Linear Transformations
Prerequisites
None
Learning Objectives
 Give the formula for a linear transformation
 Determine whether a transformation is linear
 Describe what is linear about a linear transformation
Often it is necessary to transform data from one
measurement scale to another. For example, you might want to convert
height measured in feet to height measured in inches. Table 1
shows the heights of five people measured in both feet and inches.
To transform feet to inches, you simply multiply by 12. Similarly,
to transform inches to feet, you divide by 12.
Some conversions require that you multiply by a
number and then add a second number. A good example of this is
the transformation between degrees Centigrade and degrees Fahrenheit.
Table 2 shows the temperatures of 5 US cities in the earlier afternoon
of November 16, 2002.
The formula to transform Centigrade to Fahrenheit
is:
F = 1.8C + 32
The formula for converting from Fahrenheit to
Centigrade is
C = 0.5556F  17.778
The transformation consists of multiplying by
a constant and then adding a second constant. For the conversion
from Centigrade to Fahrenheit, the first constant is 1.8 and
the second is 32.
Figure 1 shows a plot of degrees Centigrade as a
function of degrees Fahrenheit. Notice that the points form a
straight line. This will always be the case if the transformation
from one scale to another consists of multiplying by one constant
and then adding a second constant. Such transformations are therefore
called linear
transformations.
