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Next: Exercises Up: MA 1004 Laboratory Previous: Purpose


Maple has several useful functions for working with vectors. This lab provides a brief introduction to the most basic such commands. All of the commands used in this lab come from the Maple linalg package, which must be loaded before any of the commands can be used.

Here is a list of the Maple functions we will be using from this package. Note that these functions form only a small subset of the package, which is designed primarily for linear algebra. Examples for some of the commands are given below, more examples can be found in the help screens for each command. Several of these commands appeared in the previous lab, so you might want to refer back to it.

Used to define a vector.
Adds two vectors or two matrices together.
Multiplies a vector by a scalar or a matrix by a scalar.
Computes the dot product of two vectors.
Computes the cross product of two vectors.
Evaluates expressions involving vectors.
Computes the norm, or magnitude, of a vector. For reasons explained below, the use of this command is not recommended. A better alternative for our purposes is to use the square root of the dot product of a vector with itself. Examples appear below.

The first set of examples below demonstrates how to compute linear combinations of vectors, dot and cross products, magnitudes, and vector components for fixed vectors.

  > with(linalg):

Warning: new definition for   norm
Warning: new definition for   trace

  > a := vector([2,13,-6]);

  > b := vector([5,-4,17]);

  > add(a,b);

  > evalm(5*a-2*b);

  > dotprod(a,b);

  > crossprod(a,b);

  > crossprod(b,a);

  > dotprod(a,crossprod(a,b));

The next two commands show two different ways to compute the magnitude of a vector. The first way uses the norm command. Note the 2 as the second argument of the command. This 2 has to be there, or else Maple uses a different norm than the one we want. The second way, using the fact that , is preferred for reasons given in the examples below dealing with arbitrary vectors.

  > norm(a,2);

  > sqrt(dotprod(a,a));

The final example for fixed vectors shows two methods for computing the vector component of in the direction of . The first method computes a unit vector in the direction of and then applies the formula in the book. The second method uses the equivalent formula

  > a_unit:= evalm(a/sqrt(dotprod(a,a))); 

  > comp_a1 := evalm(dotprod(b,a_unit)*a_unit);

  > comp_a2 := evalm(dotprod(b,a)/dotprod(a,a)*a);

In the next set of examples two arbitrary three-dimensional vectors, and , are defined and then these vectors are used to prove the vector identity

Note that when defining an arbitrary vector, that is, a vector whose components are all variables, you only have to give the dimension of the vector to the vector command. For example, to define a four-dimensional arbitrary vector called the command would be w:= vector(4);.

  > u := vector(3);

  > v := vector(3);

The next two commands show the two ways of computing the magnitude of an arbitrary vector. Note the absolute value signs appearing in the output of the norm command. These appear because Maple is allowing the components of to be complex numbers. The problem is that there is not a simple way to tell Maple that the components of are real numbers. The absolute value signs cause problems in proving vector identities involving real vectors, so you should use the square root of the dot product of a vector with itself to compute the magnitude.

  > norm(u,2);

  > sqrt(dotprod(u,u));

The next few commands show how to prove the vector identity given above. The strategy is to compute both sides of the equation and then compare them. If they are identical, then the equation holds.

  > eq1 := dotprod(evalm(u-v),evalm(u-v));

  > expand(eq1);

  > eq2 := dotprod(u,u)+dotprod(v,v)-2*dotprod(u,v);

  > simplify(eq1-eq2);

next up previous
Next: Exercises Up: MA 1004 Laboratory Previous: Purpose

William W. Farr
Wed Mar 22 12:52:33 EST 1995