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Linear Algebra for Computer Scientists 1


Admission requirements

Not applicable.


In this course we introduce matrices as a tool for representing and solving systems of linear equations. We will study the process of row reducing a matrix to the reduced echelon form, algebraic operations (matrix multiplication and the inverse of a matrix), the properties of matrices (such as the determinant). We will also study the relation of matrices to linear transformations, and applications of linear systems in network flow problems, and of the determinant in graph theory.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of the course, a student will be able to:

  • Describe a system of linear equations using matrices.

  • Solve a system of linear equations using the row reduction algorithm.

  • Carry out matrix operations, including calculating products, inverses and determinants of matrices.

  • Explain the concepts of linear independence and linear combinations.

  • Explain the concept of a linear transformation.


You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudymap will automatically be displayed in MyTimetable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Pleas note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

There will be a weekly lecture and a weekly problem session (tutorial). Homework will be assigned after each lecture. During the problem sessions, the students will have the opportunity to ask questions about the material covered so far and check their homework solutions. Homework will not be collected, but used as a tool to prepare for weekly quizzes. Quizzes will take place during the tutorial (except the first week), will be 15-20 minutes long. Quizzes will be graded, and the grade for quizzes contribute a bonus point to the final grade.

Assessment method

Written exam, in-class written quizzes administered during tutorials.

Students can earn a bonus of maximum 1 point on their exam grade by participating in in-class quizzes. There will be a total of six quizzes, one lowest grade for the quizzes will be dropped. The remaining five grades for quizzes will make equal parts of the bonus.

The final grade is determined by adding bonus to the grade of the written exam, and then rounding off to the nearest half integer (e.g. 7.24 becomes 7 and 7.25 becomes 7.5). The final grade can never be more than a 10.

Reading list

David. C. Lay: *Linear Algebra and its Applications, Addison-Wesley. *
This book will be required for the course; weekly problem sessions will be based on it, and essential reading will be set from it. The 5th international edition is recommended, but other editions are also OK, just be aware that the page numbers for the required reading may be incorrect.


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudymap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information. An exemption is the fall semester for 1st year bachelor students, the student administration will enroll this group.

Please note that it is compulsory to register for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course.

Extensive FAQ on MyStudymap can be found here.


Education coordinator LIACS bachelors


Not applicable.