What is MATLAB?

MATLAB is a computer program designed for technical calculations. Its name is an abbreviation of "Matrix Laboratory". In this program, matrix computations are implemented in a straightforward manner. However, many other pre-programmed routines are available. In addition, it is possible to implement user-defined calculation routines. MATLAB allows users to implement calculations in relatively short programming time. When these calculations have been performed, they can be visualised by means of several plot-routines.

MATLAB can be extended with so called toolboxes. In general, these are collections of MATLAB functions that are tailored for special classes of problems. The `(Extended) Symbolic Math Toolbox' is an exception. To a great extent, this toolbox consists of ingredients from the computer algebra package MuPAD. MATLAB performs calculations with the aid of matrices. These are rectangular schemes of numbers, which are also called arrays. The `Symbolic Math Toolbox' is quite different from MATLAB itself, since symbolic calculations hardly make any use of arrays. For this reason it is important to know whether a function used is a MATLAB function or a `Symbolic Math Toolbox' function. This will not be completely clear at the outset, but it will become clearer after regular use of MATLAB.

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Esteur 2010-03-22