Hi There. This is my first post. Or: Linear Algebra, bra?

· 2017/10/01 · 2 minute read

I need a place to document my various ideas as well as the potential results of those ideas.

I also need a place where I can track my progress; that is, progress on a project I may be working on; or progress on material I’m busy studying.

I’ll try document such things here. I figure, this way, if I commit to something, there will be some evidence of that commitment… If I see evidence of it I can say: “Oh yeah, at some point I actually intended to do that!” and it’ll be harder for me to back out of that commitment. So really, I’m hoping that this blog helps keep me on track with my goals.

Currently, I am busy with MIT’s 18.06 course on linear algebra. It’s an incredible course presented by Gilbert Strang; a man whose passion for mathematics is infectious. As an undergraduate student, I went through the motions of linear algebra mechanically, in order to obtain marks and thus progress to the next year of study. I never really internalized the concepts. This is something which hindered me later in my academic career. I’m interested in machine learning and, as with many subjects, linear algebra is a cornerstone. I chose 18.06 because it doesn’t spend too much time on proving theorems; rather it aims to convey intuition and understanding by using examples and exposition. Not that proving can’t do that, just that it can be difficult to link up those abstract concepts with concrete applications. Maybe I just like Prof Strang’s style of teaching. Either way, I’ve commited to 18.06 and I’ve gone through about 60% of the material. Right now I’m on the part of the course which deals with Eigenvalues and Eigenvectors. For the next while, each post will contain something which I find interesting or particularly illuminating about the section of linear algebra I’m busy learning. It could be an example, or a concept. Either way, it’ll come from the section I’m busy with.

My original aim was to complete this course by the end of the 2017 year. But, I don’t think I’ll manage to. I’m travelling to the US for two weeks at the end of October, and to Cape Town at the end of December. I won’t get much done during those periods. I’ll give myself til’ the end of January 2018 to finish up. There it is. I said it. Now there is proof that I said it.

Yikes.