Updated March 18, 2023
Introduction to Matlab
Matlab or Matrix Laboratory is a high-level programming language consisting of an interactive environment mainly used for numeric computation, programming, and visualization. It has been developed by MathWorks. The basic functions of Matlab are plotting of functions and data, the creation of user interfaces, matrix manipulations. It also provides support for interfacing with other programming languages in C, C++, Fortran, and Java. Besides, it is also used to analyze data, create models and applications, and also develop algorithms. Along with all this, introduction to Matlab also provides numerous built-in functions for mathematical operations involving numerous calculations, performing numerical methods, generating plots, and a lot of other functions. Matlab also has a very good scope in the automotive domain using Rapid control Prototyping or RCP used extensively in medical, automotive, and aerospace domains.
Main components / highlights
In the above section, we studied the introduction to Matlab, so now we’re going to learn the components of Matlab. Matlab provides a lot of functionalities that can help in computational mathematics. Below are the most common functions and mathematical calculations used in Matlab –
- Dealing with Matrices and Arrays
- 2-D and 3-D Plotting and graphics
- Linear Algebra
- Algebraic Equations
- Non-linear Functions
- Data Analysis
- Calculus and Differential Equations
- Numerical Calculations
- Curve Fitting
- Various other special functions
Matlab is a versatile tool designed for computational mathematics and supports lots of other operations. Below given are a few of the characteristics that make Matlab an intelligent tool –
- Matlab contents are a huge library of built-in functions providing support for various mathematical functions like filtering, optimization, Fourier analysis, linear algebra, statistics, numerical integration, and solving differential equations.
- Matlab is a high-level language used for visualization, application development, and numerical computation.
- Matlab provides support for creating custom plots and data visualization with its built-in support for graphics.
- Matlab also supports an iterative environment helping to design and problem solving along with iterative exploration.
- Matlab provides integration support with other languages like C, Java, Microsoft Excel, and .NET for integrating Matlab-based algorithms with external applications.
- With its uniquely designed programming interface, Matlab helps its users with development tools for maximizing performance and improving code maintainability.
- Matlab also supports building applications with custom graphical interfaces.
Applications of Matlab
As we discussed in the introduction to Matlab, we will now learn about Matlab’s applications which are as follows: Matlab is widely used in the industry as a tool for mathematical computation and different streams of studies like physics chemistry, engineering, mathematics, Etc. The various applications involving Matlab are below –
- Computational Finance
- Control systems
- Signal Processing and communication
- Test and Measurement
- Image and video processing
- Computational biology
Advantages of Matlab
Below are the advantages of Matlab:
- Matlab is a compiler-independent tool and doesn’t require any compiler to execute like as required in C, C ++. Codes are written in sentences and executed one by one.
- Being compiler-independent makes Matlab more efficient and productive.
- Matlab is a fourth-generation high-level language.
- Matlab coder is used to converting the code that is written in Matlab to Java, Python, C++, .NET, etc., making the Matlab language more versatile.
- Different languages can be used to implement scientific theories, and after building the library files or .dll files, those can be directly implemented in Matlab using other languages.
- The inbuilt rich library of Matlab contains a library of the neural network, power system, communication, fuzzy logic, hydraulics, Simulink, electromagnetics, electrics, etc. Thus, using this reach library, it is always easy to develop and implement any scientific simulation. These tools can be controlled by using built-in codes so that any manual intervention of the control can be avoided in the model.
- Complex mathematical operations like matrix multiplication and addition can be easily accomplished in a single code by using Matlab.
- Matlab also supports loops by using the length of code same or even shorter as compared to C or C++ in a much convenient way.
- Matlab also supports the writing of user-defined functions, which are extremely easy to implement and also can be stored in separate files for future use. This potentially saves a lot of time writing the same code which is needed for different operations and functions in regular use.
- Matlab allows the import and export of data to or from a text or excels file using a single command which is very useful for analysis of previously recorded data. Matlab allows storage of data in excel files or .mat files.
- Data can also be saved in variables with very simple commands, which are easy to use by storing numbers in a vector or matrix where no use of loops is needed.
- Matlab also gives a feature to use GUI or graphical user interface using add and drop boxes. On programming the proper functions of the code by using a graphical user interface, the code is automatically generated by the program. The compilation of the code is also very easy to implement, where the program is compiled in Matlab to a standalone application that can be opened on any system.
- Matlab offers a huge set of toolboxes and functions, allowing easy solving of CFD or fluid flow and heat transfer problems very quickly.
- Matlab also provides REPL – read, evaluate, print, loop or interactive environment to do mathematical computations and data visualization through graphs.
Disadvantages of Matlab
Below are the disadvantages of Matlab:
- Cross-compiling of Matlab code to other languages is very difficult and requires deep Matlab knowledge to deal with errors produced.
- Matlab is used mainly for scientific research and is not suitable for development activities that are user-specific.
- Matlab is an interpreted language; thus, it can be very slow.
- Poor programming practices can contribute to making Matlab unacceptably slow.
- Matlab is more expensive. The license is very costly, and users need to buy each and every module and need to pay for the same.
- Matlab is not known to create application deployment for installation like the task done by others which includes the setting of files another executable that copies during installation.
This was a guide to an introduction to Matlab. Here we discussed some basic Matlab concepts, main components, characteristics, applications, along with advantages, disadvantages. You may also look at the following articles –