What the does $\mathbb{R^n}$ mean? For example if something says that it is a transformation $T:\mathbb{R}^2 \rightarrow \mathbb{R}^3$. Does that mean that $\mathbb{R}^2 = 2 \times 2$ matrix? and that $\mathbb{R}^3 = 3 \times 3 $ matrix?

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    $\begingroup$ No. The domain of $T$ is a vector in $R^2$ and the range of $T$ is a vector in $R^3$. $T$ can be viewed as a matrix in $R^{3\times 2}$. $\endgroup$ Jul 7 '16 at 19:32
  • $\begingroup$ You say you don't understand what $\mathbb{R}^n$ means. Do you have difficulty with the real plane (ie $\mathbb{R}^2$) or real 3D space (ie $\mathbb{R}^3$) ? $\endgroup$
    – almagest
    Jul 7 '16 at 19:33
  • $\begingroup$ $\mathbb{R}^n$ is the set of all points in $n$-dimensional space. $\mathbb{R}^2$ is not a $2\times2$ matrix, but the transformation $T$ can be represented by a $3\times 2$ matrix. $\endgroup$
    – JasonM
    Jul 7 '16 at 19:33
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    $\begingroup$ @XianjinYang : ​ "The domain of $T$ is" $\mathbb{R}^2$ itself, not "a vector in $R^2$". ​ ​ ​ ​ $\endgroup$
    – user57159
    Jul 7 '16 at 19:36
  • $\begingroup$ @RickyDemer Thanks for the correction. I mean the elements in the domain. $\endgroup$ Jul 7 '16 at 19:40

No, $\mathbb{R}^2$ means the space of $2$ dimensional vectors. For example $$ \pmatrix{7 \\ -2} $$ is an example of an element in $\mathbb{R}^2$.

More generally $\mathbb{R}^n$ means the space of all $n$-dimensional vectors. So, these are vectors have have $n$ coordinates.

The key thing is that $\mathbb{R}^n$ is a vector space. All this means is that you have an addition of the vectors and you have a scalar multiplication.

Now, you might also view $\mathbb{R}^n$ as points in a space. But it looks like you are thinking about $\mathbb{R}^n$ as vector spaces since you talk about linear transformations. A linear transformation $T$ between two vector spaces $\mathbb{R}^n$ and $\mathbb{R}^m$, written $T: \mathbb{R}^n \to \mathbb{R}^m$ just means that $T$ is a function that takes as input $n$-dimensional vectors and gives you $m$-dimensional vectors. The function needs to satisfy certain properties to be a linear transformation. These properties are

  1. $T(v + w) = T(v) + T(w)$
  2. $T(av) = aT(v)$

for all $v,w\in \mathbb{R}^n$ and $a$ a real number.

When you have a linear transformation $T : \mathbb{R}^n \to \mathbb{R}^m$, then you can find a unique matrix $A$ such that $$ T(v) = Av $$ Here, $A$ is an $m\times n$ matrix. We need this for the product $Av$ to make sense and to get $Av\in \mathbb{R}^m$.

  • $\begingroup$ So if it said $\mathbb{R}^3$ then it would be a $3 \times 1 $ matrix right? $\endgroup$
    – Yusha
    Jul 7 '16 at 19:42
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    $\begingroup$ @Yusha: You can also view $\mathbb{R}^n$ as $n\times 1$ matrices. That is right. I would usually want to think about them as vectors. $\endgroup$
    – Thomas
    Jul 7 '16 at 19:42

The symbol $\Bbb R^n$ refers to $n$-dimensional Euclidean space. As a set, it is the collection of all $n$-tuples of real numbers. That is, $$ \Bbb R^n=\{(x_1,\dotsc,x_n):x_1,\dotsc,x_n\in\Bbb R\} $$ For example $\Bbb R^2$ is the collection of all pairs of real numbers $(x,y)$, sometimes referred to as the Euclidean plane. The set $\Bbb R^3$ is the collection of all triples of numbers $(x,y,z)$, sometimes referred to as $3$-space.

Now, it is a fact that every linear transformation $T:\Bbb R^n\to\Bbb R^m$ is of the form $T(x)=Ax$ for some $m\times n$ matrix $A$.

In general, a function $F:\Bbb R^n\to\Bbb R^m$ is of the form $$ F(x_1,\dotsc,x_n)=\bigl(f_1(x_1,\dotsc,x_n),\dotsc,f_m(x_1,\dotsc,x_n)\bigr) $$ where $f_1,\dotsc,f_m$ are functions $\Bbb R^n\to\Bbb R$.


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