MATLAB Lecture 1
1.
Introduction
MATLAB is a sofware package for high performance numerical computation and
visualization. Its name is an abbreviation of
Mat
rix
Lab
oratory.
Perhaps the best introduction to MATLAB is to compare it to Mathematica:
MATLAB
Mathematica
Calculations
Numerical computation
Symbolic computation
Everthing is a ...
Matrix
Function
Functions are ...
Lower case and use parentheses:
Capitalized and use square brackets:
sin(pi/3)
Sin[Pi/3]
To execute a command hit ...
Enter
Shift+Enter
User Interface
More primitive
Slick
Saving your work
Create a diary
Save as a Mathematica notebook
MATLAB is particularly suited for dealing with vectors and matrices.
Creating
these structures is simple when compared with Mathematica. MATLAB also pro
vides tools for data analysis, signal processing, optimization, 2D and 3D graphics
and other types of scientific computation.
MATLAB started out as a numerical computation tool, as opposed to Mathematica
which began as a symbolic algebra tool. What this means is that MATLAB thinks
of
π
as a numerical value 3
.
14159
. . .
by default, while Mathematica thinks of it as
a symbol that can be evaluated numerically. Both packages have had to adapt and
coopt features of one another. So now, MATLAB can also do symbolic calculations,
and Mathematica can do numerical calculations.
2.
Getting Started
To bring up MATLAB, click on Start/All Programs/Matlab
One essential difference between MATLAB and Mathematica is that MATLAB
interacts with the file system.
Note that the upper left hand window is titled
“Current Directory.” This is where MATLAB will load and store files. For example,
user defined functions will be stored in their own files, and session diaries will be
explicitly written to files in that current working directory.
To get to your AFS drive, type W:. Then click on desktop and right click in the
window to create a folder (call this Math 126). Double click on it to work within
that directory. It’s probably a good idea to make subdirectory called “Lecture 1”
inside this.
1
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3.
Help
MATLAB has a build in help function that you may call via the command
help
.
You can ask for help on a specific command by entering
help <command name>
; for
example, “
help exp
”.
You may also click on the ? in the toolbar to bring up the help window, which you
navigate in the usual way.
4.
Matrices
The most important thing to remember in MATLAB is that everything is a matrix.
An
m
×
n
matrix consists of
m
rows and
n
columns, containing a total of
mn
entries.
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 Spring '11
 Johnson
 Math, matlab, Mathematica, Double click, current working directory

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