Matlab?

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mrfisk14
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Matlab?

Postby mrfisk14 » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:04 pm UTC

Hey there everyone, I'm an Electrical Engineering major at Virginia Tech (GO HOKIES! (and also the school that beat Duke in basketball on Saturday night 8) ))

Currently in my "Exploration of Digital Future" class, we are focusing on Matlab. Does anyone in industry (specifically engineering, but it could be used other places as well) use it? If so, what do you think about it? I am also taking a class for C++, but I feel there's more potential with Matlab.

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kmatzen
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Re: Matlab?

Postby kmatzen » Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:57 am UTC

I use it now that I'm in grad school. It is what it is. It gets a lot of stuff for you going out of the box. So, if you have something like a quadratic program that you just want to try on a small scale, it will work fine. Scale the number of variables and constraints up a few orders of magnitude and it probably won't cut it and you'll need to find another solver. It just depends on what you want to do. You can always write a mex interface for an existing library if you want to tie that functionality into MATLAB. Unfortunately, the times I've seen this with research code, the mex interface was an afterthought and was poorly written.

I usually just pull it out to experiment with some ideas quickly and if everything checks out with a small data set, I just code the thing up in C. That might not be the right idea. I don't know. It just works well for me.

I've heard that TI and GE use it for some positions. The thing is that MATLAB alone isn't going to buy you much in terms of getting a job since many of them look for things like bash, python, C/C++, and maybe verilog depending on if it's a digital design job. You don't need to spam your resume with technologies, but it's good to have many tools, each for the right problem.

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scarecrovv
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Re: Matlab?

Postby scarecrovv » Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:32 am UTC

MATLAB is good for some things. It has fantastic plotting tools. It is probably great for people doing pure math, and statistics, and the like. It is popular in signal processing applications. I don't do those things a lot, and when I do, I use other tools. I think that as a programming language MATLAB is mediocre. I'm not a fan, though I can understand the perspective of those who are.

gorcee
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Re: Matlab?

Postby gorcee » Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:38 pm UTC

My company (based in Charlottesville, VA) lives on MATLAB. And pretty much every company we work with also uses it.

I've worked with several large companies, research labs and government agencies. To say that MATLAB is used heavily within these industries is a huge understatement.

I also disagree with kmatzen on its applicability towards getting you a job. Having MATLAB experience on your resume, if you're going into engineering, is *HUGE*. You should also know some other language, (Java or C/C++; alternatively, .NET languages), because it's common to generate software using MATLAB as a basis for your algorithms. But in the sphere of engineering in which I operate, between two equally-talented candidates, one with MATLAB experience, and one without, the MATLAB user will get the job.

mrfisk14
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Re: Matlab?

Postby mrfisk14 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:33 am UTC

First off, Thank you for responding everyone, this is a new motivation for me to actually give a care in my school work :)

@gorcee - Like I said in the original post, I am already taking a class in C++ this semester and I also plan to learn either Java or Python. Although, you can probably do 3D graphics just as well on Matlab as you could on Python, but it could be another tool in my toolbox.

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mdyrud
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Re: Matlab?

Postby mdyrud » Wed May 25, 2011 8:42 pm UTC

Rather than starting a new thread, I feel this is an appropriate one to bump. Does anyone know of resources to learn MATLAB? I'm doing a summer research project, and I was just informed that was the program we will be spending a lot of time with. Unfortunately, the only book our school has is NOT written for a beginner. I have experience with Java and a little bit with C++, but that's about it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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thoughtfully
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Re: Matlab?

Postby thoughtfully » Wed May 25, 2011 9:06 pm UTC

Poke around the MathWorks website. There's an enormous amount of resources there for every skill level.
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SlyReaper
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Re: Matlab?

Postby SlyReaper » Wed May 25, 2011 9:19 pm UTC

My company uses MatLab a fair bit. Lately, I've been using it mainly as a data analysis tool and it's very good at that. For example, we get the telemetry back from a flight trial, or logged data from a test rig and I crunch the numbers in MatLab to see if the system performed as expected. I've also done some modelling work in Simulink, and used Simulink to devise image processing algorithms. I like it, but my exposure to other programming languages is limited.

As for learning it, I never had any real formal training with it (with the exception of a 2 day Simulink course 6 months after I was already proficient at it). I was just handed a pile of work to do in this strange "MatLab" program I had never used before, and had to learn by doing. It took me a few weeks before I was able to get on with things without asking for help. I actually found the MatLab Help file to be unusually good for a Help file. So long as you know what you're looking for.
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mdyrud
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Re: Matlab?

Postby mdyrud » Wed May 25, 2011 9:36 pm UTC

I found the tutorials. It doesn't really leap off the page, but it's there. Thanks for the suggestion! It doesn't seem to tough to start.


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