# Matrix Representations for Linear Transformations of the Vector Space of Polynomials

## Problem 71

Let $P_2(\R)$ be the vector space over $\R$ consisting of all polynomials with real coefficients of degree $2$ or less.

Let $B=\{1,x,x^2\}$ be a basis of the vector space $P_2(\R)$.

For each linear transformation $T:P_2(\R) \to P_2(\R)$ defined below, find the matrix representation of $T$ with respect to the basis $B$. For $f(x)\in P_2(\R)$, define $T$ as follows.

**(a)** \[T(f(x))=\frac{d^2}{dx^2} f(x)-3\frac{d}{dx}f(x)\]

**(b)** \[T(f(x))=\int_{-1}^1(t-x)^2f(t) \,dt\]

**(c)** \[T(f(x))=e^x \frac{d}{dx}(e^{-x}f(x))\]

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## Hint.

To find the matrix, we just need to compute $T(1), T(x), T(x^2)$ and read the coefficients of $1, x, x^2$.

## Solution.

**(a)** Since the derivative the constant function $1$ is zero, we have

\[T(1)=0.\]
Since the second derivative of the function $x$ is zero, we have

\[T(x)=-3.\]
Finally, we calculate

\[T(x^2)=2-6x.\]
There with respect to the basis $\{1, x, x^2\}$, the matrix for $T$ is

\[\begin{bmatrix}

0 & -3 & 2 \\

0 &0 &-6 \\

0 & 0 & 0

\end{bmatrix}.\]

**(b)** We first compute

\begin{align*}

T(f(x))&=\int_{-1}^{1}(t^2-2tx-+x^2)f(t) \, dt \\

&=\left( \int_{-1}^{1}t^2f(t) \, dt\right)-2\left( \int_{-1}^{1}tf(t) \, dt \right) x+\left(\int_{-1}^{1} f(t) \, dt \right) x^2.

\end{align*}

Then we have

\begin{align*}

T(1)&=\frac{2}{3} +2x^2 \\

T(x)&=-\frac{4}{x} x\\

T(x^2)&=\frac{2}{5}+\frac{2}{3}x^2

\end{align*}

Here we calculated the integrals

\[\int_{-1}^{1} 1 \, dt= \left[t \right]_{-1}^1=2, \,\,\,\, \int_{-1}^{1}t \, dt=\left[\frac{1}{2}t^2\right]_{-1}^1=0,\]
\[\int_{-1}^{1}t^2 \, dt=\left[\frac{1}{3}t^3 \right]_{-1}^1=\frac{2}{3}, \,\,\,\, \int_{-1}^{1}t^3 \, dt=\left[\frac{1}{4}t^4 \right]_{-1}^1=0, \,\,\,\, \int_{-1}^{1}t^4 \, dt=\left[\frac{1}{5}t^5 \right]_{-1}^1=\frac{2}{5}.

\]
Therefore, the matrix for the linear transformation with respect to the basis $B=\{1,x,x^2\}$ is

\[\begin{bmatrix}

\frac{2}{3} & 0 & \frac{2}{5} \\[6pt]
0 &-\frac{4}{3} &0 \\[6pt]
2 & 0 & \frac{2}{3}

\end{bmatrix}.\]

**(c)** Note that by the product rule for derivatives,

\begin{align*}

T(f(x))&=e^x \left(-e^{-x}f(x)+e^{-x}\frac{d}{dx} f(x) \right)\\

&=-f(x)+\frac{d}{dx} f(x).

\end{align*}

Thus we have

\begin{align*}

T(1)&=-1\\

T(x)&=-x+1\\

T(x^2)&=-x^2+2x.

\end{align*}

Hence the matrix for the linear transformation $T$ with respect to the basis $B$ is

\[\begin{bmatrix}

-1 & 1 & 0 \\

0 &-1 &2 \\

0 & 0 & -1

\end{bmatrix}.\]

## Comment.

This problem hints a connection between linear algebra and calculus, or differential equations.

And yes, they are closely related and differential equations can be solved using techniques of linear algebras.

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