MATLAB (matrix laboratory) is a multi-paradigm numerical computing environment. A proprietary programming language developed by MathWorks, MATLAB allows matrix manipulations, plotting of functions and data, implementation of algorithms, creation of user interfaces, and interfacing with programs written in other languages, including C, C++, C#, Java, Fortran and Python.
Although MATLAB is intended primarily for numerical computing, an optional toolbox uses the MuPAD symbolic engine, allowing access to symbolic computing abilities. An additional package, Simulink, adds graphical multi-domain simulation and model-based design for dynamic and embedded systems.
As of 2017, MATLAB has over 2 million users across industry and academia. MATLAB users come from various backgrounds of engineering, science, and economics.
Cleve Moler, the chairman of the computer science department at the University of New Mexico, started developing MATLAB in the late 1970s. He designed it to give his students access to LINPACK and EISPACK without them having to learn Fortran. It soon spread to other universities and found a strong audience within the applied mathematics community. Jack Little, an engineer, was exposed to it during a visit Moler made to Stanford University in 1983. Recognizing its commercial potential, he joined with Moler and Steve Bangert. They rewrote MATLAB in C and founded MathWorks in 1984 to continue its development. These rewritten libraries were known as JACKPAC. In 2000, MATLAB was rewritten to use a newer set of libraries for matrix manipulation, LAPACK.
MATLAB was first adopted by researchers and practitioners in control engineering, Little’s specialty, but quickly spread to many other domains. It is now also used in education, in particular the teaching of linear algebra, numerical analysis, and is popular amongst scientists involved in image processing.
The MATLAB application is built around the MATLAB scripting language. Common usage of the MATLAB application involves using the Command Window as an interactive mathematical shell or executing text files containing MATLAB code.
Variables are defined using the assignment operator, =. MATLAB is a weakly typed programming language because types are implicitly converted. It is an inferred typed language because variables can be assigned without declaring their type, except if they are to be treated as symbolic objects, and that their type can change. Values can come from constants, from computation involving values of other variables, or from the output of a function. For example:
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