ASRM 406: Linear Algebra with Financial Applications

Fall 2019: August 26 - December 11

Description and Prerequisite

"Emphasizes techniques of linear algebra and introductory and advanced applications to actuarial science, finance and economics. Topics include linear equations, matrix theory, vector spaces, linear transformations, eigenvalues and eigenvectors and inner product spaces. In addition, current research topics such as modeling, data mining, and generalized linear models are explored.

3 or 4 undergraduate hours. 3 or 4 graduate hours. Credit is not given for both ASRM 406 (formerly MATH 410) and any of MATH 125, MATH 225, MATH 415 or MATH 416. 4 hours of credit requires approval of the instructor and department with completion of additional work of substance. Prerequisite: MATH 241; ASRM 210 (formerly MATH 210) or FIN 221; or consent of instructor." (UIUC Course Catalog)


Instructor: Jer-Chin (Luke) Chuang
Office: 238 Illini Hall (corner of S. Wright St. and E. John St., across from Altgeld Hall)
E-mail: jchuang [at] illinois [dot] edu please add [asrm406] in subject line when emailing me
Homepage: (Current course syllabi are linked at this webpage.)

Teaching Assistant: Nargiz Alekberova
E-mail: nargiz2 [at] illinois [dot] edu
Office Hours: W 2-4pm in 1 Illini Hall except for the following dates Sep 18 (443 Altgeld Hall), Oct 16 (445 Altgeld Hall), and Nov 13 (445 Altgeld Hall)

Grader: Jun Lee
Email: junkyul2 [at] illinois [dot] edu

Class Location and Time

TR 3:30-4:50 PM Location: 160 English Building

Textbook and Coverage

We will primarily follow the lecture notes of Alfred Chong (available on Moodle, used with kind permission). Time permitting, additional topics on handouts may be covered.

A link to a tentative weekly schedule.

Please enroll yourself in the online discussion for this course at Piazza.

We will be using the R statistical language for computer assignment(s).

Students may also consider the computer algebra system Mathematica. UIUC students may access the program online for free, or download a copy for a fee.

Course Objectives and Outcomes

Students will become familiar with the basic concepts of linear algebra in both geometric and algebraic settings and be comfortable moving between these two viewpoints. Several applications to finance and statistics will also be discussed.


There are four types of assessments: paper homework, quizzes, computer assignments, and exams (both midterms and final).
Student scores will be based on homework (10%, lowest 2 dropped), quizzes (altogether 5%, lowest 2 dropped), computer assignments (altogether 5%), three midterms (each 20% but lowest only 10%) and a final exam (30%). Midterms and the final are cumulative, closed book and closed notes. Partial credit may be awarded on a question-by-question basis.

Scores are visible via Moodle using your NETID login. Cutoffs for grades will be determined at the semester's end to align with historic distribution for this course.

Important: All grading inquiries must be made within 5 working days from the return of the assessment (or announcement of its availability for pick-up). No score changes will be made to the assessment thereafter.

You must bring your student ID card to each in-class assessment. I reserve the right to check I.D. cards before/during any semester or final exam. You are requested to turn off and store away all cellphones during midterms and final exams.

I construe your volitional enrollment at UIUC as tacit affirmation to abide by UIUC's rigorous standards of academic integrity. The following affirmation will be printed on each midterm and the final exam: "In submiting this work, I have upheld UIUC policies on academic integrity." You must sign this affirmation. Submitted exams (whether midterm or final) without your signature will receive no credit.

Classroom and Course Policies

Please turn OFF the wireless/cellular feature of all electronics (cell phones, computers, PDAs, e-Readers, etc.) and refrain from eating and drinking during the lectures. During the lectures, please be mindful of the students around you and refrain from disruptive or distracting behaviors such as loud talking, joking, non-course related conversations, etc.. Please work together to foster a conducive learning environment for all students present. Those who persist in rude behaviors will be asked to leave the lecture.

There will be no make-up for any assessment (including homework) except for university-sanctioned absences and religious holidays. Unless due to sudden illness, I must be notified at least a week before the date. In case of a missed exam/quiz, I reserve the right to choose one of the three following options: make-up exam/quiz, the average of your other exams/quizzes, or your final exam score.

Getting Help

Note: If you have received help from either office hours, please consider posting a reply to similar questions at Piazza so everyone can benefit. The process of explaining a concept or problem helps solidify your own understanding and benefits others simultaneously.

Recommendations for Learning

Some Important Links