Mathematics 110

Spring, 2014
TuTh 9:40-11AM, 105 Stanley Hall

Professor Kenneth A. Ribet
Telephone: 510 642 0648
Fax: (510) 642-8204
Office hours (885 Evans Hall)
photo of Ribet
taken on August 29, 2013 as part of the Cal photobooth project

Graduate student instructors

Shishir Agrawal
David Berlekamp
George Melvin
Daniel Sparks
Arthur Tilley

Catalog description

"Matrices, vector spaces, linear transformations, inner products, determinants. Eigenvectors. QR factorization. Quadratic forms and Rayleigh's principle. Jordan canonical form, applications. Linear functionals"


At Cal, we tend to use two textbooks for our Math 110 courses: Sheldon Axler's Linear Algebra Done Right (LADR) and Linear Algebra by Friedberg, Insel and Spence. Both are excellent.

This semester, we will be class-testing the brand new third edition of LADR. See the author's twitter feed for some background on the new edition, which is a complete re-write of the book that we have been using in previous semesters. The book will be available for download as a collection of .pdf files. For those who prefer paper to pixels, the book will be sold (starting January 21) as a black-and-white course reader for $25 + tax at Copy Central, 2576 Bancroft Way.

If you spot an error in LADR, check the list of known errors before contacting the author.

Axler's book was based partly on ideas from his article Down with Determinants!, which is fun to read.


Please do not plan travel on the dates of these exams. If you believe that you have a conflicting obligation because of an intercollegiate sport or other extracurricular activity, please read these guidelines immediately.

For each exam, you may bring in a single 2-sided 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper with your notes for the exam. The opportunity to create your page of notes will likely guide your review of the material for the exam.

For practice

I seem to have taught Math 110 five times before: Each course page should have links to problems and solutions for the exams in the course. Note that some midterms were 50 minutes long while others were 80 minutes long.


Course grades will be based on a composite numerical score that is intended to weight the course components roughly as follows: midterm exams 17% each, homework 20%, final exam 46%.

According to the College academic calendar, the last day to add or drop this course is Friday, February 21, i.e., the day after the first midterm. Please consult this calendar as well for the deadline to change your grading option to P/NP.

Incomplete grades will be assigned only to students for whom a documented medical, personal or family emergency precludes completion of the course. Students receiving such grades are required to have been doing work of passing quality up to the occurrence of the emergency.

You can find the composite grade distribution for this course from ScheduleBuilder. I checked and think that the grade distribution has been as follows: 36% A, 34% B, 21% C, 9% D/F. Note that many students who receive an F grade have effectively dropped the course after the add/drop deadline.

While visiting this site, you can check out my ninjacourses ratings.

You can read the student evaluations for this course now that it's over.


Assignments will be due in section on Wednesdays:
  1. January 29:
  2. February 5:
  3. February 12: §2.C, problems 3, 5, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17
  4. February 19: §3.A, problems 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15
  5. February 26: §3.B, problems 2 (see correction), 5, 6, 10, 14, 15, 19, 21, 26
  6. March 5:
  7. March 12:
  8. March 19:
  9. April 2:
  10. April 9:
  11. April 16:
  12. April 23:
  13. April 30: §7.B, problems 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14
  14. May 7 (RRR period):
Note that (fairly light) homework assignments will be due on February 19 and April 2, even though there's an exam the next day. The assignments in those cases will be partially in the nature of a review.

Each assignment will be worth 10 points. Your homework grade will be the sum of your twelve highest grades and half of your next-to-lowest grade. Accordingly, the maximum possible homework grade will be 125; we are "dropping" 1 1/2 assignments in computing your score.

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