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What is MATLAB?

MATLAB is a high-performance language for technical computing.

It integrates computation, visualization, and programming in an easy-to-use environment where problems and solutions are expressed in familiar mathematical notation.

Typical uses include:

  1. Math and computation

  2. Algorithm development

  3. Modeling, simulation, and prototyping

  4. Data analysis, exploration, and visualization

  5. Scientific and engineering graphics

  6. Application development, including Graphical User Interface building.

Features of MATLAB
  • It is a high-level language for numerical computation, visualization and application development.

  • It also provides an interactive environment for iterative exploration, design and problem solving.

  • It provides vast library of mathematical functions for linear algebra, statistics, Fourier analysis, filtering, optimization, numerical integration and solving ordinary differential equations.

  • It provides built-in graphics for visualizing data and tools for creating custom plots.

  • MATLAB's programming interface gives development tools for improving code quality maintainability and maximizing performance.

  • It provides tools for building applications with custom graphical interfaces.

  • It provides functions for integrating MATLAB based algorithms with external applications and languages such as C, Java, .NET and Microsoft Excel.

How does Matlab make Working so Easy?

It makes your code fast. Your code is compiled using JIT- just-in-time compiler, library calls are optimized and tasks to perform math operations are distributed among the computer’s cores. With Matlab, one can run algorithms in parallel making the execution faster. As compared to Java, the development of algorithms in Matlab is much faster and more robust. It allows you to load data from different sources and visualize them. Matlab’s IDE provides access to interactive applications that enable you to perform computational operations interactively by providing you visuals of these operations. Allowing you to visualize how different algorithms interpret your data. One could also design their own customized applications as well as use applications designed by other Matlab users.

MATLAB is an interactive system whose basic data element is an array that does not require dimensioning.

This allows you to solve many technical computing problems, especially those with matrix and vector formulations, in a fraction of the time it would take to write a program in a scalar noninteractive language such as C or Fortran.

The name MATLAB stands for matrix laboratory. MATLAB was originally written to provide easy access to matrix software developed by the LINPACK and EISPACK projects, which together represent the state-of-the-art in software for matrix computation.

MATLAB has evolved over a period of years with input from many users. In university environments, it is the standard instructional tool for introductory and advanced courses in mathematics, engineering, and science.

In industry, MATLAB is the tool of choice for high-productivity research, development, and analysis.

MATLAB features a family of application-specific solutions called toolboxes. Very important to most users of MATLAB, toolboxes allow you to learn and apply specialized technology. Toolboxes are comprehensive collections of

MATLAB functions (M-files) that extend the MATLAB environment to solve particular classes of problems. Areas in which toolboxes are available include signal processing, control systems, neural networks, fuzzy logic, wavelets, simulation, and many others.

The MATLAB System:

Required skills:

In order to get started with Matlab, one should have knowledge of basic object-oriented programming language and be aware of Matlab’s syntax. Have a good knowledge of the workings of Simulink. One should also possess a good understanding of advanced mathematics. Being familiar with its set of libraries and packages are required to carry out various mathematical operations. Knowing how to use the various built-in tools provided by the Matlab IDE to make one’s work faster.

The MATLAB language.

This is a high-level matrix/array language with control flow statements, functions, data structures, input/output, and object-oriented programming features. It allows both “programming in the small” to rapidly create quick and dirty throw-away programs, and “programming in the large” to create complete large and complex application programs.

The MATLAB working environment.

This is the set of tools and facilities that you work with as the MATLAB user or programmer. It includes facilities for managing the variables in your workspace and importing and exporting data. It also includes tools for developing, managing, debugging, and profiling M-files, MATLAB’s applications.

Why do we need Matlab?

  1. By using toolboxes one could greatly enhance Matlab’s functionalities. For example, Statistics Toolbox facilitates specialized statistical manipulation of data, Excel link lets the data to be written in a format which is readable by Excel.

  2. MATLAB considers every single data element as a matrix. For example, an integer would be treated as a matrix of one row and one column. It provides built-in functions for matrix-based operations such as matrix addition, multiplication, inversion, etc.

  3. It considerably reduces the size of the code by using Vectorized operations.

  4. Simulink – Matlab’s graphics system provides optimized output for interaction. Making it easier to plot data and allowing one to customize its size and color.

Handle Graphics.

This is the MATLAB graphics system. It includes high-level commands for two-dimensional and three-dimensional data visualization, image processing, animation, and presentation graphics. It also includes low-level commands that allow you to fully customize the appearance of graphics as well as to build complete Graphical User Interfaces on your MATLAB applications.

The MATLAB mathematical function library.

This is a vast collection of computational algorithms ranging from elementary functions like sum, sine, cosine, and complex arithmetic, to more sophisticated functions like matrix inverse, matrix eigenvalues, Bessel functions, and fast Fourier transforms.

The MATLAB Application Program Interface (API).

This is a library that allows you to write C and Fortran programs that interact with MATLAB. It include facilities for calling routines from MATLAB (dynamic linking), calling MATLAB as a computational engine, and for reading and writing MAT-files.

The basic unit with which we work in MATLAB is the matrix. We solve problems by manipulating matrices, and operators are the primary means by which we manipulate them. We will learn how to define matrices, extract parts of them and combine them to form new matrices. We will learn how to use operators to add, subtract, multiply, and divide matrices, and we will learn that there are several different types of multiplication and division.

It is compatible to work on Windows, MacOS and Linux operating systems. The latest release of Matlab was on 20th March 2019. Matlab is licensed software, however, it provides a trial period of 30 days free of cost.


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