I'm studying a major in CS. I'm interested in taking a few extra courses, specifically math to improve my knowledge as future computer scientist.

Right now I'm thinking to take Matrix Fundamentals but I'm not sure if it is going to help me in my CS career. What are its uses apart from arrays in programming?

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    $\begingroup$ matrix definitely helps in a lot of CS area. But since this is about you, can you tell which topic in CS you're particularly interested in? I don't think there is an area in CS where matrix can not help, but perhaps there are areas where matrix are more commonly used than others. Machine learning, for example, really uses matrix a lot relatively. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 6, 2014 at 14:29
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    $\begingroup$ It'll definitely help. Moreover, if it's any math course, it'll help with developing the right kind of thinking; taking it won't hurt. $\endgroup$
    – Juho
    Commented Jul 6, 2014 at 14:54
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    $\begingroup$ "Matrix fundamentals" and "Math-127" mean nothing to me or, I suspect, to anyone outside your own university. I've a feeling that the answer to this question is useful only to the asker, which makes it a very bad fit for Stack Exchange, where the goal is to build up a collection of generally useful questions and answers. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 6, 2014 at 15:04
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    $\begingroup$ @blade The correct place (or person) to ask is your advisor and/or the person in charge of the course. They should have a better understanding of what is in the course rather than strangers on the internet. $\endgroup$
    – Juho
    Commented Jul 6, 2014 at 15:14
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    $\begingroup$ What exactly are the contents of these courses? If you add that to the question, I think we have a reasonable question. That said, note that the answer may just be "take more mathematics and TCS, then you will see". To be honest, asking "of what use are matrices?" sounds much like an elementary schooler asking "of what use are these letters?". $\endgroup$
    – Raphael
    Commented Jul 6, 2014 at 16:31

1 Answer 1


Just like you might model real-world things with a set, you model some other real-world things with a matrix. Things that you might model as a matrix ranges includes:

  • product-user rating table
  • between places distance table
  • bitmap images

Modelling things with matrix allow you to see the problem in different perspective. And allow you to see what it might actually mean to apply some matrix operations to it.

For example, you might notice that matrix multiplication on 'distance table' actually gives you a transitive distances.

Or that rank-factorization of product-user rating table actually provides a mean to categorize users into groups that have the same taste.

Or that know eigen vectors helps in understanding the eigen faces that one corner stone in face recognition.


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