You are on page 1of 12

Lecture 1 Supplement

Week 2, Autumn 2008


Linear equations
Recall the definition of a linear equation (or a function):
none of the variables is raised to any other power than 1.
For example: 1/x + 2 = 0 is non-linear because x is
raised to the power of -1.
To solve the linear equation: 10x 2 = 0.
Rearrange the expression move the xs to the left-hand
side and the constant to the right-hand side.
You get: 10x = 2, divide by 10
You get: x = 2/10 = 1/5.
Check by substitution: 10(1/5) 2 =0.
Linear functions Example (1)
Consider the linear function: y = -4x + 8, which
expresses the relationship between the
variables x and y.
Here x is the independent variable and y is the
dependent variable.
To graph this function, you can (1) use a table of
values, (2) compute the intercepts (3) use the
slope and one of the intercepts.
(1) A table of values for y = -4x+8
y = -4(-1)+8=12 -1
y = -4(2)+8=0 2
y = -4(1)+8=4 1
y = -4(0)+8=8 0
y = -4x+8 x
(2) Computing the intercepts
To compute the intercepts, set one of the variables
equal to zero and solve for the other:
If y = 0, then 0 = -4x +8, or 4x = 8, or x = 2 (the x-
intercept); the coordinates for this point (2, 0)
If x = 0, then y = -4(0) + 8, and y = 8 (y-intercept);
the coordinates for this point (0, 8)
Using (2, 0) and (0, 8) you can draw the graph
through these points.
(3) Slope and y-intercept
From y = -4x + 8, we learn that the slope is -4. Since
the slope is negative, the graph is downward
sloping.
Take the y-intercept (0, 8) and plot it into the graph.
Using the slope, move one step to the right
(increase x by one unit) and four steps down (y
decreases by 4 units), you arrive at the point (1, 4),
etc. This way you find the points which are on the
graph of y = -4x + 8.
x
y
y = -4x + 8
8
2
Example (2)
Suppose you are given two coordinates, (x
0
, y
0
)=(1, 3)
and (x
1
, y
1
)=(2, 4), and asked to derive a corresponding
linear equation.
Use the general form of the linear equation y = ax + b.
You need to find a (the slope) and b (the y-intercept) to
be able to do this.
Using the coordinates from above, write down:
y
0
= ax
0
+ b => -3 = a(1) + b => b = -3 - a (1)
y
1
= ax
1
+ b => 4 = a(2) + b => b = -2a + 4. (2)
Example (2)
The equations (1) and (2) form a system of equations
Set -3 - a = -2a + 4 and solve for a => a = 7.
Substitute a = 7 back into one of the equations above to
get: b = -3 - 7 = -10.
Hence, the linear function takes the form:
y = 7x - 10.
Example (2)
Alternatively, compute the slope and then use one of the
coordinates to compute the y-intercept (b).
The slope:
7
1
7
1 2
) 3 ( 4
0 1
0 1
= =

=
x
y
x x
y y
a
Plug into the general form either pair of values, say (1, -3):
-3 = 7(1)+b, and solve for b: b = -10
You can now write down the specific form of the linear
function: y = 7x 10.
x
y
y =7x - 10
-10
10/7
System of equations
Three equations and three unknowns: Check the
Renshaw book section 3.17 p. 109.