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What is MATLAB?

What is MATLAB?

As it is an interactive environment for visualization and programming, it is important to understand MATLAB along with its functions, code, and other basics. Let’s get started with the points we will cover in our article.

What is MATLAB?

MathWorks created the numerical computing environment and programming language known as MATLAB (Matrix Laboratory). It is frequently used for numerical calculations, data processing, and visualization in the engineering and scientific fields.

With the use of simple commands and statements, users of MATLAB can do computations and data analysis in a high-level programming environment. It features a number of integrated tools and capabilities that offer sophisticated abilities for certain industries including control systems, image processing, signal processing, and more.

Additionally, MATLAB has a Graphical User Interface (GUI) and a substantial library of plotting and visualization features that make it simple to show results in a thorough and understandable way.

Here is an illustration of how MATLAB may be used to solve mathematical issues simply and effectively.

Consider the task of solving a system of linear equations. In MATLAB, you can use the “linsolve” function to solve for the variables in the equation.

Here is an example of how you can use the “linsolve” function in MATLAB:

what is Matlab
What is matlab

The above code creates two matrices, A and B, and then solves for X in the equation AX = B. The result is X = [1; 2; 3].

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Example of MATLAB Code

Here is a simple example of MATLAB code that calculates the average of a set of numbers:


What will be the output of the above code?

Output: 3

Advantages of MATLAB

Using MATLAB has a number of benefits, some of which are as follows:

  • Clear and simple syntax and a high-level programming environment make MATLAB simple to learn and use, even for those with little to no prior programming expertise.
  • Includes a huge library of mathematical functions that span a wide range of topics, including linear algebra, statistics, optimization, and more.
  • Plotting, charting, and animation are all made simple with the help of MATLAB’s sophisticated data visualization and graphic features.
  • You can easily use pre-existing code and libraries by integrating MATLAB with other programming languages like C, C++, and Python.
  • MATLAB offers a wide range of toolboxes for specialized fields including signal processing, image processing, control systems, and more. For a certain field, these toolboxes offer a selection of specialized functions and methods.
  • To help you in learning and use MATLAB efficiently, a sizable user community, as well as a substantial library of online tools and documentation, are accessible.

Disadvantages of MATLAB

While MATLAB provides numerous benefits, there are a few drawbacks to take into account as well:

  • MATLAB is a proprietary program and can be pricey, particularly for business use. Because of this, it could be expensive for individuals or small businesses.
  • Because MATLAB is built as an interpreted language rather than a compiled language, it can be sluggish when working with big data sets or sophisticated computations.
  • While MATLAB does have some parallel computing capabilities, it is not as robust as other programming languages like Python.
  • Because MATLAB is a private program, users are reliant on MathWorks for updates and support and may have fewer options available to them when using the program.
  • The high-level programming environment offered by MATLAB may make it difficult to manipulate the system- and hardware-level specifics.
  • It’s possible for MATLAB to run out of memory, especially when dealing with huge data sets or arrays.

MATLAB Applications and Uses

MATLAB is utilized in a broad variety of sectors and businesses and has a wide range of applications, including:


It is extensively used in many engineering specialties, including electrical, mechanical, aerospace, and civil engineering. It is utilized for data analysis, engineering process automation, and modeling and simulation of complicated systems.


It is applied to data analysis and scientific research in disciplines including physics, chemistry, biology, and environmental science. It is used to create models, run numerical simulations, and analyze and display data.


It is used in the finance sector for risk analysis and financial modeling. It is used to manage risk and optimize portfolios as well as assess stock prices, interest rates, and other financial data.

Signal processing for images

It is widely applied in the disciplines of computer vision, voice recognition, and audio processing, as well as image and signal processing. It is applied to image and signal data processing, analysis, and visualization.

Control mechanisms

In industries including robotics, automotive systems, and aerospace, it is employed in the design and analysis of control systems. It is used to control and stimulate dynamic systems.


Due to its simplicity of use, adaptability, and huge libraries and toolboxes, it is frequently used in education, both in research and teaching. It is used to teach courses in mathematics, engineering, and computer science.

Functions in MATLAB

MATLAB provides a wide variety of functions for various purposes such as mathematical operations, data analysis, visualization, and more. Some of the most commonly used functions in MATLAB are:

Mathematical functions

  • sin, cos, tan, asin, acos, atan, sinh, cosh, tanh, exp, log, log10, sqrt: These functions perform basic mathematical operations such as sine, cosine, tangent, exponential, logarithmic, and square root calculations.
  • abs, real, imag, angle, conj: These functions perform operations on complex numbers such as finding the absolute value, real part, imaginary part, phase angle, and conjugate.
  • floor, ceil, round, fix: These functions perform rounding operations on numbers.
  • max, min, sort, mean, median, mode, std, var: These functions perform operations on arrays such as finding the maximum, minimum, mean, median, mode, standard deviation, and variance.

Plotting functions

  • plot, bar, hist, scatter, stem: These functions are used to create various types of plots such as line plots, bar plots, histograms, scatter plots, and stem plots.
  • xlabel, ylabel, title, legend, grid: These functions are used to label the axes, add titles, create legends, and add grids to plots.

Data analysis functions

  • polyfit, polyval, interp1, interp2: These functions are used to fit polynomials, interpolate data, and perform other data analysis tasks.
  • fft, ifft, conv, deconv: These functions are used to perform operations on signals such as fast Fourier transforms, convolution, and deconvolution.

Linear algebra functions

  • det, inv, rank, eig, svd, qr, chol: These functions perform operations on matrices such as finding the determinant, inverse, rank, eigenvalues, singular values, QR decomposition, and Cholesky decomposition.

Image processing functions

  • imread, imshow, imwrite, imresize: These functions are used to read, display, write, and resize images.
  • rgb2gray, edge, imfilter, corr2: These functions are used to perform operations on images such as converting to grayscale, detecting edges, filtering, and performing cross-correlation.

Summing Up

MATLAB is an effective tool for technical computing, data analysis, and visualization, to sum up. Engineers, scientists, and researchers find it to be the perfect platform for doing intricate computations and simulations due to its user-friendly interface and variety of features. MATLAB offers a versatile and scalable solution for resolving many real-world challenges due to its flexibility to connect with other computer languages.

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About the Author

Senior Consultant Analytics & Data Science

Presenting Sahil Mattoo, a Senior Consultant Analytics & Data Science at Eli Lilly and Company is an accomplished professional with 14 years of experience across data science, analytics, and technical leadership domains, demonstrates a remarkable ability to drive business insights. Sahil holds a Post Graduate Program in Business Analytics and Business Intelligence from Great Lakes Institute of Management.