Getting Started |

What Is MATLAB? |
Provides an overview of the main features of MATLAB. |

MATLAB Documentation |
Describes the MATLAB documentation, including online and printed user guides and reference materials. |

**What Is MATLAB? **

MATLAB^{®} is a high-performance language for technical computing. It integrates computation, visualization, and programming in an easy-to-use environment where problems and solutions are expressed in familiar mathematical notation. Typical uses include

- Math and computation
- Algorithm development
- Data acquisition
- Modeling, simulation, and prototyping
- Data analysis, exploration, and visualization
- Scientific and engineering graphics
- Application development, including graphical user interface building

MATLAB is an interactive system whose basic data element is an array that does not require dimensioning. This allows you to solve many technical computing problems, especially those with matrix and vector formulations, in a fraction of the time it would take to write a program in a scalar noninteractive language such as C or Fortran.

The name MATLAB stands for *matrix laboratory*. MATLAB was originally written to provide easy access to matrix software developed by the LINPACK and EISPACK projects. Today, MATLAB engines incorporate the LAPACK and BLAS libraries, embedding the state of the art in software for matrix computation.

MATLAB has evolved over a period of years with input from many users. In university environments, it is the standard instructional tool for introductory and advanced courses in mathematics, engineering, and science. In industry, MATLAB is the tool of choice for high-productivity research, development, and analysis.

MATLAB features a family of add-on application-specific solutions called *toolboxes*. Very important to most users of MATLAB, toolboxes allow you to *learn* and *apply* specialized technology. Toolboxes are comprehensive collections of MATLAB functions (M-files) that extend the MATLAB environment to solve particular classes of problems. Areas in which toolboxes are available include signal processing, control systems, neural networks, fuzzy logic, wavelets, simulation, and many others.

**The MATLAB System**

The MATLAB system consists of five main parts:

**Development Environment.** This is the set of tools and facilities that help you use MATLAB functions and files. Many of these tools are graphical user interfaces. It includes the MATLAB desktop and Command Window, a command history, an editor and debugger, and browsers for viewing help, the workspace, files, and the search path.

**The MATLAB Mathematical Function Library.** This is a vast collection of computational algorithms ranging from elementary functions like sum, sine, cosine, and complex arithmetic, to more sophisticated functions like matrix inverse, matrix eigenvalues, Bessel functions, and fast Fourier transforms.

**The MATLAB Language.** This is a high-level matrix/array language with control flow statements, functions, data structures, input/output, and object-oriented programming features. It allows both "programming in the small" to rapidly create quick and dirty throw-away programs, and "programming in the large" to create complete large and complex application programs.

**Graphics.** MATLAB has extensive facilities for displaying vectors and matrices as graphs, as well as annotating and printing these graphs. It includes high-level functions for two-dimensional and three-dimensional data visualization, image processing, animation, and presentation graphics. It also includes low-level functions that allow you to fully customize the appearance of graphics as well as to build complete graphical user interfaces on your MATLAB applications.

**The MATLAB Application Program Interface (API).** This is a library that allows you to write C and Fortran programs that interact with MATLAB. It includes facilities for calling routines from MATLAB (dynamic linking), calling MATLAB as a computational engine, and for reading and writing MAT-files.

Getting Started | MATLAB Documentation |