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Row Operations

Also called the Gauss-Jordan method.

This is a fun way to find the Inverse of a Matrix:

Play around with the rows (adding, multiplying or swapping) until we make Matrix A into
the Identity Matrix I

And by ALSO doing the changes to an Identity Matrix it magically turns into the Inverse!

The "Elementary Row Operations" are simple things like adding rows, multiplying and
swapping ... but let's see with an example:

Example: find the Inverse of "A":

We start with the matrix A, and write it down with an Identity Matrix I next to it:

(This is called the "Augmented Matrix")

Identity Matrix
The "Identity Matrix" is the matrix equivalent of the number "1":
A 3x3 Identity Matrix

 It is "square" (has same number of rows as columns),


 It has 1s on the diagonal and 0s everywhere else.
 It's symbol is the capital letter I.

Now we do our best to turn "A" (the Matrix on the left) into an Identity Matrix. The goal is
to make Matrix A have 1s on the diagonal and 0s elsewhere (an Identity Matrix) ... and
the right hand side comes along for the ride, with every operation being done on it as
well.

But we can only do these "Elementary Row Operations":

 swap rows
 multiply or divide each element in a a row by a constant
 replace a row by adding or subtracting a multiple of another row to it

Elementary Matrix Operations

Elementary matrix operations play an important role in many matrix algebra


applications, such as finding the inverse of a matrix and solving simultaneous linear
equations.

Elementary Operations

There are three kinds of elementary matrix operations.

1. Interchange two rows (or columns).


2. Multiply each element in a row (or column) by a non-zero number.
3. Multiply a row (or column) by a non-zero number and add the result to another
row (or column).
When these operations are performed on rows, they are called elementary row
operations; and when they are performed on columns, they are called elementary
column operations.

Elementary Operators

Each type of elementary operation may be performed by matrix multiplication, using


square matrices called elementary operators.

For example, suppose you want to interchange rows 1 and 2 of Matrix A. To accomplish
this, you could premultiply A by E to produce B, as shown below.

0 1 1 3 5
R1 <--> R2 =
1 0 2 4 6

E A

0+2 0+4 0+6


R1 <--> R2 =
0+1 0+3 0+5

2 4 6
R1 <--> R2 = = B
1 3 5

Here, E is an elementary operator. It operates on A to produce the desired interchanged


rows in B. What we would like to know, of course, is how to find E. Read on.

How to Perform Elementary Row Operations

To perform an elementary row operation on a A, an r x c matrix, take the following


steps.
1. To find E, the elementary row operator, apply the operation to an r x r identity
matrix.
2. To carry out the elementary row operation, premultiply A by E.

We illustrate this process below for each of the three types of elementary row
operations.

 Interchange two rows. Suppose we want to interchange the second and third
rows of A, a 3 x 2 matrix. To create the elementary row operator E, we
interchange the second and third rows of the identity matrix I3.

1 0 0 1 0 0

0 1 0 ⇒ 0 0 1

0 0 1 0 1 0

I3 E

 Then, to interchange the second and third rows of A, we premultiply A by E, as


shown below.

1 0 0 0 1

R2 <--> R3 = 0 0 1 2 3

0 1 0 4 5

E A

1*0 + 0*2 + 0*4 1*1 + 0*3 + 0*5


R2 <--> R3 =
0*0 + 0*2 + 1*4 0*1 + 0*3 + 1*5
0*0 + 1*2 + 0*4 0*1 + 1*3 + 0*5

0 1

R2 <--> R3 = 4 5

2 3

 Multiply a row by a number. Suppose we want to multiply each element in the


second row of Matrix A by 7. Assume A is a 2 x 3 matrix. To create the
elementary row operator E, we multiply each element in the second row of the
identity matrix I2 by 7.

1 0 1 0

0 1 0 7

I2 E

 Then, to multiply each element in the second row of A by 7, we


premultiply A by E.

1 0 0 1 2
7R2 --> R2 =
0 7 3 4 5

E A

1*0 + 0*3 1*1 + 0*4 1*2 + 0*5


7R2 --> R2 =
0*0 + 7*3 0*1 + 7*4 0*2 + 7*5

0 1 2
7R2 --> R2 =
21 28 35


 Multiply a row and add it to another row. Assume A is a 2 x 2 matrix. Suppose
we want to multiply each element in the first row of A by 3; and we want to add
that result to the second row of A. For this operation, creating the elementary row
operator is a two-step process. First, we multiply each element in the first row of
the identity matrix I2 by 3. Next, we add the result of that multiplication to the
second row of I2 to produce E.

1 0 1 0 1 0
⇒ ⇒
0 1 0 + 3*1 1 + 3*0 3 1

I2 E

 Then, to multiply each element in the first row of A by 3 and add that result to the
second row, we premultiply A by E.

1 0 0 1
3R1 + R2 --> R2 =
3 1 2 3

E A

1*0 + 0*2 1*1 + 0*3


3R1 + R2 --> R2 =
3*0 + 1*2 3*1 + 1*3

0 1
3R1 + R2 --> R2 =
2 6

How to Perform Elementary Column Operations

To perform an elementary column operation on A, an r x c matrix, take the following


steps.

1. To find E, the elementary column operator, apply the operation to


an c x c identity matrix.
2. To carry out the elementary column operation, postmultiply A by E.

Let's work through an elementary column operation to illustrate the process. For
example, suppose we want to interchange the first and second columns of A, a 3 x 2
matrix. To create the elementary column operator E, we interchange the first and
second columns of the identity matrix I2.

1 0 0 1

0 1 1 0

I2 E

Then, to interchange the first and second columns of A, we postmultiply A by E, as


shown below.

0 1
0 1
C1 <--> C2 = 2 3
1 0
4 5

A E
0*0 + 1*1 0*1 + 1*0

C1 <--> C2 = 2*0 + 3*1 2*1 + 3*0

4*0 + 5*1 4*1 + 5*0

1 0

C1 <--> C2 = 3 2

5 4

Note that the process for performing an elementary column operation on an r x c matrix
is very similar to the process for performing an elementary row operation. The main
differences are:

 To operate on the r x c matrix A, the row operator E is created from


an r x r identity matrix; whereas the column operator E is created from
an c x c identity matrix.

 To perform a row operation, A is premultiplied by E; whereas to perform a


column operation, A is post multiplied by E.

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