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In mathematics, a **linear transformation** (also called **linear map** or **linear operator**) is a function between two vector spaces that preserves the operations of vector addition and scalar multiplication.

In the language of abstract algebra, a linear transformation is a homomorphism of vector spaces.

## Contents

## Definition and first consequences[edit | edit source]

Let*V* and *W* be vector spaces over the same field *K*. A function *f* : *V* → *W* is said to be a *linear transformation* if for any two vectors *x* and *y* in *V* and any scalar *a* in *K*, the following two conditions are satisfied:

additivity | |

homogeneity |

This is equivalent to requiring that for any vectors *x*_{1}, ..., *x*_{m} and scalars *a*_{1}, ..., *a*_{m}, the equality

holds.

Occasionally, *V* and *W* can be considered to be vector spaces over different fields. It is then necessary to specify which of these ground fields is being used in the definition of "linear". If *V* and *W* are considered as spaces over the field *K* as above, we talk about *K*-linear maps. For example, the conjugation of complex numbers is an **R**-linear map **C** → **C**, but it is not **C**-linear.

A linear transformation from *V* to *K* (with *K* viewed as a vector space over itself) is called a linear functional.

It immediately follows from the definition that *f*(0) = 0. Hence linear transformations are sometimes called **homogeneous linear transformations**.

## Examples[edit | edit source]

- If
*A*is an*m*×*n*matrix, then*A*defines a linear transformation from**R**^{n}to**R**^{m}by sending the column vector*x*∈**R**^{n}to the column vector*Ax*∈**R**^{m}. Every linear transformation between finite-dimensional vector spaces arises in this manner; see the following section.

- The integral yields a linear map from the space of all real-valued integrable functions on some interval to
**R**

- Differentiation is a linear transformation from the space of all differentiable functions to the space of all functions.

- If
*V*and*W*are finite-dimensional vector spaces over a field*F*, then functions that map linear transformations*f*:*V*→*W*to dim_{F}(*W*)-by-dim_{F}(*V*) matrices in the way described in the sequel are themselves linear transformations.

## Matrices[edit | edit source]

If *V* and *W* are finite-dimensional, and one has chosen bases in those spaces, then every linear transformation from *V* to *W* can be represented as a matrix; this is useful because it allows concrete calculations. Conversely, matrices yield examples of linear transformations: if *A* is a real *m*-by-*n* matrix, then the rule
*f*(*x*) = *Ax* describes a linear transformation **R**^{n} → **R**^{m} (see Euclidean space).

Let be a basis for *V*. Then every vector *v* in *V* is uniquely determined by the coefficients in

If *f* : *V* → *W* is a linear transformation,

which implies that the function f is entirely determined by the values of

Now let be a basis for *W*. Then we can represent the values of each as

Thus, the function *f* is entirely determined by the values of

If we put these values into an *m*-by-*n* matrix *M*, then we can conveniently use it to compute the value of *f* for any vector in *V*. For if we place the values of in an n-by-1 matrix *C*, we have *MC* = f(*v*).

A single linear transformation may be represented by many matrices. This is because the values of the elements of the matrix depend on the bases that are chosen.

## Examples of linear transformation matrices[edit | edit source]

Some special cases of linear transformations of two-dimensional space **R**^{2} are illuminating:

- rotation by 90 degrees counterclockwise:
- reflection against the
*x*axis: - scaling by 2 in all directions:
- squeezing:
- projection onto the
*y*axis:

## Forming new linear transformations from given ones[edit | edit source]

The composition of linear transformations is linear: if *f* : *V* → *W* and *g* : *W* → *Z* are linear, then so is *g* o *f* : *V* → *Z*.

If *f*_{1} : *V* → *W* and *f*_{2} : *V* → *W* are linear, then so is their sum *f*_{1} + *f*_{2} (which is defined by (*f*_{1} + *f*_{2})(*x*) = *f*_{1}(*x*) + *f*_{2}(*x*)).

If *f* : *V* → *W* is linear and *a* is an element of the ground field *K*, then the map *af*, defined by (*af*)(*x*) = *a* (*f*(*x*)), is also linear.

Thus the set *L*(*V*,*W*) of linear maps from *V* to *W* forms a vector space over *K* itself. Furthermore, in the case that *V*=*W*, this vector space is an associative algebra under composition of maps, since the composition of two linear maps is again a linear map, and the composition of maps is always associative. This case is discussed in more detail below.

Given again the finite dimensional case, if bases have been chosen, then the composition of linear maps corresponds to the matrix multiplication, the addition of linear maps corresponds to the matrix addition, and the multiplication of linear maps with scalars corresponds to the multiplication of matrices with scalars.

## Endomorphisms and automorphisms[edit | edit source]

A linear transformation *f* : *V* → *V* is an endomorphism of *V*; the set of all such endomorphisms End(*V*) together with addition, composition and scalar multiplication as defined above forms an associative algebra with identity element over the field *K* (and in particular a ring). The identity element of this algebra is the identity map id : *V* → *V*.

A bijective endomorphism of *V* is called an automorphism of *V*. The composition of two automorphisms is again an automorphism, and the set of all automorphisms of *V* forms a group, the automorphism group of *V* which is denoted by Aut(*V*) or GL(*V*).

If *V* has finite dimension *n*, then End(*V*) is isomorphic to the associative algebra of all *n* by *n* matrices with entries in *K*. The automorphism group of *V* is isomorphic to the general linear group GL(*n*, *K*) of all *n* by *n* invertible matrices with entries in *K*.

## Kernel and image[edit | edit source]

If *f* : *V* → *W* is linear, we define the **kernel** and the **image** or **range** of *f* by

ker(*f*) is a subspace of *V* and im(*f*) is a subspace of *W*. The following dimension formula is often useful:

The number dim(im(*f*)) is also called the *rank of f* and written as rk(*f*), or sometimes, ρ(*f*); the number dim(ker(*f*)) is called the *nullity of f* and written as ν(*f*). If *V* and *W* are finite dimensional, bases have been chosen and *f* is represented by the matrix *A*, then the rank and nullity of *f* are equal to the rank and nullity of the matrix *A*, respectively.

A linear transformation *f* is an injection if and only if ker(*f*) = {0}.

## Continuity[edit | edit source]

A *linear operator* between topological vector spaces, for example normed spaces, may also be continuous and therefore be a continuous linear operator. On a normed space, a linear operator is continuous if and only if it is bounded, for example, when the domain is finite-dimensional. If the domain is infinite-dimensional, then there may be discontinuous linear operators. An example of an unbounded, hence not continuous, linear transformation is differentiation, with the maximum norm (a function with small values can have a derivative with large values).

## Applications[edit | edit source]

A specific application of linear transformations is in the field of computational neuroscience. An example of a system being modeled is the innervation of V1 (primary visual cortex) by the retina. This transformation is called the logmap transformation. This kind of transformation is known as a domain coordinate transformation and provides a mathematical model of how neural states can be conferred within the system (CNS and PNS), when a change of state is required, such as from the retina to V1 as previously mentioned.

Another specific application is for geometric transformations, such as those performed in computer graphics, where the translation, rotation and scaling of 2D or 3D objects is performed by the use of a transformation matrix.

Another application of these transformations is in compiler optimizations of nested loop code, and in parallelizing compiler techniques.

## See also[edit | edit source]

- Antilinear map
- Transformation matrix
- Continuous linear operator
- wikibooks:Algebra:Linear transformations
- Neural network
- Computer graphics

## References[edit | edit source]

- Halmos, Paul R.,
*Finite-Dimensional Vector Spaces*, Springer-Verlag, (1993). ISBN 0387900934.

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