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# IFEM: Intro to Matrix-based FEM

**Normal computations run element-by-element **

**Only consider one element at a time**

**Matrix-based computations are holistic**

**One big matrix represents the whole system**
**Solve the matrix == solve the problem**

**Row of matrix solves for “Degree of Freedom”**

**E.g., a node’s X coordinate**
**Typically a row has only a few nonzero entries**
**Around 106 degrees of freedom--106 rows**