# What is MATLAB? Working, Functions, and Applications

K. C. Sabreena Basheer 24 Jan, 2024

## Introduction

MATLAB (Matrix Laboratory) is a proprietary software app developed by MathWorks. You might wonder what is MATLAB. Well, It is a multi-purpose programming language that contains its own set of libraries and IDE (Integrated Development Environment). It is used to handle complex tasks, like data manipulation matrix, data analysis, algorithm implementation, etc.

Now, let’s see what is MATLAB used for by scientists, researchers, and engineers. Is it just complex mathematical computations or more? Let’s find out.

## What is Matlab?

Matlab is a powerful computer program for math and data analysis. It’s great for creating and testing mathematical models, making it useful in various fields like engineering and science.

## What is the Use of MATLAB?

Different sectors, such as AI, robotics, engineering, etc., use MATLAB to their full advantage. Let us dive deep into what MATLAB is used for:

### Image Processing with Algorithms

MATLAB provides the environment to develop different algorithms and help process the raw images. Matrix values in image processing are crucial to managing the pixels of images. MATLAB helps with the complicated ML algorithms involved in analyzing and processing the images.

### Data Analysis and Visualization

Data scientists and IT professionals use the MATLAB environment to visualize and analyze statistical data. Financial specialists use MATLAB for economic evaluation, such as loss, liquidity, profitability, etc.

### Test and Measurement of Products

MATLAB has the sources and tools that help engineers perform various measurements and tests on electronic products. It can automate tasks and conduct tests to check the product’s quality.

### Wireless Communication

MATLAB provides unique resources and features like testing wireless devices, analyzing design flaws, and debugging errors, which can help save the time of engineers and professionals.

## What is this Matlab Software?

Matlab is a software tool used for mathematical modeling, data analysis, and algorithm development. It provides a programming environment for tasks like numerical computations and simulation across various scientific and engineering disciplines.

Here, you can get brief about Matlab

## 5 Key Functions of MATLAB

Now that we know what is MATLAB, you should know that a function is a set of instructions used to perform a specific task. In MATLAB, functions are specified in separate script files, and they contain function definitions and commands. The function and file name should be the same and should always be defined at the end of the file.

The five key functions of MATLAB are as follows:

### 1. Primary functions

The primary function is the first defined function defined within a file. The primary function (main or script function) executes automatically when running the script. With the help of the command line/ additional functions, users can invoke the primary functions even outside the file.

### 2. Sub-functions

Sub-functions are defined after the primary function and are only visible to the primary function. Sub-functions cannot be accessed or revoked from the command line or additional functions outside that file.

### 3. Nested functions

Nested functions are defined within the primary or parent function. The nested function cannot be accessed outside the file and has access to the workspace of the primary function.

### 4. Anonymous functions

An anonymous function can be defined and created within the command file or in the script/ function file and can contain multiple inputs and output parameters. The anonymous function cannot be accessed from outside.

### 5. Private functions

Private functions exist and are stored in the “private” subfolder. The parent and private functions can access and see the private functions and cannot be accessed or invoked from outside.

## Pros and Cons of MATLAB

Now that we have seen what is MATLAB and its uses, let’s explore the benefits of MATLAB:

• Usability: It can be used to create, debug, and modify applications using an integrated environment and MATLAB debugger. Tools like documentation, editor, workspace browser, etc., can make the prototyping of new apps easy.
• Platform Independent Accessibility: MATLAB can be run and accessed on various devices, like Windows, Mac, LINUX, etc. MATLAB is flexible at switching to new platforms.`
• Built-in Functions: MATLAB provides a variety of predefined functions that can be used to perform mathematical calculations and data analysis.
• GUI (Graphical User Interface): Programmers can use MATLAB to create smooth and interactive GUIs and develop data analysis algorithms for enhanced user experience.

Now, let’s look at some of the cons of MATLAB:

• Comparatively Slow: As MATLAB is an interpreted language, it is not as fast as the compiled languages.
• Limited Applications: The language is built for scientific and mathematical calculations, making it incompatible with other applications.

## MATLAB Requirements

Anyone can download the MATLAB environment for educational, organizational, or personal use. Although the versions are paid, you can take the 30-day free trial. You can download it using the step-by-step guide given below:

• Step 1: Go to the MathWorks official website and select the location and language asked by the website.
• Step 2: At the bottom of the page, click on the “Trial Software” link in the Try or Buy Section.
• Step 4: Enter the mandatory details, check the boxes according to your preferences asked by MathWorks, and create your account. After clicking on the “Create” button, choose the “Continue with current email” option. Open your mail > click on the “Verify your email” button to continue.
• Step 5: Now fill in all the information asked by MathWorks, and click on “agree to terms” > “create”. It will now redirect you to the new page.
• Step 6: After that, you will be redirected to your account dashboard, where you can see the linked Gmail account and license number linked to the account. Remember and note this information down.
• Step 7: Click on the “install” button in your dashboard, and a pop-up window will appear, and the binary executable file will start downloading on your operating system.

## How to Install MATLAB?

1. Licensing

After that, the license window will pop up. Click on the license that you wrote down in the downloading process, and select “next” > “confirm user” details > “next”.

2. Select Destination

Select the “destination folder” > “next”.

3. Choose Products

Select as many products as you want and click “next.”

5. Installation

After the completion of installation in some time, click on the “close” button.

7. Installation Complete

After the completion of installation in some time, click on the “close” button.

Within a few steps, your MATLAB installation is complete!

## MATLAB Environment (Introduction to the Workspace)

After installation, when you open MATLAB, you will see the main window where all the user-written programs run and contain all smaller windows to use, like command prompt, workspace, etc.

Alt text: Command window for MATLAB workspace

#### Editor Window

Use any text editor to create, write, and edit the program saved in m-files. While entering the command, add an exclamation character (!) as it gives temporary control to the local OS, which then executes the command. The control is transferred back to MATLAB after editing.

#### Figure Window

It receives the command graphic output that we copied in the command panel. With enough space in the device, users can create unlimited figure windows.

## Conclusion

MATLAB is used for scientific analysis and computation of different algorithms. It can easily do complex mathematical calculations, create and plot graphs, data visualization, and make the lives of scientists and IT professionals easy. You can learn more about what is MATLAB and the real-world usage of its functions with consistency.

Q1.Which language is used in MATLAB?

MATLAB primarily uses its own programming language, which is also called MATLAB. It’s a high-level language designed for numerical computing.

Q2.Which graphics system is MATLAB?

MATLAB uses its own graphics system for visualizing data and creating plots. The graphics system in MATLAB allows users to generate various types of plots and charts.

Q3.Is MATLAB a language or software?

MATLAB is both a programming language and software. The language, also named MATLAB, is used for coding, while the MATLAB software provides a comprehensive environment for numerical computing, data analysis, and visualization.

K. C. Sabreena Basheer 24 Jan, 2024