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For any square matrix of order 2, we have found a necessary and sufficient condition for

invertibility. Indeed, consider the matrix

determinant of A. It is clear from this, that we would like to have a similar result for

bigger matrices (meaning higher orders). So is there a similar notion of determinant for

any square matrix, which determines whether a square matrix is invertible or not?

In order to generalize such notion to higher orders, we will need to study the determinant

and see what kind of properties it satisfies. First let us use the following notation for the

determinant

1.

Any matrix A and its transpose have the same determinant, meaning

This is interesting since it implies that whenever we use rows, a similar behavior

will result if we use columns. In particular we will see how row elementary

operations are helpful in finding the determinant. Therefore, we have similar

conclusions for elementary column operations.

2.

The determinant of a triangular matrix is the product of the entries on the

diagonal, that is

3.

If we interchange two rows, the determinant of the new matrix is the opposite of

the old one, that is

4.

If we multiply one row with a constant, the determinant of the new matrix is the

determinant of the old one multiplied by the constant, that is

In particular, if all the entries in one row are zero, then the determinant is zero.

5.

If we add one row to another one multiplied by a constant, the determinant of the

new matrix is the same as the old one, that is

Note that whenever you want to replace a row by something (through elementary

operations), do not multiply the row itself by a constant. Otherwise, you will

easily make errors (due to Property 4).

6.

We have

Example. Evaluate

Let us transform this matrix into a triangular one through elementary operations. We will

keep the first row and add to the second one the first multiplied by . We get

Therefore, we have

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