AMATH 352 A Wi 20: Applied Linear Algebra And Numerical Analysis

AMATH 352 A Wi 20: Applied Linear Algebra And Numerical Analysis

Welcome to AMATH 352!

Updated End of Quarter Agenda:


Earn 2 Bonus Points Here*:

*Provided the course gets an 80% response rate.

Instructor:            Ryan Creedon

Pronoun:               He/Him


Office Hours:      T 11:00am - 1:00pm, Th 9:00 - 10:30am     

Location:                Lewis Hall 128


TA:                            Yulin Hong 

Prounoun:           She/Her


Office Hours:   W 4:00 - 5:00pm, F 10:00am - 12:30pm

Location:             Lewis Hall 128


***The Course Goals have been updated: course_goals_352_v2.pdf. ***

Course Description

AMATH 352 is an introduction to matrix theory and its applications to various scientific and engineering disciplines. Broadly speaking, students will gain familiarity with matrices as well as proficiency over different techniques to factorize them, both by hand and using MATLAB, to solve a variety of problems in science and engineering. A complete description of student outcomes can be found in the Course Goals handout.

The course revolves around 5 units of study:

  • Introduction to Matrices and MATLAB
  • The LU and PLU Factorizations
  • The QR Factorization
  • The Spectral Decomposition
  • The Singular Value Decomposition

Corresponding roughly to these units are 4 in-class quizzes, 9 weekly homework assignments, and 1 (non-cumulative) take-home quiz/final reflection at the end of the quarter. There will be no exams in this class. In addition to homeworks and quizzes, it is expected that students participate in various in-class activities. For more about student assessment and feedback, see Grading and In-Class Participation.

Course Prerequisites

The student should have completed the standard calculus sequence (MATH 124-126). From these courses, students are expected to be familiar with the following:

  • Manipulate algebraic expressions and equations that involve fractions, radicals, exponents, logarithms, and trigonometric functions.
  • Compute derivatives of common functions using the rules of differentiation.
  • Integrate common functions using u-substitution or integration by parts.
  • Use sigma notation for finite and infinite series.

It is helpful if students have had coding experience in MATLAB (e.g. AMATH 300), although this is not required. 

Course Materials

Required Textbook

The required textbook for this course is the following: 

Applied Linear Algebra, Peter J. Olver & Chehrzad Shakiban, Springer Undergraduate Texts in Mathematics, 2006,  Vol 2. 

The textbook can be found free online when connected to UW wifi. (Click link above.) A physical copy of the textbook is also available at the Mathematics Research Library

Some homework exercises will be selected from this book, so please have a copy ready before the first homework. Here is the solution manual for the homework exercises (use it wisely): applied_linear_algebra_soln.pdf.

Other useful textbooks for the interested student include the following:

The first four of these textbooks may be accessed freely online.

Lecture Notes

I will also provide copies of my lecture notes, should you miss class and need a reference for self-study. We will not always follow the course textbook linearly nor will we cover all the material from it, so it is worthwhile to refer to my notes periodically to see where we are with the material. These lecture notes can be found under the course Modules.


Certain components of the homeworks in this class will require programming in MATLAB, so you must obtain access to either MATLAB or Octave (a free alternative).

  • You may purchase a student copy of MATLAB here. (The $50 unbundled version will be sufficient for this class, but the $100 version has other useful packages.)
  • Alternatively, you may obtain a $35 MATLAB license through the UW here. Note that these licenses will expire 6/30/2020.
  • MATLAB is also available at several labs on campus, including the ICL (CMU B027). Remote access is available through the Mechanical Engineering department.
  • You may also download Octave, an open-source MATLAB-like program. We will, however, not be available to provide support for this.

For those who would like a head start or some support learning MATLAB, see the following links:


Certain homework assignments will require programming in MATLAB. Scorelator is where you will submit your code. Every student must have a Scorelator account set up by the end of the first week of classes. Instructions on how to begin using Scorelator can be found here:

I recommend using Firefox or Internet Explorer when submitting code to Scorelator. (Chrome and others sometimes do not work.)

Course Goals

Course goals are divided between course component skills and holistic course goals. The former is a list of skills, broken down unit by unit, that will be emphasized on homeworks and that students must know for satisfactory completion of in-class quizzes. (I will be very specific about which skills will be tested on an upcoming quiz, so there should be no surprises!) The latter is a smaller list of skills that provides major takeaways from the class, even if students forget specific material. These skills will be developed through thoughtful reflections built into in-class activities, homework assignments, and quizzes. The official list of course component skills and holistic course goals can be found here: course_goals_352_v2.pdf.


Assignments will be graded based on the following point system:



Homework 0

10 pts.

Homework 1-8

20  x 8 pts.

Quiz 1-4

25 x 4 pts.

Quiz Reflections

5 x 4 pts.

Take-Home Quiz/Final Reflection

60 pts.

Total Points

350 pts.

Final grades will be out of 350 points and will be tentatively assigned as follows:

Total Points

Final Grade

345 or higher






































174 or lower


If your final grades have half points, I will always round up. I reserve the right to adjust grades at the end of the course in your favor, meaning that the above is the most difficult grading scale possible in this course. Rest assured that your final grade will be at least what is displayed above, if not higher. There will be opportunities to earn a total of 10 bonus points, 1 bonus point per Homework 1-8 assignment written in LaTeX and 2 bonus point for writing the take-home quiz/final reflection in LaTeX.


Presentation and Submission

Each homework that you submit should have a header containing your name, student number, course, and the homework number. Homework should be readable and organized: something that you are proud to submit. (See the Homework Guidelines handout for tips on writing clear, organized homework.) Up to two points may be deducted for homework that is illegible and/or poorly organized.

Students are encouraged to type homework solutions, and 1 bonus point per homework will be awarded to students who use LaTeX, a gentle introduction of which can be found here. If students are not planning to type homeworks, I ask that homeworks be scanned. (I will not accept physical copies.) I recommend the app CamScanner if access to a scanner in the library is limited. Homework will be assigned after class Friday and will be due to Canvas the following Friday at 11:59pm. There is a 10 minute grace period with exception of Homework 0. Homeworks must be in .pdf format.

Homework 0

Homework 0 serves a dual purpose: (1) to get to know you and (2) to get you thinking about your prior knowledge and experiences in mathematics. Admittedly, there is no heavy mathematics in this assignment, but students are expected to provide thoughtful answers on this homework, as questions on this assignment will reappear on the final take-home quiz/reflection for students to compare and re-evaluate. Homework 0 is assigned on the first day of class and is due Friday, January 10 at 11:50pm to Canvas. Should students join the class later than the first week, this assignment can be turned in late. This assignment is worth 10 points, and grades will be based on thoughtful completion of the assignment.

Homework 1-8

These assignments are each worth 20 points: 5 points for thoughtful completion of the assignment, and 15 points for accuracy of a chosen few problems.

  • Thoughtful completion means that students show their work for each problem, provide complete sentences to reflection questions, and explain their muddiest point if stuck on a problem. The 5 points attributed to thoughtful completion scales down 1 point for each problem not thoughtfully attempted.
  • To assess your accuracy, the grader will select 2 problems from the component skills practice and 1 multi-step problem. The 2 component skills will be worth 5 points each and are graded according to the rubric below. The 1 multi-step problem is worth 5 points. How these 5 points are distributed across the steps of the problem is at the discretion of the grader, but general mistakes and their point values will be addressed after the homework returns to you.
    • 5/5: Solution is completely correct and work is shown towards solution.
    • 4/5: Solution has one minor calculation error and work is shown towards solution.
    • 2/5: Solution has two or more errors and/or solution is completely correct but has no work shown.
    • 1/5: Solution misses the point of the problem; work is scattered and not relevant to the problem.
    • 0/5: No attempt is made to solve the problem. 

As mentioned before, homeworks that are illegible and/or poorly organized will be deducted up to 2 points. Conversely, if students use LaTeX to type their homeworks, 1 bonus point will be added to the assignment. Homeworks should be graded and returned to you by the Tuesday following the due date; this is to help you study for upcoming quizzes. Should you have any disputes about grading of your homework, please come to me, not the grader or TA.


You are encouraged to discuss homework questions with other students, especially during office hours or on the Canvas discussion board, but please write your own homework solutions. If you work with other students on the homework, please acknowledge them in your work. Exercise academic integrity by citing your sources!

Late Homework Policy

You may turn in one homework assignment as late as you would like, up to 11:59pm on the Friday of the last day of class (3/13). Please email me when you submit a late homework, so I can inform the grader to check your work. Note that if you joined the course after the first week, you may submit Homework 0 as well as another assignment of your choosing late. Any subsequent late homeworks will be awarded 0 points. Exceptions are permissible only for documented school functions or documented illness/injury.


In-Class Quizzes

There will be 4 in-class quizzes:

  • Quiz 1:      Wednesday, January 22
  • Quiz 2:      Wednesday, February 5
  • Quiz 3:      Wednesday, February 19
  • Quiz 4:      Wednesday, March 11

Roughly speaking, quizzes will cover material from the previous two/three homework assignments (corresponding roughly to each unit of study), so they are not cummulative. A typical quiz will consist of 2 component skills questions, worth 5 points each, and 1 multi-step problem, worth 15 points, for a total of 25 points. Quizzes are graded completely on partial credit; common mistakes and their point value will be addressed after the quiz returns to you. On the Friday prior to a quiz, I will specify precisely which component skills to study. You will have the entire class time to complete the quiz. Quizzes should be returned to you by the following class.

Quiz Reflections

As a means both to discuss areas in need of improvement and to develop positive growth mindset in mathematics, I will require that you complete quiz reflections. These will be brief questionares, much like the reflections on the homework, that students can take directly in Canvas. Reflections are due at 11:59pm the day of the quiz. Thoughtful completion of the quiz reflection earns 5 points.

Quiz Retakes

We all have bad days, and sometimes a quiz might not go as expected. Therefore, you may choose to retake one quiz. The retake quiz will be very similar to the original quiz, but not identical. Retakes will occur during the final exam time slot, TBD. Choosing to retake a quiz means you will forfeit your previous quiz grade.

Take-Home Quiz/Final Reflection

This is the grand finale of the course. The quiz section of this assignment will address component skills and multi-step problems on the previous two homeworks (as like in-class quizzes) as well as material in the last weeks of class for which no homework had previously been assigned. This portion of the assignment will be worth a total of 50 points, to be graded based on partial credit. The remaining 10 points of the assignment will be earned by thoughtful completion of a final course reflection and revisit to Homework 0 questions. The take-home quiz will be assigned on the penultimate Friday of class (3/6) and due at 11:59pm the day of the scheduled final exam,  Thursday, March 19. Typing this assignment in LaTeX earns 2 bonus points.

As with homeworks, I expect you to cite your sources if you collaborate with other students. Failure to do so could result in violation of University of Washington's academic integrity policies.

Academic Integrity

Students must adhere to University of Washington's academic integrity policies, outlined here. Violations will be reported to the appropriate Dean's Representative for Academic Misconduct through the Community Standards and Student Conduct (CSSC) webservice. The instructor reserves the right to assign a failing grade for an assignment or for the whole course depending on the severity of student conduct violations.

In-Class Participation

Though lectures remain an important part of class time, I will also be incorporating some active learning activities. Typically, these activities will consist of Poll Everywhere questions or think-pair-shares. Participating in these activities will not only provide important feedback for students (and the instructor), but also allow students to engage with and learn from each other, an important skill to know before leaving college. 

Though I do not grade students on participation, I expect that they participate. I also expect students to respect each other and to uphold the classroom standards that they write together for Homework 0. I do not expect everyone to share their answers with the class, but I may ask for permission to present your answer during classroom discussion.

Students with Disabilities

In compliance with University of Washington's policies on equal access, I am available to discuss appropriate academic accommodations that you may require as a student with a disability. Request for academic accommodations need to be made during the first week of the quarter, except for unusual circumstances, so arrangements can be made. Students are encouraged to register with the Disability Services Office (DSO) for disability verification and for determination of reasonable academic accommodations. For more, visit the DSO website.

Religious Accommodation Policy

Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Faculty Syllabus Guidelines and Resources. Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form available at


Course Summary:

Date Details Due