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# MA100 2013/14 – Solution to Test Question 2

The points for each part are indicated in square brackets at the start of that part of the
question, e.g. [4].
1. Let
A =
_
_
3 1 5 9 −1
1 0 1 2 −1
−2 1 0 −1 2
_
_
b =
_
_
11
5
−8
_
_
.
(a) [8] To ﬁnd the general solution of the system of linear equations Ax = b, put the augmented
matrix into reduced row echelon form.
(A|b) =
_
_
3 1 5 9 −1 11
1 0 1 2 −1 5
−2 1 0 −1 2 −8
_
_
R
1

↽R
2
−→
_
_
1 0 1 2 −1 5
3 1 5 9 −1 11
−2 1 0 −1 2 −8
_
_
R
2
−3R
1
−→
R
3
+2R
1
−→
_
_
1 0 1 2 −1 5
0 1 2 3 2 −4
0 1 2 3 0 2
_
_
R
3
−R
2
−→
_
_
1 0 1 2 −1 5
0 1 2 3 2 −4
0 0 0 0 −2 6
_
_

1
2
R
3
−→
_
_
1 0 1 2 −1 5
0 1 2 3 2 −4
0 0 0 0 1 −3
_
_
R
1
+R
3
−→
R
2
−2R
3
−→
_
_
1 0 1 2 0 2
0 1 2 3 0 2
0 0 0 0 1 −3
_
_
.
Set the non-leading variables equal to arbitrary parameters; say, x
3
= s and x
4
= t. Then the
general solution is:
x =
_
_
_
_
_
x
1
x
2
x
3
x
4
x
5
_
_
_
_
_
=
_
_
_
_
_
2 −s −2t
2 −2s −3t
s
t
−3
_
_
_
_
_
=
_
_
_
_
_
2
2
0
0
−3
_
_
_
_
_
+ s
_
_
_
_
_
−1
−2
1
0
0
_
_
_
_
_
+ t
_
_
_
_
_
−2
−3
0
1
0
_
_
_
_
_
= p + sv
1
+ tv
2
, s, t ∈ R.
(b) (i) [2] There are several ways to do this question. The most straightforward is just to solve,
_
_
9
2
−1
_
_
= a
_
_
3
1
−2
_
_
+ b
_
_
1
0
1
_
_
.
Equating the components, the second line immediately gives a = 2. Substitution into the
ﬁrst equation then gives b = 3. Then you do need to check that the third equation is also
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satisﬁed, −1 = 2(−2) + 3(1), and it should be clear in your solution that you have done so.
So c
4
= 2c
1
+ 3c
2
.
Alternatively, you can use the nullspace basis vector v
2
,
Av
2
= A
_
_
_
_
_
−2
−3
0
1
0
_
_
_
_
_
= −2c
1
−3c
2
+c
4
= 0, ⇒ c
4
= 2c
1
+ 3c
2
.
(ii) [4] The column vectors c
1
, c
2
, c
5
correspond to the columns with leading ones in the
RREF of A, which indicates that they are linearly independent. (A matrix consisting of these
three columns alone would reduce to the identity matrix.)
Since R
3
has dimension three, you know that three linearly independent vectors are a basis.
This is an important part of the conclusion.
Otherwise you have to justify that the three vectors also span R
3
, which you could do by
looking at the RREF of the matrix consisting of the three column vectors, c
1
, c
2
, c
5
. Since it
will have a leading one in each row, you can deduce the vectors span R
3
. (Of course, since
the RREF will be the identity matrix, you can also deduce immediately that the columns are
a basis of R
3
using the ﬁnal parts added to the main theorem.)
From the solution, since Ap = b, you can write b = 2c
1
+2c
2
−3c
5
. Therefore the coordinate
matrix of b in this basis is
[b]
B
=
_
_
2
2
−3
_
_
B
.
(iii) [3] The set {v
1
, v
2
, . . . , v
n
} is linearly dependent if and only if the vector equation
a
1
v
1
+ a
2
v
2
+ . . . + a
n
v
n
= 0
has a non-trivial solution; that is, a solution with not all coeﬃcients a
i
= 0.
While it is correct to say that the vectors are linearly dependent if and only if some vector in
the set is a linear combination of the others, this is a consequence of the deﬁnition and not
the deﬁnition.
Looking at the solution of Ax = b, the vector v
1
= (−1, −2, 1, 0, 0)
T
is a solution of the
homogeneous system. Since Av
1
= 0, you can deduce that
−1c
1
−2c
2
+c
3
= 0.
2
This is a non-trivial linear combination showing that the vectors are linearly dependent.
(iv) [8] The subspace Lin{c
1
, c
2
} contains the vector c
4
by (i) since c
4
= 2c
1
+3c
2
is a linear
combination of c
1
, c
2
. By (iii), c
3
= c
1
+ 2c
2
, so c
3
is also a linear combination of c
1
, c
2
.
Therefore,
S = Lin{c
1
, c
2
, c
3
, c
4
} = Lin{c
1
, c
2
}.
Since the vectors c
1
, c
2
are linearly independent (neither is a scalar multiple of the other, or
this follows from (ii)), the set {c
1
, c
2
} is a basis of S.
The subspace S has a basis consisting of two vectors in R
3
, so it is a two-dimensional subspace
of R
3
. A two-dimensional subspace of R
3
is a plane. Since the question asks you to deduce
that S is a plane, your answer should contain this last statement.
To ﬁnd a Cartesian equation, you can either evaluate the determinant (and set it equal to 0),
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
3 1 x
1 0 y
−2 1 z
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
= x −5y −z = 0,
or you can eliminate s and t from the vector equation of the plane,
_
_
x
y
z
_
_
= s
_
_
3
1
−2
_
_
+ t
_
_
1
0
1
_
_
.
Equating components, the second line immediately gives y = s. Substituting this into the ﬁrst
component equation, x = 3s + t = 3y + t ⇒ t = x −3y. Then use the third component
equation to ﬁnd
z = −2s + t ⇒ z = −2y + x −3y ⇒ x −5y −z = 0.
The plane has equation x −5y −z = 0.
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