Why Is Dot Product Defined and Calculated That Way

Hongtao Hao / 2022-08-27


Suppose we have:

$$\vec{a} = \begin{bmatrix} a_x \\ a_y \end{bmatrix}$$

$$\vec{b} = \begin{bmatrix} b_x \\ b_y \end{bmatrix}$$

I am wondering why $\vec{a} \cdot \vec{b} = a_x b_x + a_y b_y$.

Let’s prove this by having a concrete example:

$$\vec{a} = \begin{bmatrix} 0 \\ 3 \end{bmatrix}$$

$$\vec{b} = \begin{bmatrix} 1 \\ 3 \end{bmatrix}$$

If you are familiar with linear algebra, you’ll know that

$$\vec{a}\cdot \vec{b} = ||\vec{a}||\cdot ||\vec{b}|| \cdot \cos \theta$$

If you don’t know why, read here .

We have:

  • $||\vec{a}|| = 3$

  • $||\vec{b}|| = \sqrt{10}$

  • $\cos \theta = \frac{3}{\sqrt{10}}$

Therefore, we have:

$$\vec{a}\cdot \vec{b} = ||\vec{a}||\cdot ||\vec{b}|| \cdot \cos \theta = 3 \times \sqrt{10} \times \frac{3}{\sqrt{10}} = 9$$

Given that

$$\vec{a} = \begin{bmatrix} 0 \\ 3 \end{bmatrix}$$

$$\vec{a} = \begin{bmatrix} 1 \\ 3 \end{bmatrix}$$

We can conclude that

$$\vec{a} \cdot \vec{b} = a_x b_x + a_y b_y$$.

#ML

Last modified on 2022-10-01