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Second Edition

Kermit Sigmon
Department of Mathematics
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611 or sigmon@ufpine.bitnet
Copyright ©1989, 1992 by Kermit Sigmon


Note that this is an unauthorized copy, which is NOT for further distribution. It originates from the version which has been available by FTP some time ago. At present, a copy of Version 4 is available from CRC Press (1994) and I recommend the reader to buy the official version
The present copy has been modified for easy access on computer in the following ways:

This document is ment for local purposes only !!!

This document is prepared by

This system of documents in a single file


The MATLAB Primer may be distributed as the user sees fit subject to the following conditions:


MATLAB is an interactive, matrix-based system for scientific and engineering calculations. You can solve complex numerical problems without actually writing a program. The name MATLAB is an abbreviation for MATrix LABoratory.

The purpose of this Primer is to help you begin to use MATLAB. They can best be used hands-on. You are encouraged to work at the computer as you read the Primer and freely experiment with examples.

You should liberally use the on-line help facility for more detailed information. After entering MATLAB as described in section 1, the command help will display a list of functions for which on-line help is available; the command help functionname will give information about a specific function. The command help eig, for example, will give information about the eigenvalue function eig. You can preview some of the features of MATLAB by entering the command demo.

The scope and power of MATLAB go far beyond these notes. Eventually you will want to consult the MATLAB User's Guide and Reference Guide. The documentation which accompanies the Student Edition of MATLAB is an excellent source. Copies of the complete User's Guide are often available for review at locations such as consulting desks, terminal rooms, computing labs, and the reserve desk of the library. Consult your instructor or your local computing center to learn where the User's Guides are located at your institution.

MATLAB is available for a number of environments: Sun/Apollo/VAXstation/HP workstations, VAX, MicroVAX, Gould, PC and AT compatibles, 80386 and 80486 computers, Apple Macintosh, and several parallel machines. There is a relatively inexpensive Student Edition available from Prentice Hall publishers. The information in these notes applies generally to all of these environments.

While the second edition of the Primer is based on version 3.5 of MATLAB, it is compatible with version 4.0 with the fundamental differences noted. An edition of the Primer based on version 4.0 is under development.

The plain source (and a PostScript file of this second edition of the MATLAB Primer is available via anonymous ftp from as the file primer35.tex in the directory pub/matlab. If ftp is unavailable to you, it can be obtained via listserv by sending an email message to which contains the single line send matlab/primer35.tex. It can also be obtained by sending a request to the author at The latest edition of the Primer will always be available as indicated above as the file primer.tex. A Spanish version is also available there.

MATLAB is licensed by The MathWorks, Inc., Cochituate Place, 24 Prime Park Way, Natick, MA 01760, (508)653-1415, Fax: (508)653-2997, Email: Copyright (C) 1989, 1992 by Kermit Sigmon

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Wed Mar 13 19:15:55 MET 1996