# How to Perform Basic Matrix Operations

We introduce and define matrices. Furthermore, we learn how to perform matrix addition and matrix subtraction.

A matrix is simply a 2-dimensional vector. While vectors only have one dimension *m*, matrices have 2 dimensions *m* and *n*

A = \begin{bmatrix} a_{11} & ... & a_{1n} \\ ... & ... & ... \\ a_{m1} & ... & a_{mn} \\ \end{bmatrix}

We say A is an m \times n matrix. As you can see, we usually denote matrices with capital letters.

**Matrix Addition**

Adding matrices A and B is achieved by obtaining the element-wise sum C of A and B.

For matrix addition to work, both matrices need two have the same number of dimensions*.*

*In math notation we would say:*

A \in \mathbb{R}^{m \times n} + B \in \mathbb{R}^{m \times n} = C \in \mathbb{R}^{m \times n}

For example:

A + B = \begin{bmatrix} 4 & 4 \\ 5 & 5 \\ \end{bmatrix} + \begin{bmatrix} 1 & 2 \\ 1 & 2 \\ \end{bmatrix} = \begin{bmatrix} 5 & 6 \\ 6 & 7 \\ \end{bmatrix}

*Note: In strict mathematical terms, you can only add two matrices if they have the same dimensions. If you do matrix math in a programming language like python, you’ll encounter a concept called broadcasting. This allows you to perform operations like matrix-vector addition. For example, if you add a matrix A and a dimensional vector b, python will replicate b 4 times, essentially creating a matrix B of the same dimensions of A for the purpose of addition.*

**Matrix Subtraction**

According to the same rules, subtracting matrices A and B is possible by taking:

A \in \mathbb{R}^{m \times n} - B \in \mathbb{R}^{m \times n} = C \in \mathbb{R}^{m \times n}

In our example this gives us the following result:

A - B = \begin{bmatrix} 4 & 4 \\ 5 & 5 \\ \end{bmatrix} - \begin{bmatrix} 1 & 2 \\ 1 & 2 \\ \end{bmatrix} = \begin{bmatrix} 3 & 2 \\ 4 & 3 \\ \end{bmatrix}

**Matrix Division**?

I’ve included division only for completeness’s sake. Mathematically, matrix division is not defined. However, in cases where division would be required, we usually invert a matrix.

This post is part of a series on linear algebra for machine learning. To read other posts in this series, go to the index.