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Set of numbers arranged in rows and columns to form a rectangular array. Matrix elements may also be differential operators, vectors, or functions. Matrices have wide applications in engineering, physics, economics, and statistics, as well as in various branches of mathematics. They are usually first encountered in the study of systems of equations represented by matrix equations of the form Ax = B, which may be solved by finding the inverse of matrix A or by using an algebraic method based on its determinant.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on matrix, visit Britannica.com.