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Math245 Lab set #1
Spring 2009
Introduction to Matlab Basics 1
Matlab desktop
1. Variable assignment and arithmetic operations
You can create any variables by assigning values to it in the form:
(your variable name ) = (expression)
General rule here is the notation " = " is NOT the same as the mathematical equality.
" = " is called
assignment operator. Your specified (expression) in rhs is assigned to (your specified variable name). Like
using your calculators, you can do arithmetic operations by using arithmetic operators, i.e., + : addition,  :
subtraction, * : multiplication, / : division, and ^ : exponentation.
You can also use standard mathematical
functions (e.g., sin, cos, exp, tanh, etc.) provided in Matlab package.
Example 1:
a = 1.0
a =
1
Page 1
Command window
(you put matlab
command in here)
Command history
window (shows
history of
command)
File list of current
working directory
Current working
directory
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Spring 2009
a = a + 1
% This statement assigns "a+1" to "a". ("a" is renewed by the value "a+1")
a =
2
pi
% π is already defined in Matlab package.
ans =
3.1416
c = cos(a*pi)^2 + exp(a/2.0) – 1.0
% exp(a/2) means
/ 2
a
e
c =
2.7183
For more digits, use format or vpa command.
format long
c =
2.71828182845905
Vpa(c,30)
ans =
2.71828182845904553488480814849
So far we have created variables a, c and ans in Matlab work space (computer memory). To check what
variables we have in the work space, just type ‘who’ or ‘whos’.
who
Your variables are:
a
ans
c
whos
Name
Size
Bytes
Class
a
1x1
8
double array
ans
1x1
8
double array
c
1x1
8
double array
Grand total is 3 elements using 24 bytes
To clear all the variables in the work space you simply put ‘clear’ command.
clear
Then after putting ‘who’ command, no variables are listed, because we cleared all variables already.
who
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 Spring '07
 Alexander
 Math, matlab

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