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# Dot product

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Dot product
In mathematics, the dot product or scalar product is an algebraic operation that takes two equal-length sequences of numbers (usually coordinate vectors) and returns a single number obtained by multiplying corresponding entries and then summing those products. The name "dot product" is derived from the centered dot "€ €" that is often used to designate this operation; the alternative name "scalar product" emphasizes the scalar (rather than vector) nature of the result. When two Euclidean vectors are expressed in terms of coordinate vectors on an orthonormal basis, the inner product of the former is equal to the dot product of the latter. For more general vector spaces, while both the inner and the dot product can be defined in different contexts (for instance with complex numbers as scalars) their definitions in these contexts may not coincide. In three dimensional space, the dot product contrasts with the cross product, which produces a vector as result. The dot product is directly related to the cosine of the angle between two vectors in Euclidean space of any number of dimensions.

Definition
The dot product of two vectors a = [a1, a2, ... , an] and b = [b1, b2, ... , bn] is defined as:

where • denotes summation notation and n is the dimension of the vector space. In dimension 2, the dot product of vectors [a,b] and [c,d] is ac + bd. Similarly, in a dimension 3, the dot product of vectors [a,b,c] and [d,e,f] is ad + be + cf. For example, the dot product of two three-dimensional vectors [1, 3, €5] and [4, €2, €1] is

Given two column vectors, their dot product can also be obtained by multiplying the transpose of one vector with the other vector and extracting the unique coefficient of the resulting 1 ‚ 1 matrix. The operation of extracting the coefficient of such a matrix can be written as taking its determinant or its trace (which is the same thing for 1 ‚ 1 matrices); since in general tr(AB) = tr(BA) whenever AB or equivalently BA is a square matrix, one may write

More generally the coefficient (i,j) of a product of matrices is the dot product of the transpose of row i of the first matrix and column j of the second matrix.

The unit circle is where the trigonometric values for the six trig functions are found. The Cauchy•Schwarz inequality guarantees that the argument of is valid. and they have non-null length. If denotes the length (magnitude) is another such vector. is the angle between them. composed of pairwise perpendicular vectors with unit length.Dot product 2 Geometric interpretation In Euclidean geometry. As the cosine of 90ƒ is zero. this definition is equivalent to the above one. For higher dimensions the formula can be used to define the concept of angle. the dot product of vectors expressed in an orthonormal basis is related to their length and angle.e. two vectors can be considered orthogonal if and only if their dot product is zero. the dot product is the square of the length of . Since . where This formula can be rearranged to determine the size of the angle between two nonzero vectors: is the scalar projection of onto . or where of . then One can also first convert the vectors to unit vectors by dividing by their magnitude: then the angle is given by The terminal points of both unit vectors lie on the unit circle. This property provides a simple method to test the condition of orthogonality. The geometric properties rely on the basis being orthonormal. For such a vector . Sometimes these properties are also used for "defining" the dot product.e. i. The dot product of the two unit vectors then takes and . After substitution. especially in 2 and 3 dimensions. for some angle . the first vector component is cosine and the second vector component is sine. for angles and and returns where . i. Moreover. the dot product of two orthogonal vectors is always zero. .

„ represent the same vector in terms of the rotated basis „ . Notice that the rotation matrix rows of If and vector is assembled by using the rotated basis vectors . in the direction of is . then the dot product in the direction of the direction of .. By definition. This is called the scalar projection of or scalar component of (see figure). with obtained by just rotating . as its rows. then : must contain the rotated basis vectors in its columns.. „ represent vector in terms of . between them. For instance. consists of a sequence of dot products between each of the three . they are unit vectors). . be the rotated basis vectors . their dot product simply gives the cosine of the angle gives .e. see next section). i. with a minus sign if the direction is opposite. rather than a column vector. . . then the magnitude of the projection of is . 's matrix in the new basis is obtained through multiplying by a rotation matrix . is a unit vector. as the unit vector in the direction of Rotation When an orthonormal basis that the vector is represented in terms of is rotated. let „ and be two different orthonormal bases of the same space . the magnitude of the projection of onto in . . This property of the dot product has several useful applications (for instance.Dot product 3 Scalar projection If both If only and have length one (i. represented in terms of Then the rotation from to is performed as follows: . . rotated basis vector (see previous section). Each of these dot products determines a scalar component of is a row vector. and must post-multiply . If neither nor is a unit vector. This matrix multiplication is just a compact representation of a sequence of dot products. and in the direction of a these vectors are unit vectors.e.

Properties The following properties hold if a. then we can write: a ‚ (b € c) = 0 by the distributive law.e.e. a physical quantity independent of the coordinate system.. then the derivative of a ‚ b is a' ‚ b + a ‚ b' . independent of the coordinate system. The dot product is also a scalar in this sense. Two non-zero vectors a and b are orthogonal if and only if a ‚ b = 0. not just a number. for an orthonormal space with any number of dimensions. where if ab = ac. The above mentioned geometric interpretation relies on this property. the result above says this just means that a is perpendicular to (b € c). The dot product is commutative: The dot product is distributive over vector addition: The dot product is bilinear: When multiplied by a scalar value. b.. In other words. Unlike multiplication of ordinary numbers. it is orthonormal expressed in the old one). the dot product is invariant under a coordinate transformation based on an orthogonal matrix. reflections. This corresponds to the following two conditions: „ The new basis is again orthonormal (i. then b always equals c unless a is zero. keeping the origin fixed. and c are real vectors and r is a scalar. unit length in terms of the old basis). i. dot product satisfies: (these last two properties follow from the first two). vector magnitude is a scalar in the physical sense. and therefore b ƒ c. given by the formula. which still allows (b € c) ƒ 0. and combinations. expressed as the product of a numerical value and a physical unit. „ Magnetic flux is the dot product of the magnetic field and the area vectors. the dot product does not obey the cancellation law: If a ‚ b = a ‚ c and a ƒ 0.e. Example: „ Mechanical work is the dot product of force and displacement vectors. „ The new base vectors have the same length as the old ones (i. If a and b are functions. Provided that the basis is orthonormal.Dot product 4 Physics In physics. the dot product is invariant under isometric changes of the basis: rotations.

. keeping in mind which vectors are dotted together. which. (1) and (2). we obtain Subtracting a ‚ a + b ‚ b from both sides and dividing by €2 leaves Q. According to the law of cosines. Lemma 1 Now consider two vectors a and b extending from the origin. Proof of the geometric interpretation Consider the element of Rn Repeated application of the Pythagorean theorem yields for its length |v| But this is the same as so we conclude that taking the dot product of a vector v with itself yields the squared length of the vector.D. It is written as which is easier to remember as "BAC minus CAB".Dot product 5 Triple product expansion This is a very useful identity (also known as Lagrange's formula) involving the dot. we also have . separated by an angle …. and c. we have Substituting dot products for the squared lengths according to Lemma 1.and cross-products. expands to € € € € € € € € € € (2) Merging the two c ‚ c equations. b. This formula is commonly used to simplify vector calculations in physics. according to the distributive law. we get € € € € € € € € € (1) But as c „ a € b.E. A third vector c may be defined as creating a triangle with sides a.

and it is nonzero except for the zero vector. using the given definition of the dot product would lead to quite different geometric properties. If and are two tensors with element representation and the elements of the dot product are given by This definition naturally reduces to the standard vector dot product when applied to vectors. and matrix multiplication when applied to matrices . and the scalar product is not symmetric either. and the angle … between two vectors a and b by In particular. It is defined as the sum of the products of the corresponding components of two matrices having the same size.Dot product 6 Generalization Real vector spaces The inner product generalizes the dot product to abstract vector spaces over the real numbers and is usually denoted by . Then the scalar product of any vector with itself is a non-negative real number. and leads to the notions of Hermitian form and of general inner product spaces. and can be zero without the vector being the zero vector. The dot product is calculated by multiplying and summing across a single index in both tensors. since The angle between two complex vectors is then given by This type of scalar product is nevertheless quite useful. at the cost of giving up the symmetric and bilinear properties of the scalar product. by alternatively defining where bi is the complex conjugate of bi. However this scalar product is not linear in b (but rather conjugate linear). Occasionally. . the norm ||a|| of a vector a in such an inner product space is defined as such that it generalizes length. The Frobenius inner product generalizes the dot product to matrices. For instance the dot product of a vector with itself can be an arbitrary complex number. a double dot product is used to represent multiplying and summing across two indices. this in turn would have severe consequences for notions like length and angle. The double dot product between two 2nd order tensors is a scalar quantity. Many geometric properties can be salvaged. Due to the geometric interpretation of the dot product. two vectors are considered orthogonal if their inner product is zero Complex vectors For vectors with complex entries. Generalization to tensors The dot product between a tensor of order n and a tensor of order m is a tensor of order n+m-2.

. cs. Wolfram Demonstrations Project. com/ dotproduct/ http:/ / www. mathreference. A quick geometrical derivation and interpretation of dot product [2] Interactive GeoGebra Applet [3] Java demonstration of dot product [4] Another Java demonstration of dot product [5] Explanation of dot product including with complex vectors [6] "Dot Product" [7] by Bruce Torrence. html [7] http:/ / demonstrations. com/ DotProduct/ . html [6] http:/ / www. blogspot. "Dot product [1]" from MathWorld. wolfram. com/ la. brown. falstad.Dot product 7 External links „ „ „ „ „ „ „ Weisstein. References [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] http:/ / mathworld. html http:/ / www. com/ DotProduct. Eric W. 2007. wolfram. edu/ exploratories/ freeSoftware/ repository/ edu/ brown/ cs/ exploratories/ applets/ dotProduct/ dot_product_guide. com/ 2009/ 04/ dot-and-cross-products.dot. html http:/ / behindtheguesses. org/ SpecialPlaneCurves_dir/ ggb/ Vector_Dot_Product. html http:/ / xahlee.