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EdX Blog: Linear Thinking from Sports to Pixar

Tim Chartier
Tim Chartier

Oftentimes upon encountering academic difficulty, would-be scholars lament "Why am I learning this?" Associate Professor Tim Chartier will be leading students to answer the "Why" as far as mathematics go in his forthcoming DavidsonX MOOC on "Applications of Linear Algebra." The first session will air on Monday, Feb. 23.

Registrants will learn everyday applications for linear algebra in areas such as creating animated films, cyber security, data mining, and analysis of sports statistics.

Chartier notes that linear algebra plays a role in every frame in a Pixar movie, and one of the lead scientists in the company will serve as a guest host for a session to explain how that occurs. Registrants will then learn to make an image transparent, fade from one image to another, and rotate a 3D wireframe model.

Participants will also explore the field of data mining, where linear algebra can identify similar movies they might enjoy seeing. The course will delve into sports statistics, too, leading participants to mathematically generate March Madness college basketball tournament brackets.

The lectures are developed to encourage participants to explore and generate ideas through their own programming, and also with online tools developed for the course.

Read Chartier's edX blog post.

Sign up for the course or get more information.