A First Course in Linear Algebra

Come for the price, stay for the quality


This page contains more explanation about this project. The preface contains more specific details about how and why I wrote this book and is a good place to begin. The News section below lists some of the milestones in the development of the book, while greater detail can be found in the current Change Log, which is available off the development page.

About the Author

On Ben Crowell's site, where he distributes copies of his Light and Matter textbook, he says "Who am I and why should you trust me to tell you about science?" So why would you trust me to tell you about linear algebra? Especially when there is no publishing house in sight to have put some real money behind this project to manufacture a warehouse full of physical copies of the book.

I have been teaching undergraduate mathematics since 1978. The first six years were at the University of Illinois as a graduate teaching assistant with sole responsibility for my own sections. Since 1984, when I received my Ph.D. in mathematics from Illinois, I have taught at the University of Puget Sound, a small liberal arts college which emphasizes excellent teaching, while also valuing the faculty's role as scholars. I will have taught linear algebra to sophomores on thirty-nine occasions (as of May 2014).

My research interests are in graph theory and combinatorics, and often involve the interplay between these disciplines and algebra. I have published three times in the journal Linear Algebra and Its Applications. Several other of my articles contain topics from linear algebra and have been published in journals such as Journal of Graph Theory and The Journal of Combinatorial Theory, Series A. A more recent paper on algebraic topics appeared in Expositiones Mathematicae, a journal devoted to good expository writing.

I assist Tom Judson with the production of his very successful open source text book on abstract algebra. I have been the Lead Principal Investigator on a National Science Foundation education grant which featured open textbooks prominently.

You can learn more about me, and my work, by visting my home page. The proof is in the pudding. Read the book, use it. Study the proofs. If you come to understand the major ideas and subtleties of linear algebra, then it is doing its job.

By The Numbers (Version 3.00, December 2012)

In the News


December 5, 2012 Version 3.00, dramatically improved online version.
Oct 13, 2012 Version 2.99, final version from LaTeX source.
Aug 11, 2012 One million page views at website.
Aug 11, 2012 Half-million unique website visitors.
May, 2012 Initiated conversion of source to XML.
May 22, 2011 750,000 page views at website.
August 30, 2009 500,000 page views at website.
November 8, 2009 Quarter-million unique website visitors.
August 17, 2009 Amazon Kindle DX edition debuts.
January 12, 2009 400,000 page views at website.
July 16, 2008 Version 2.00 available.
July 16, 2008 Online jsMath version debuts.
July 16, 2008 SONY Reader version debuts.
June 15, 2008 300,000 page views at website.
January 15, 2008 100,000 visitors at website.
November 1, 2007 200,000 page views at website.
January 11, 2007 100,000 page views at website.
December 21, 2006 Print-on-demand physical copies available.
December 11, 2006 Version 1.00 available.
December 9, 2006 Online MathML/XML version debuts.
October 5, 2006 Archetype Summary debuts.
August 22, 2006 Version 0.80 released for Fall 2006 course.
January 5, 2006 Version 0.70 released for Spring 2006 course.
October 27, 2005 Added RSS feed to website.
August 28, 2005 Version 0.50 released for Fall 2005 course.
August 11, 2005 Website redesign.
April 14, 2005 Version 0.40, nearly complete content for UPS course.
January 17, 2005 Version 0.30 for Spring 2005 course.
January 13, 2005 TeX source debuts.
December 31, 2004 GFDL license chosen.
November 28, 2004 Finished theoretical content for UPS course.
September 30, 2004 Began adding homework problems.
September 23, 2004 Widescreen format debut.
September 16, 2004 Flashcards debut.
July 27, 2004 Version 0.10 for Fall 2004 course (content half-complete).