# Determine the Dimension of a Mysterious Vector Space From Coordinate Vectors ## Problem 606

Let $V$ be a vector space and $B$ be a basis for $V$.
Let $\mathbf{w}_1, \mathbf{w}_2, \mathbf{w}_3, \mathbf{w}_4, \mathbf{w}_5$ be vectors in $V$.
Suppose that $A$ is the matrix whose columns are the coordinate vectors of $\mathbf{w}_1, \mathbf{w}_2, \mathbf{w}_3, \mathbf{w}_4, \mathbf{w}_5$ with respect to the basis $B$.

After applying the elementary row operations to $A$, we obtain the following matrix in reduced row echelon form
$\begin{bmatrix} 1 & 0 & 2 & 1 & 0 \\ 0 & 1 & 3 & 0 & 1 \\ 0 & 0 & 0 & 0 & 0 \\ 0 & 0 & 0 & 0 & 0 \end{bmatrix}.$

(a) What is the dimension of $V$?

(b) What is the dimension of $\Span\{\mathbf{w}_1, \mathbf{w}_2, \mathbf{w}_3, \mathbf{w}_4, \mathbf{w}_5\}$?

(The Ohio State University, Linear Algebra Midterm) Add to solve later

## Solution.

### (a) What is the dimension of $V$?

Suppose the dimension of $V$ is $n$.
This means that the basis $B$ consists of $n$ vectors.

Then the coordinate of $\mathbf{w}_1$ with respect to $B$ is an $n$-dimensional vector $[\mathbf{w}_1]_B \in \R^n$.
Thus, the number of rows in the matrix $A$ is $n$.

As the elementary row operations do not change the number of rows, we see from the given matrix that the $A$ has four rows.
Thus, the dimension of $V$ is $4$.

### (b) What is the dimension of $\Span\{\mathbf{w}_1, \mathbf{w}_2, \mathbf{w}_3, \mathbf{w}_4, \mathbf{w}_5\}$?

Note that the dimension of $W:=\Span\{\mathbf{w}_1, \mathbf{w}_2, \mathbf{w}_3, \mathbf{w}_4, \mathbf{w}_5\}$ is the same as the dimension of
$W’:=\Span\{[\mathbf{w}_1]_B, [\mathbf{w}_2]_B, [\mathbf{w}_3]_B, [\mathbf{w}_4]_B, [\mathbf{w}_5]_B\}.$

Since the column vectors of $A$ are these coordinate vectors $[\mathbf{w}_i]_B$ and its reduced row echelon contains the leading 1’s in the first two columns, we conclude that $\{[\mathbf{w}_1]_B, [\mathbf{w}_2]_B\}$ is a basis for $W’$ by the leading 1 method.

It follows that $\{\mathbf{w}_1, \mathbf{w}_2\}$ is a basis for $W$, and its dimension is $2$.

## Comment.

This is one of the midterm 2 exam problems for Linear Algebra (Math 2568) in Autumn 2017.

## List of Midterm 2 Problems for Linear Algebra (Math 2568) in Autumn 2017 Add to solve later

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