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Terminology

delgeezee

New member
May 24, 2013
9
My book describes a linear system with "m equations in n unknowns."

Maybe this is a subtle detail but this confuses me. Shouldn't it be the other way around, "n unknowns in m equations?"
 

tkhunny

Well-known member
MHB Math Helper
Jan 27, 2012
267
Re: terminology

It makes no difference, so long as m and n are defined.
 

Bacterius

Well-known member
MHB Math Helper
Jan 26, 2012
644
Re: terminology

[JUSTIFY]They both mean the same thing as far as I can tell. I think this may be a language problem, the first form might be more natural in english whereas the other sounds more natural in other languages (for instance french).[/JUSTIFY]
 

Klaas van Aarsen

MHB Seeker
Staff member
Mar 5, 2012
8,779
Re: terminology

I'd write the first form as "m equations with n unknowns."
Anyway, the two forms mean the same thing.
 

Jameson

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 26, 2012
4,041
Re: terminology

Like others said the variable names can be whatever you want to use, but standard convention is that a matrix of size $m \times n$ corresponds to a linear system of equations, which means that there are $m$ rows and $n$ columns. That corresponds to $m$ equations and $n$ variables.