Installation and Configuration¶
Instructions for installation from ITS
The Matlab window has a bunch of sub-windows.
Of these I only keep 3:
- file browser: shows files in current directory
- command window: here you can type commands for interactive calculations
- editor: here you edit program files
Tip: undock the editor, so it sits in its own window.
Options can be set in
preferences as usual (keyboard shortcuts, colors, etc).
Options can also be defined in
startup.m in the home directory. This is where you want to put any code that should run every time Matlab starts.
You also need a startup file for each project, so that Matlab can find your code.
Key Features of Matlab¶
Matlab is a mathematical programming language.
Matlab is interpreted (or just-in-time compiled, as opposed to compiled).
This means that it can be used interactively by typing commands at the prompt
>> in the command window.
But most of your code will be written to program files (matlab
Functions can be run from the command prompt.
Commands are either built-in or written by the user. Every command is a stored in an M-file.
If you type
sum([1,2,3]) at the command prompt, Matlab will look for
sum.m and run it. How does Matlab know where to look? It uses the Matlab Path
It is easy to learn and use.
- The main reason is that Matlab is dynamically typed. That is, a variable can change type as it is modified.
- Arguments are passed to functions without declaring their types.
- The documentation is outstanding.
Matlab has a large standard library.
- But there is little (high quality) user contributed code.
- Most of it lives on the Matlab file exchange. But this is not curated in any way. Use at your own risk.
In the command window, type your commands at the
Matlab returns the answers on the screen.
>> date ans = 26-Jul-2015
Typing date at the command prompt executes the built-in
Tip: When you write your own programs, make sure all names are unique. If you write a function called
date, there will be trouble.
date returns a string containing the date.
Its return value is shown on the screen after
To get rid of the
ans = part, we could use
>> dateString = date; >> disp(dateString); 26-Jul-2015
Note: Matlab displays the result of any command, unless the command is ended with
If you ever see a lot of numbers appearing on the screen “out of nowhere,” you probably forgot the
;at the end of a line.
Matlab has built-in operators for common math operations:
a = 2; b = 7; disp(b*a); 14 y = b ^ a; disp(y); 49
>> sin([1,2]) ans = 0.8415 0.9093
A neat feature: most functions work on arrays of inputs. One command returns the
sin values for many numbers in one fell swoop.