Linear Algebra or Matrix Theory?

This is kinda off topic…(not really cause I do all my 3D graphics in OpenGL) but I was wondering…

If I can only take one more math class at my university (due to time restraints), which will get me farther…Linear algebra or matrix theory?

What do you guys recomend to be the most usefull in a 3D programming enviornment?

What has helped you the most?

At my university (U of Mich - Dearborn) Linear Algebra and Matrix Algebra were essentially the same class, except that that Matrix Algebra was a bit accellerated and skipped over some points here and there, but the important parts of both classes were the same.

Usually the course titles don’t match the exact materials they cover. The linear algebra course I took mentioned a little bit of matrices, since linear space is an abstract and general notion, and I remembered I never wrote a matrix after assignment one. Proof is done on “linear space”, not just on “matrices space”. There are graduate courses titled “Linear Algebra”, so just be careful if you want an easier life.
You are right that they can be same thing, but you may also want to know what their target students are.
If I just want to take an easy one, I would take the one for engineering or science students instead of the ones for mathematics major.

Linear algebra covers all of 3d math.

I’m not quite sure what Matrix Theory is, other than theoretical linear algebra, so I’m not sure how relevant it is to 3D graphics. Back at MIT I had the choice between the hands-on linear algebra class that mostly engineering types would take and a more theoretical class that math majors typically take. I decided to go with the more theoretical class, and my guess is that I have a much better grasp of 3D transformations than I would have gotten from the hands-on class. However, a class that’s too theoretical (and I took one of those also), is pretty useless for graphics, but sure is helpful when trying to prove that the quintic formula doesn’t exist.

We had a linear algebra course, but there wasn’t much 3d to it, we saw everyting in C (complex numbers) and n x n matrices.
But we saw none of the consequences for 3d math.

Linear algebra is not restricted to 3D. It can be used at many place. 3D transform is only part of linear algebra, include rotating, translating, projection… if you learn linear algebra well, you can do all 3d math, and to be sure, do it better.

Liner Algerbra will teach you a lot about matrices.
A lot about solving different problems ect.
Some techniques like finding determinent of a 3x3 matrix to determine normals to planes will come in usefull.
There are some cool 2d image processing techniques to be lernt.

LA will be usefull but…

-It will be hard (require lots of thought),
-You will lern LOTS of maths that has no direct relevance to grahics
-most of the aplication of LA are not at alll related to graphics so expect eralevnt boring
examples in economics and electrical engineering.

If you seek greater mathamatical robustness LA will give you this.
If your only concern is matrix operations in OpenGL for simple transformations ect
do matrix theory.

If you are concerned about your course aveerage, Aproach LA with caution.
When I leern It it was VERY full on, make sure you have the time for the subject.