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Seeking help if anyone could explain what is going under the hood.

How multiplication of x component with y component relates. It is said that you cannot compare apples with oranges but this multiplication of x component with y component appears to contradict. So while it is understood 1x2 (1x2+2x1) of the first row, first column as multiplication between x components, how 2 (x component) x 1 (y component) relates. It appears dot multiplication but an explanation will help.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Well, the entries of the matrices are all (real) numbers, they can be all considered as 'apples'. $\endgroup$
    – Berci
    Oct 25 at 8:40
  • $\begingroup$ I meant x component and y component. $\endgroup$ Oct 25 at 9:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Berci Indeed x + y is addition of apples and oranges. $\endgroup$ Oct 25 at 12:22
  • $\begingroup$ From my novice status in mathematics, I believe that matrix multiplication should have been called with a different name, such as matrix transformation. This might reduce the otherwise confusion when we begin with an expectation of plain multiplication. $\endgroup$ Oct 26 at 1:56

For me, it's good to follow the way mathematicians have hopefully discovered it (Cayley in particular in the 1850s) by considering the matrix product as an operation :

$$\binom{x}{y} \xrightarrow{A=\begin{pmatrix}a&b\\c&d\end{pmatrix}} \binom{p}{q} \xrightarrow{B=\begin{pmatrix}e&f\\g&h\end{pmatrix}} \binom{u}{v}\tag{0}$$

We are going to suppress the intermediate variables $p,q$ by expressing directly $u,v$ as (linear) expressions in variables $x,y$.

(0) means that

$$\binom{p}{q}=\begin{pmatrix}a&b\\c&d\end{pmatrix}\binom{x}{y} \iff \begin{cases}p&=&ax+by\\q&=&cx+dy\end{cases}\tag{1}$$


$$\binom{u}{v}=\begin{pmatrix}e&f\\g&h\end{pmatrix}\binom{p}{q} \iff \begin{cases}u&=&ep+fq\\v&=&gp+hq\end{cases}\tag{2}$$

Now it remains to plug relationships (1) into relationships (2) to get:

$$\begin{cases}u&=&e(ax+by)+f(cx+dy)\\v&=&g(ax+by)+h(cx+dy)\end{cases} \iff $$


where we recognize in red the entries of matrix product $BA$ (not $AB$ because $A$ is applied first, then $B$: we proceed from right to left).

  • $\begingroup$ "where we recognize in red the entries of matrix product BA (not AB because A is applied first, then B: we proceed from right to left)." Could it be further explained for better understanding. $\endgroup$ Oct 26 at 2:03
  • $\begingroup$ A comparison can be made is with composition of functions. For example with affine functions $f(x)=ax+b$ and $g(x)=cx+d$ : $g(f(x))$ means that we apply $f$ at first, then $g$ giving $g(ax+b)=c(ax+b)+d=(ac)x+(cb+d)$ (which is different in general from $f(g(x))=f(cx+d)=a(cx+d)+b=(ac)x°(ad+b)$) $\endgroup$
    – Jean Marie
    Oct 26 at 8:10

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