# 2.2. Higher-Order Determinants The 1 × 1 matrix [a] is invertible exactly when a = 0. a b The 2 × 2 matrix is invertible exactly when c d ad − bc = 0.

What about a 3 × 3 matrix? Is there some short of expression which will determine when such a matrix is invertible? The answer is yes (and the answer for larger square matrices is also yes), and it is called the determinant of the matrix, but the formula gets very complicated very fast as the matrix gets bigger; it is easier to work on an individual basis.

Let’s proceed one step at a time, starting with the minors of a matrix A. The determinant of the matrix obtained by removing all the entries in the ith row and the jth column of A is called the (i, j)th minor of A and is denoted Mi,j . This assumes you know how to ﬁnd the determinant of a smaller matrix!

2 −4 3 If A =  4 −8 −3 .1 is the determinant of   2 −4 3  4 −8 −3  = −4 3 . (1. which is (−4) · 1 − (−6) · 3 = 14. −6 1 3 −6 1   . is 3 −6 1 the determinant of   2 −4 3  4 −8 −3  = 4 −3 . 3 1 3 −6 1 M2.2 . which is 4 · 1 − 3 · (−3) = 13. then M1. 2)th minor of A.

The (i. j) cofactor of A. denoted Ci. The (−1)i+j creates a “checkerboard” pattern.j . which changes the signs of some of the minors:  + − + − + − + − +  .j . is (−1)i+j Mi.

denoted Ci.j .j . The (−1)i+j creates a “checkerboard” pattern.The (i. which changes the signs of some of the minors: Minors  + − + − + − + − +   −26 13 0  14 −7 0  36 −18 0  . is (−1)i+j Mi. j) cofactor of A.

The (−1)i+j creates a “checkerboard” pattern. which changes the signs of some of the minors: Minors  + − + − + − + − +   −26 13 0  14 −7 0  36 −18 0   Cofactors −26 −13 0  −14 −7 0  36 18 0  .j .j . denoted Ci. is (−1)i+j Mi. j) cofactor of A.The (i.

The (i. j) cofactor of A.j . is (−1)i+j Mi. denoted Ci. which changes the signs of some of the minors: Minors  + − +  − + − + − + Cofactors   −13 0  −14  7 0  +36 18 0   13 0  14  7 0  +36 −18 0  26  26  . The (−1)i+j creates a “checkerboard” pattern.j .

j . denoted Ci.The (i. is (−1)i+j Mi. j) cofactor of A. which changes the signs of some of the minors: Minors Cofactors  −26  13 0   14 −7 0  36 +18 0    +   +   +   +  +   −26 +13 0  +14 −7 0  36  18 0 .j . The (−1)i+j creates a “checkerboard” pattern.

n C1.2 C1.3 + · · · + A1. The determinant of a matrix A is denoted by |A| or det A.1 C1.n .3 C1. . This method is called Expansion by Minors.2 + A1. Here. which is deﬁned to be A1.1 + A1.Now (at last) we can ﬁnd the determinant of A. the determinant is (2)(−26) + (−4)(−13) + (3)(0) = 0.

A more interesting example. is: 2 1 3 7 3 7 3 3 2 =2·+ 7 9 2 1 +7·  9 3 2 1 +3·+ 9 3 3 7 = 2 · (3 · 9 − 2 · 7) − 7 · (1 · 9 − 2 · 3) + 3 · (1 · 7 − 3 · 3) = −1 . with some of the details omitted.

Calculating the determinant of a 4 × 4 matrix requires calculating the determinant of 4 3 × 3 matrices.As you can see. This makes a total of 12 2 × 2 matrices. each of which requires the determinants of 3 2×2 matrices. which will require the determinant of 60 2 × 2 matrices. calculating the determinant of a 3 × 3 matrix requires calculating the determinant of 3 2 × 2 matrices. Calculating the determinant of a 5 × 5 matrix requires calculating the determinant of 5 4 × 4 matrices. .

. . · n.In general.) So how can we cut down the computation time? . 70! is bigger than a googol. This 2 is not an eﬃcient procedure! (n! = 1 · 2 · . 10! is around 3 million. the determinant of an n × n matrix 1 requires the determinants of n! 2 × 2 matrices.

not just the ﬁrst one. we can cut down the number of computations. we can expand along any row and get the same answer. So if some row or column has a lot of 0’s in it.First of all. so the ﬁrst determinant might be subtracted instead of being added. We need to obey the “checkerboard” pattern. . we can expand along any column. Also.

3 −4 0 6 2 17 0 1 8 1 4 −7 0 2 0 0 .

3 −4 0 6 2 17 0 1 8 1 4 −7 0 2 0 0 .

3 −4 0 6 2 17 0 1 8 1 4 −7 0 −4 2 =0·  0 0 6 0 +0·  + − + − − + − + + − + − 3 −4 6 + + 17 0 1 2 17 1 1 3 4 +2·+ 0 −7 6 8 3 1 + 0 · + −4 −7 0 2 0 1 8 4 −7 2 17 0 8 1 4     Remember: .

3 −4 0 6 2 17 0 1 8 1 4 −7 0 3 2 =2· 0 0 6 0 2 0 1 8 4 −7 .

3 −4 0 6 2 17 0 1 8 1 4 −7 0 3 2 =2· 0 0 6 0 2 0 8 4 1 −7 .

3 −4 0 6 2 17 0 1 8 1 4 −7 0 3 2 =2· 0 0 6 0 =2· 2 0 1 8 4 −7 2 1 8 3 +0·+ −7 6 +4·  3 6 2 1 8 −7 0·  + Remember:   − + + −   + + .

3 −4 0 6 2 17 0 1 8 1 4 −7 0 3 2 =2· 0 0 6 0 = 2 · −4 · 2 0 1 3 6 8 4 −7 2 1 .

3 −4 0 6 2 17 0 1 8 1 4 −7 0 3 2 =2· 0 0 6 0 = 2 · −4 · 2 0 1 3 6 8 4 −7 2 1 = 2 · −4 · (3 · 1 − 2 · 6) = 72 Only one 2 × 2 determinant had to be calculated here! .

Now suppose we have an upper triangular matrix* Maybe we want to ﬁnd the determinant of: 1 0 0 0 0 3 2 0 0 0 2 1 3 0 0 4 2 √ 2 5 0 π 3 2 1 8 * An upper triangular matrix is a matrix A where Ai.j = 0 whenever j < i. .

1 0 0 0 0 3 2 0 0 0 2 1 3 0 0 4 2 √ 2 5 0 π 3 2 =1· 1 8 2 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 2 √ 2 5 0 3 2 1 8 .

1 0 0 0 0 3 2 0 0 0 2 1 3 0 0 4 2 √ 2 5 0 π 3 3 2 =1·2· 0 1 0 8 √ 2 5 0 2 1 8 .

1 0 0 0 0 3 2 0 0 0 2 1 3 0 0 4 2 √ 2 5 0 π 3 5 2 =1·2·3· 0 1 8 1 8 .

1 0 0 0 0 3 2 0 0 0 2 1 3 0 0 4 2 √ 2 5 0 π 3 2 = 1 · 2 · 3 · 5 · |8| 1 8 .

1 0 0 0 0 3 2 0 0 0 2 1 3 0 0 4 2 √ 2 5 0 π 3 2 = 1·2·3·5·8 1 8 Where do these numbers come from? .

if we knew how to get a matrix into an upper triangular form . . . We could use this fact.1 3 2 0 0 0 0 2 1 3 0 0 0 4 2 √ 2 5 0 0 π 3 2 = 1·2·3·5·8 1 8 0 The determinant of an upper (or lower) triangular matrix is the product of the entries on the diagonal. .