Mathematics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am self-studying Linear Algebra from Hoffman and Kunze. The Exercise $6$ on page $5$ asks to show that if two homogeneous systems of linear equations in two unknows have the same solutions, then they are equivalent.

Let $\left\{\begin{array}{c} A_{11}x + A_{12}y = 0 \\ A_{21}x + A_{22}y = 0 \\ \vdots\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\, \vdots\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\, \vdots\\ A_{n1}x + A_{n2}y = 0 \end{array}\right.$ and $\left\{\begin{array}{c} B_{11}x + B_{12}y = 0 \\ B_{21}x + B_{22}y = 0 \\ \vdots\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\, \vdots \,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\,\vdots\\ B_{m1}x + B_{m2}y = 0 \end{array}\right.$ be the two homogeneous systems of linear equations in two unknows. I wrote the fisrt equation of first system as linear combination of the equations of the second system and I get the following:

$\left\{\begin{array}{c} c_{1}B_{11}+c_{2}B_{21}+\cdots+c_{m}B_{m1} = A_{11} \\ c_{1}B_{12}+c_{2}B_{22}+\cdots+c_{m}B_{m2} = A_{12} \end{array}\right.$

I know that I am supposed to find $c_{1},\dots,c_{m}$, but all I know so far is the following: The definition of system of linear equations, solution of the system, homogeneous system of linear equations, and equivalent system and the definition of equivalent system:

Two systems of linear equations are equivalent if each equation in each system is a linear combination of the equations in the other system.

After bgins and Parsa's hints, I was able to solve this question.

PS. The same question appears here, but it was solved by using more than I have so far in the book.

share|cite|improve this question
$A$ and $B$ are $n\times2$ matrices. Let $A_i,~B_i$ be their columns for $i=1,2$. Then $A_1x+A_2y=0 \iff B_1x+B_2y=0$. Hmmm. Page 5? So you don't yet know about rank and nullity? Consider two cases: the only solution is $(0,0)$, and there are solutions with $x$ or $y$ nonzero. – bgins Feb 18 '12 at 15:24
@bgins: It is just the beginning of the book! I will work on your suggestion. – spohreis Feb 18 '12 at 15:44
How many independent equations can you have in a system with two variables? Either there are two, in which case all the others can be reduced to $0x+0y=0$ and are irrelevant, or there is one, in which case either $x=0$ (i.e. the columns $A_2=B_2=0$), $y=0$ (i.e. $A_1=B_1=0$), or or $y=ax$ (in which case $A_1=-A_2$ and $B_1=-B_2$), or else there are none, so that $A=B=0$ and all $(x,y)$ are solutions. – bgins Feb 18 '12 at 16:01
Why don't you induct on $n$? – Parsa Feb 18 '12 at 20:55
@Parsa: It worked out! – spohreis Feb 19 '12 at 14:19

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.