# Vector space/Linear independence/Introduction/Section

## Definition

Let ${\displaystyle {}K}$ be a field, and let ${\displaystyle {}V}$ be a ${\displaystyle {}K}$-vector space. A family of vectors ${\displaystyle {}v_{i}}$, ${\displaystyle {}i\in I}$, (where ${\displaystyle {}I}$ denotes a finite index set) is called linearly independent, if an equation of the form

${\displaystyle \sum _{i\in I}s_{i}v_{i}=0{\text{ with }}s_{i}\in K}$

is only possible when ${\displaystyle {}s_{i}=0}$

for all ${\displaystyle {}i}$.

If a family is not linear independent, then it is called linearly dependent. A linear combination ${\displaystyle {}\sum _{i\in I}s_{i}v_{i}=0}$ is called a representation of the null vector. It is called the trivial representation, if all coefficients ${\displaystyle {}s_{i}}$ equal ${\displaystyle {}0}$, and, if at least one coefficient is not ${\displaystyle {}0}$, a nontrivial representation of the null vector. A family of vectors is linearly independent, if and only if one can represent with it the null vector only in the trivial way. This is equivalent with the property that no vector of the family can be expressed as a linear combination by the others.

## Example

The standard vectors in ${\displaystyle {}K^{n}}$ are linearly independent. A representation

${\displaystyle {}\sum _{i=1}^{n}s_{i}e_{i}=0\,}$

just means

${\displaystyle {}s_{1}{\begin{pmatrix}1\\0\\\vdots \\0\end{pmatrix}}+s_{2}{\begin{pmatrix}0\\1\\\vdots \\0\end{pmatrix}}+\cdots +s_{n}{\begin{pmatrix}0\\0\\\vdots \\1\end{pmatrix}}={\begin{pmatrix}0\\0\\\vdots \\0\end{pmatrix}}\,.}$

The ${\displaystyle {}i}$-th row yields directly ${\displaystyle {}s_{i}=0}$.

## Example

The three vectors

${\displaystyle {\begin{pmatrix}3\\3\\3\end{pmatrix}},\,\,{\begin{pmatrix}0\\4\\5\end{pmatrix}}\,{\text{ and }}\,{\begin{pmatrix}4\\8\\9\end{pmatrix}}}$

are linearly dependent. The equation

${\displaystyle {}4{\begin{pmatrix}3\\3\\3\end{pmatrix}}+3{\begin{pmatrix}0\\4\\5\end{pmatrix}}-3{\begin{pmatrix}4\\8\\9\end{pmatrix}}={\begin{pmatrix}0\\0\\0\end{pmatrix}}\,}$

is a nontrivial representation of the null vector.

## Lemma

Let ${\displaystyle {}K}$ be a field, let ${\displaystyle {}V}$ be a ${\displaystyle {}K}$-vector space, and let ${\displaystyle {}v_{i}}$, ${\displaystyle {}i\in I}$,

be a family of vectors in ${\displaystyle {}V}$. Then the following statements hold.
1. If the family is linearly independent, then for each subset ${\displaystyle {}J\subseteq I}$, also the family ${\displaystyle {}v_{i}}$ , ${\displaystyle {}i\in J}$, is linearly independent.
2. The empty family is linearly independent.
3. If the family contains the null vector, then it is not linearly independent.
4. If a vector appears several times in the family, then the family is not linearly independent.
5. A single vector ${\displaystyle {}v}$ is linearly independent if and only if ${\displaystyle {}v\neq 0}$.
6. Two vectors ${\displaystyle {}v}$ and ${\displaystyle {}u}$ are linearly independent if and only if ${\displaystyle {}u}$ is not a scalar multiple of ${\displaystyle {}v}$ and vice versa.

### Proof

${\displaystyle \Box }$

## Remark

The vectors ${\displaystyle {}v_{1}={\begin{pmatrix}a_{11}\\\vdots \\a_{m1}\end{pmatrix}},\ldots ,v_{n}={\begin{pmatrix}a_{1n}\\\vdots \\a_{mn}\end{pmatrix}}\in K^{m}}$ are linearly dependent, if and only if the homogeneous linear system

${\displaystyle {\begin{matrix}a_{11}x_{1}+a_{12}x_{2}+\cdots +a_{1n}x_{n}&=&0\\a_{21}x_{1}+a_{22}x_{2}+\cdots +a_{2n}x_{n}&=&0\\\vdots &\vdots &\vdots \\a_{m1}x_{1}+a_{m2}x_{2}+\cdots +a_{mn}x_{n}&=&0\end{matrix}}}$

has a nontrivial solution.