book is concerned. By meeting the problem in its pure state the reader will gain an insight which it is hoped will help him when he comes to apply it to his field of work. The actual pro cess of setting up the equations and of interpreting the solution is one which more properly belongs to that field, and in any case is a problem of a different nature altogether. So we need not concern ourselves with it here and are able to concentrate on the mathematical aspect of the situation. The most important tools for handling linear equations are vectors and matrices, and their basic properties are developed in separate chapters. The method by which the nature of the solution is described is one which leads immediately to a solu tion in practical cases, and it is a method frequently adopted when solving problems by mechanical or electronic computers.
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