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This new text emphasizes that students do not need to write loops to solve many problems. The Matlab "find" command with its relational and logical operators can be used instead of loops in many cases. This was mentioned in Palm's previous MATLAB texts,but receives more emphasis in this MATLAB 6 edition,starting with Chapter 1,and re-emphasized in Chapter 4.
How to Use This Book
The book's chapter organization is flexible enough to accommodate a variety of users. However, it is important to cover at least the first four chapters, in that order. Chapter 2 covers arrays, which are the basic building blocks in MATLAB. Chapter 3 covers file usage, functions built into MATLAB, user-defined functions, and powerful data structures called cell and structure arrays.
Chapter 4 covers programming using relational and logical operators, conditional statements, and loops.
Use Section 1.3 to determine those MATLAB features for which you want more detailed information. This section will guide you to the appropriate chapter.
Chapters 5 through 9 are independent chapters that can be covered in any order, or can be omitted. They contain in-depth discussions of how to use MATLAB to solve several common types of engineering problems. Chapter 5 covers two- and three-dimensional plots in more detail, and shows how to use plots to build mathematical models from data. Chapter 6 treats the solution of linear algebraic equations, including cases having nonunique solutions. Chapter 7 covers probability, statistics, and interpolation applications. Chapter 8 introduces numerical methods for calculus and ordinary differential equations, and covers Simulink®. Chapter 9 covers symbolic processing in MATLAB, with applications to algebra, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, and transforms.
Reference and Learning Aids
The book has been designed as a reference as well as a learning tool. The special features useful for these purposes are as follows.
Software Updates and Accuracy
Software publishers can release software updates faster than book publishers can release new editions. In fact, you probably will find that the printed documentation provided with MATLAB is partially out-of-date because of software changes just prior to its release. This text documents the MATLAB 6 program as of its release date in the fall of 2000. There will be additional updates, numbered 6.1, 6.2, and so forth, that will change some of the program's features. The best way to protect yourself against obsolete information is to check the "What's New?" file provided with the program, and to learn how to use the extensive MATLAB Help System, which is covered in Section 1.5.
MATLAB and Related Software
MATLAB is both a computer programming language and a software environment for using that language effectively. It is maintained and sold by The MathWorks, Inc., of Natick, Massachusetts, and is available for MS Windows and other computer systems. The MATLAB interactive environment allows you to manage variables, import and export data, perform calculations, generate plots, and develop and manage files for use with MATLAB. The language was originally developed in the 1970s for applications involving matrices, linear algebra, and numerical analysis (the name MATLAB stands for "Matrix Laboratory"). Thus the language's numerical routines have been well-tested and improved through many years of use, and its capabilities have been greatly expanded.
MATLAB has a number of add-on software modules, called toolboxes, that perform more specialized computations. They can be purchased separately, but all run under the core MATLAB program. Toolboxes deal with applications such as image and signal processing, financial analysis, control systems design, and fuzzy logic. An up-to-date list can be found at The MathWorks website, which is discussed later in this chapter. This text uses material from the core MATLAB program, from two of the toolboxes (the Control Systems toolbox, in Chapter 8, and the Symbolic Math toolbox, in Chapter 9), and from Simulink (in Chapter 8). All of the examples and problems in the first seven chapters can be done with the core MATLAB program.
MATLAB 6 was released in the fall of 2000. On MS Windows systems it requires Windows 95/98 or Windows NT to run. The Student Edition of MATLAB contains the core MATLAB program, some commands from two toolboxes (the Signal Processing Toolbox and the Symbolic Math Toolbox), and the Simulink program. The Simulink program is based on MATLAB, and requires MATLAB to run. It enables the user to construct simulations from graphical (block diagram) descriptions of the system or process. Simulink is covered in Chapter 8.
This book does not explain how to install MATLAB. If you purchased it for your own computer, the installation is easily done with the instructions that come with the software. If you will be using MATLAB in a computer lab, it will have been installed for you...