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Lesson: Using MATLAB (a minimum session)

To start using Matlab, the most important
things to learn are how to enter matrices, how to use the ':' (colon) operator,
and how to invoke functions.
After you understand the basics (in the Tutorials Section),
you can access the rest of the site as needed, or you can use the
online help and demonstrations to learn the (many) other commands.

You'll log on
or invoke MATLAB, do a few trivial calculations and log off.
Launch MATLAB. You can start it from your Start Menu, as any other
Windowsbased program. You see now something similar to this Figure:
The History Window
is where you see all the already typed commands. You can scroll through
this list.
The Workspace Window
is where you can see the current variables.
The Comand Window
is your main action window. You can type your commands here.
At the top of the window, you can see your current directory.
You can change it to start a new project.
Once the command window is on screen, you are ready to carry out this
first lesson. Some commands
and their output
are shown below.
Enter 5+2 and hit the enter key. Note that the result of an unassigned
expression is saved in the default
variable 'ans'.
>> 5+2
ans =
7
The '>>' sign means that MATLAB is ready and waiting for
your input.
You can also assign the value of an expression to a variable.
>> z=4
z =
4
A semicolon
(at the end of your command) suppresses
screen output for
that instruction. MATLAB remembers your variables, though. You can
recall the value of x by simply typing x
>> x=4;
>> x
x =
4
MATLAB knows trigonometry.
Here is the cosine of 6 (default angles are in radians).
>> a=cos(6)
a =
0.9602
The floating point
output display is controlled by the 'format'
command. Here are two examples.
>> format long
>> a
a =
0.37
>> format short
>> a
a =
0.9602
Well done!
Close MATLAB (log off).
You can also quit by selecting 'Exit MATLAB' from the file menu.
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