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Purdue University Linear Algebra Exam Problems and Solutions


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  • If $A^{\trans}A=A$, then $A$ is a Symmetric Idempotent MatrixIf $A^{\trans}A=A$, then $A$ is a Symmetric Idempotent Matrix Let $A$ be a square matrix such that \[A^{\trans}A=A,\] where $A^{\trans}$ is the transpose matrix of $A$. Prove that $A$ is idempotent, that is, $A^2=A$. Also, prove that $A$ is a symmetric matrix.     Hint. Recall the basic properties of transpose […]
  • Find the Rank of a Matrix with a ParameterFind the Rank of a Matrix with a Parameter Find the rank of the following real matrix. \[ \begin{bmatrix} a & 1 & 2 \\ 1 &1 &1 \\ -1 & 1 & 1-a \end{bmatrix},\] where $a$ is a real number.   (Kyoto University, Linear Algebra Exam) Solution. The rank is the number of nonzero rows of a […]
  • Idempotent Matrix and its EigenvaluesIdempotent Matrix and its Eigenvalues Let $A$ be an $n \times n$ matrix. We say that $A$ is idempotent if $A^2=A$. (a) Find a nonzero, nonidentity idempotent matrix. (b) Show that eigenvalues of an idempotent matrix $A$ is either $0$ or $1$. (The Ohio State University, Linear Algebra Final Exam […]
  • Is the Sum of a Nilpotent Matrix and an Invertible Matrix Invertible?Is the Sum of a Nilpotent Matrix and an Invertible Matrix Invertible? A square matrix $A$ is called nilpotent if some power of $A$ is the zero matrix. Namely, $A$ is nilpotent if there exists a positive integer $k$ such that $A^k=O$, where $O$ is the zero matrix. Suppose that $A$ is a nilpotent matrix and let $B$ be an invertible matrix of […]
  • Trace, Determinant, and Eigenvalue (Harvard University Exam Problem)Trace, Determinant, and Eigenvalue (Harvard University Exam Problem) (a) A $2 \times 2$ matrix $A$ satisfies $\tr(A^2)=5$ and $\tr(A)=3$. Find $\det(A)$. (b) A $2 \times 2$ matrix has two parallel columns and $\tr(A)=5$. Find $\tr(A^2)$. (c) A $2\times 2$ matrix $A$ has $\det(A)=5$ and positive integer eigenvalues. What is the trace of […]
  • If a Group $G$ Satisfies $abc=cba$ then $G$ is an Abelian GroupIf a Group $G$ Satisfies $abc=cba$ then $G$ is an Abelian Group Let $G$ be a group with identity element $e$. Suppose that for any non identity elements $a, b, c$ of $G$ we have \[abc=cba. \tag{*}\] Then prove that $G$ is an abelian group.   Proof. To show that $G$ is an abelian group we need to show that \[ab=ba\] for any […]
  • How to Find a Basis for the Nullspace, Row Space, and Range of a MatrixHow to Find a Basis for the Nullspace, Row Space, and Range of a Matrix Let $A=\begin{bmatrix} 2 & 4 & 6 & 8 \\ 1 &3 & 0 & 5 \\ 1 & 1 & 6 & 3 \end{bmatrix}$. (a) Find a basis for the nullspace of $A$. (b) Find a basis for the row space of $A$. (c) Find a basis for the range of $A$ that consists of column vectors of $A$. (d) […]
  • Commuting Matrices $AB=BA$ such that $A-B$ is Nilpotent Have the Same EigenvaluesCommuting Matrices $AB=BA$ such that $A-B$ is Nilpotent Have the Same Eigenvalues Let $A$ and $B$ be square matrices such that they commute each other: $AB=BA$. Assume that $A-B$ is a nilpotent matrix. Then prove that the eigenvalues of $A$ and $B$ are the same.   Proof. Let $N:=A-B$. By assumption, the matrix $N$ is nilpotent. This […]

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