Introduction
[
These pages were developed by Andrew K. Smith, a technical fellow from Yale
who spent the summer in my lab way back in 1998. I believe this was version
5.2.x R11 or maybe version 6. Some of what you will read and see here is
quite outdated. Also, the tutorial was written for a freshman engineering
course I was teaching at that time. The screen captures were intended to
closely match the network configuration associated with our class and so will
be different than whatever you are now using to work with this package.
I continue to recommend these information pages and Matlab exercises to those
students who have never worked with Matlab. Over the past 10 years or so it
has been my experience that even those engineering students having limited
experiences with numerical computing environments can get up to speed on this
most excellent tool after a couple of days. Once you work through the six
core lessons I recommend you then turn to the many help features available in
more current versions of Matlab as well as the many, many helpful sites
available out there in cyberspace.
If you are confident in your
computing experiences then perhaps it is best you skip the introductory
sections and just portal to the exercises.
]
MATLAB
is a computer program that can be very helpful in solving the sorts of
mathematical problems you will frequently encounter throughout your
engineering or technology coursework. You can use MATLAB's builtin features
to effortlessly solve a wide variety of numerical problems, from the very
basic, such as a system of 2 equations with 2 unknowns:
X + 2Y = 24
12X  5Y = 10
to the more complex, such as factoring polynomials, fitting curves to data
points, making calculations using matrices, performing signal processing
operations such as Fourier transforms, computing and visualizing chaotic
dynamical systems and fractal patterns, and building and training neural
networks. A very powerful and often very useful aspect of MATLAB is that it
can be used to plot many different kinds of graphs, enabling you to visualize
complex mathematical functions and laboratory data. For example, the three
images to the right were created using MATLAB's plotting functions.

Where Do I Go from Here?
Learning MATLAB is just like learning how to
drive a car. You can learn all the rules but to become a good driver you have
to get out on the road and drive. So, the
easiest and best way to learn MATLAB is to use MATLAB. If you
have a very strong background in mathematics and computer programming (e.g.
junior/senior engineering student) then you can quickly learn how MATLAB can
help you with your course work and design projects by using the builtin help
utilities or our school's course specific MATLAB tutorial pages. However, for
those of you who are just starting out or would like to take a more pedantic
approach to learning MATLAB then this tutorial is for you.

A Piece of Advice
If you are new to our school then
listen up! In many of your math, physics and technical classes you will be
able to use MATLAB to help you with your homework problems. Indeed, MATLAB can
even make it easier for you to learn and understand your course material and
complex engineering principles. This is because MATLAB can easily be used to
analyze the same problem a variety of ways. Indeed, each year more and more
of our professors are using MATLAB in teaching their course materials. So,
the bottom line is that you should learn how to use MATLAB now so that you
can make the most of this valuable tool throughout your plan of study here in
the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology.
Prerequisites and Expectations
 You
should have the basic computer skills needed to work with the Windows XP
operating system running on our school's PCs. For example, you should be
comfortable with starting applications, opening, closing and saving
files, cutting and pasting text, directory structures, etc.
 You
should have basic web skills such as using a browser, following
hyperlinks, opening web site locations, etc. If you have gotten here to
this page, then you should be just fine.
 You should
have a CNC computer account, know the locations of the CNC computer labs
and how to use the computers and printers in these labs at a basic
level. Click here to find
out more about CNC and how to obtain an account.
 You
should know how to use a text editor, such as Windows Notepad, that you
can use to write MATLAB programs. MATLAB also has its own builtin text
editor which you can use (we'll show you how).
 You
should know basic algebra and trigonometry such as is typically covered
in high school. Knowledge of basic linear algebra (i.e., concepts such
as matrix, vector, inverse, etc.) would also be very helpful but is not
strictly necessary; basic concepts and constructs from linear algebra
will be explained as needed.
 The
tutorial is intended to be highly interactive. While you are reading the
exercise pages you should have MATLAB running in a separate window and
you should perform and experiment with the tutorial exercises.
 There
are many people on campus who use MATLAB. If you're really stuck on
something, you need only to ask the person sitting next to you, send an
email to one of your class Teaching Assistants or one of your
professors.
Getting Your Own Copy of MATLAB
The
MATLAB software package is available for many different kinds of computers.
If you want, you can buy a copy of MATLAB for your own PC and work at home. A
student edition of MATLAB is available from the campus bookstore at a cost of around
$100 for use on either Windows or Macintosh systems.
However,
as long as you have a web accessible computer and a CNC account you can
always use the CNC
24 hour remote access server to run this and other software packages
available through our School.
Let's Go!
To start the
MATLAB tutorial, click here.
Good
luck and have fun with MATLAB! Please
experiment with MATLAB as much as you can, because the best way to learn
MATLAB is by using MATLAB.
