 # System of linear equations

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In mathematics, a system of linear equations (or linear system) is a collection of one or more linear equations involving the same variables. For example,

${\begin{cases}3x+2y-z=1\\2x-2y+4z=-2\\-x+{\frac {1}{2}}y-z=0\end{cases}}$  A linear system in three variables determines a collection of planes The intersection point is the solution.

is a system of three equations in the three variables x, y, z. A solution to a linear system is an assignment of values to the variables such that all the equations are simultaneously satisfied. A solution to the system above is given by the ordered triple

$(x,y,z)=(1,-2,-2),$ since it makes all three equations valid. The word "system" indicates that the equations should be considered collectively, rather than individually.

Linear systems are the basis and a fundamental part of linear algebra, a subject used in most modern mathematics. Computational algorithms for finding the solutions are an important part of numerical linear algebra, and play a prominent role in engineering, physics, chemistry, computer science, and economics. A system of non-linear equations can often be approximated by a linear system (see linearization), a helpful technique when making a mathematical model or computer simulation of a relatively complex system.

Very often, and in this article, the coefficients of the equations are real or complex numbers and the solutions are searched in the same set of numbers, but the theory and the algorithms apply for coefficients and solutions in any field. For solutions in an integral domain like the ring of the integers, or in other algebraic structures, other theories have been developed, see Linear equation over a ring. Integer linear programming is a collection of methods for finding the "best" integer solution (when there are many). Gröbner basis theory provides algorithms when coefficients and unknowns are polynomials. Tropical geometry is another example of linear algebra in a more exotic structure.

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