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MATLAB stands for MATrix LABoratory (see wikipedia ) and is a commercial software application written by The MathWorks, Inc. When you first use MATLAB, you can think of it as a glorified calculator allowing you to perform engineering calculations and plot data. However, MATLAB is more than an advanced scientific calculator, for example MATLAB's sophisticated numerical computation environment also allows us to analyze data, simulate engineering systems, document and share our code with others.
MATLAB has become a defacto standard in many fields of engineering and science. Even a casual exploration of MATLAB should unveil its computational power however a closer look at MATLAB's graphics and data analysis tools as well as interaction with other applications and programing languages prove why MATLAB is a very strong application for technical computing.
The standard MATLAB installation includes graphics features to visualize engineering and scientific data in 2-D and 3-D plots. We can interactivity build graphs and generate MATLAB command output that can be saved for use in the future. The saved-instructions can be called again with different data set to build new plots. The plots created with MATLAB can be exported in various file formats (e.g. .jpg, .png) to embed in Microsoft Word documents or PowerPoint slideshows.
MATLAB also contains interactive tools to explore and analyze data. For example, we can visualize data with one of the many plotting routines, zoom in to plots to take measurements, perform statistical calculations, fit curves to data and evaluate the obtained expression for a desired value.
MATLAB interacts with other applications (e.g. Microsoft Excel) and can be called from C code, C++ or Fortran programming language.
To use MATLAB, it must be installed on your computer and you can start it just like you start any application on your system or you must have access to a network where it is available.
In POWR 3307, we will use MATLAB by accessing the BCIT network. The network access is platform independent, that is, we can run MATLAB under Mac OS X or Microsoft Windows operating systems through a web browser. The following links provide instructions on how to access and use BCIT's AppsAnywhere service:
Configuring AppsAnywhere on an Apple Macintosh
Configuring AppsAnywhere in Windows 7
How to open and save files in AppsAnywhere when logging in from a Macintosh
How to open and save files in AppsAnywhere when logging in from Windows
When you start the MATLAB program, it displays the MATLAB desktop. The desktop is a set of tools (graphical user interfaces or GUIs) for managing files, variables, and applications associated with MATLAB. The first time you start MATLAB, the desktop appears with the default layout, as shown in the following illustration.
The Command Window is where we execute MATLAB commands. We enter statements at the Command Window prompt. The prompt can be any one of the following:
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