Python Foundations-8: A Beginner’s Guide to Linear Algebra for Machine Learning with Python

If you’re just joining us for this article “A Beginner’s Guide to Linear Algebra for Machine Learning”, we recommend checking out the introduction in the previous article, which sets the stage for our exploration into the world of linear algebra and its applications in machine learning.


Linear algebra serves as the cornerstone for understanding and implementing various machine learning algorithms. As we embark on this journey through the world of linear algebra, we will explore its fundamental concepts through practical problem-solving using Python. In this article, we present five beginner-level problems along with their Python code and explanations to help you grasp the basics.

Problem 1: Vector Addition as a Guide to linear algebra for machine learning

Vectors, in the context of linear algebra, are fundamental mathematical entities consisting of ordered sets of numbers or elements. Beyond their mathematical utility, vectors have profound physical significance. They represent quantities with both magnitude and direction, making them apt for describing various physical phenomena such as velocity, force, and displacement.

In machine learning, vectors play a crucial role as they are employed to represent features or attributes of data points. Each element in a vector may correspond to a specific characteristic, and the vector as a whole encapsulates the data’s multidimensional nature. This representation allows machine learning algorithms to analyze and make predictions based on the relationships and patterns within the data, showcasing the versatile application of vectors in bridging mathematical concepts with real-world problems in the realm of machine learning.

In the example below, vectors a and b are added to obtain the result vector.

Python code:

import numpy as np

# Define vectors
a = np.array([2, 3])
b = np.array([1, -1])

# Perform vector addition
result = a + b

# Display result
print("Vector Addition Result:", result)

Problem 2: Matrix multiplication as a guide to linear algebra for machine learning

Matrices, structured arrays of numbers arranged in rows and columns, hold physical significance in representing transformations in graphics and physics. In machine learning, matrices efficiently capture and manipulate data, where rows represent individual points and columns signify features. This format is crucial for implementing algorithms, making matrices indispensable in tasks such as regression, classification, and dimensionality reduction, showcasing their essential role in translating theoretical concepts into practical applications.

In this example, matrices A and B are multiplied using to obtain the result matrix.

Python code:

import numpy as np

# Define matrices
A = np.array([[1, 2], [3, 4]])
B = np.array([[5, 6], [7, 8]])

# Perform matrix multiplication
result =, B)

# Display result
print("Matrix Multiplication Result:\n", result)

Problem 3: Solving Linear Equations

Many real-world relationships can be approximated or modeled using linear equations, making them a fundamental tool for data analysis. In the context of machine learning, linear equations are often used to define and represent relationships between input features and output predictions. Linear regression, a widely-used machine learning algorithm, is based on fitting a linear equation to a dataset, allowing for predictions and understanding the underlying patterns in the data. The coefficients in the linear equation represent the model’s parameters, and learning these parameters from data is a fundamental aspect of model training. Linear equations also find applications in optimization problems, where they are used to formulate constraints and objectives. Overall, the significance of linear equations lies in their versatility and effectiveness in modeling relationships within datasets, making them a fundamental tool in the machine learning toolkit.

The np.linalg.solve() function is used to find the solution to a system of linear equations represented by matrices A and b.

Python code:

import numpy as np

# Define coefficients and constants
A = np.array([[2, 3], [4, 5]])
b = np.array([8, 14])

# Solve linear equations
solution = np.linalg.solve(A, b)

# Display solution
print("Linear Equations Solution:", solution)

Problem 4: Eigen values and Eigen vectors

Eigenvalues and eigenvectors are fundamental concepts in linear algebra. In the context of a square matrix, an eigenvector is a non-zero vector that only changes by a scalar factor when a linear transformation is applied, and the corresponding scalar factor is the eigenvalue.

Physically, eigenvectors can represent stable directions in a system, and eigenvalues indicate the scale of the stability. In machine learning, eigenvalues and eigenvectors are pivotal in dimensionality reduction techniques like Principal Component Analysis (PCA). By identifying the principal components (eigenvectors) and their significance (eigenvalues), PCA enables the reduction of feature dimensions while retaining the essential information in the data. This not only aids in data compression but also enhances the efficiency and performance of machine learning algorithms by focusing on the most influential features.

The np.linalg.eig() function is used to compute the eigenvalues and corresponding eigenvectors of a square matrix A.

Python code:

import numpy as np

# Define a matrix
A = np.array([[4, -2], [1, 1]])

# Calculate eigenvalues and eigenvectors
eigenvalues, eigenvectors = np.linalg.eig(A)

# Display results
print("Eigenvalues:", eigenvalues)
print("Eigenvectors:\n", eigenvectors)

Problem 5: Singular Value Decomposition (SVD)

Singular Value Decomposition (SVD) is a powerful technique in linear algebra with significant implications for machine learning.

SVD breaks down a matrix into three constituent matrices – U, S, and Vt, where U and Vt contain orthogonal eigenvectors and S contains singular values. In machine learning, SVD is extensively used for dimensionality reduction and noise reduction in datasets.

The np.linalg.svd() function is employed to decompose a matrix A into the product of three matrices: U, S, and Vt.

Python code:

import numpy as np

# Define a matrix
A = np.array([[1, 2], [3, 4]])

# Perform singular value decomposition
U, S, Vt = np.linalg.svd(A)

# Display results
print("U matrix:\n", U)
print("Singular Values:", S)
print("V transpose matrix:\n", Vt)

This article has provided a hands-on introduction to linear algebra concepts for machine learning beginners. Stay tuned for upcoming articles in this series, where we will delve deeper into advanced topics such as optimization, dimensionality reduction, and applications of linear algebra in machine learning algorithms.

Hope you enjoyed exploring this article “A Beginner’s Guide to Linear Algebra for Machine Learning”. Happy learning!

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