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1.1 Why MATLAB and this tutorial?

The purpose of this tutorial book is to help you develop a proficiency with MATLAB as well as general programming skills that will be useful when we learn Fortran90/95 later in the course. I will assume that all of you are computer literate enough to find MATLAB on your computer and that you can save files, open files, negotiate the directory tree, and perform other basic Windows operations. MATLAB is a software package/programming language for doing computations quickly. It won't perform calculations as quickly as programs written it Fortran90/95, C, or C++, but it is much easier to use than these programming languages. MATLAB deals with numbers, MATLAB does not do symbolic algebra like programs such as Mathematica, Macsyma, or Maple. After going through the first seven chapters of this tutorial and doing the accompanying homework assignments you will be well prepared for learning how to program in languages such as C, C++, Fortran 90/95, etc. But you will also find that MATLAB is useful in its own right and will probably find yourself using it for many other classes or in your own research/job later on. Investing time to learn how to use MATLAB now will pay dividends for a long time to come. This tutorial has been made available to you for free as an html document. PDF versions are available by request. If you get a PDF copy of this manual, DO NOT PRINT IT OUT ON DEPARTMENT PRINTERS! If you want a printed copy, buy one or print it out on your own printer. Although this manual was used once already for PHY 550 and PHY 299 in Spring 2004, it still is incomplete and you'll probably find that it will change daily as I try to improve it. I would appreciate feedback from the students to correct typos, clarify unclear points, expand the discussion, or make it more useful in anyway. I'll buy a candybar for anyone who can find mistakes or make good suggestions for any place in the first six chapters. Please don't hesitate to make suggestions. You may find it really handy to have a more in-depth source for MATLAB. Some other (even better) sources for MATLAB include the following:
next up previous contents
Next: 1.2 Matlab interface Up: 1. Getting started with Previous: 1. Getting started with   Contents
Gus Hart 2005-01-28