In this chapter, we will introduce you to the tools you need in order to begin using MATLAB effectively. These include the following: some relevant information on computer platforms and software; installation protocols; how to launch MATLAB, enter commands and use online help; a roster of MATLAB's various windows; and, finally, how to exit the program. We know that you are anxious to get started using MATLAB, so we will keep this chapter brief. After you complete it, you can go immediately to Chapter 2 to find concrete and simple instructions for using MATLAB to do mathematics. We describe the MATLAB interface more elaborately in Chapter 3.
Platforms and Versions
The latest version of MATLAB, MATLAB 8 (Release 2012b or later) runs on three operating systems: various versions of Microsoft Windows (both 32-Bit and 64-Bit), Mac OS X, and many distributions of Linux (including Ubuntu, Debian, SUSE, and Red Hat Enterprise). For exact system requirements, you can consult:
For definitiveness, we shall assume that the reader is using a Windows computer. In those very few instances where our instructions must be tailored differently for Linux or Mac users, we shall point it out clearly.
✓ We use the word Windows to refer to all flavors of the Windows operating system. Windows 7 or 8, especially the 64-Bit version, is preferred, though you can also use some Windows XP or Windows Vista installations.