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1.1: Obtaining MATLAB and Octave

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    You need to install either MATLAB or Octave for this course. MATLAB has some advantages:

    • MATLAB has better error checking and better help. MATLAB's documentation is better, but you can most of MATLAB's documentation without purchasing a license.
    • MATLAB runs faster. This is not an issue for this class' assignments, but is an issue for large analysis code you might use professionally.
    • If you would like to have instruction in espanol, this is a link to a playlist of 24 videos on many Matlab/Octave topics:

    • Obtaining MATLAB

    MATLAB can be installed on either Windows or Mac computers. The basic MATLAB student license is $49, which is a great deal. (For more features see the "The MATLAB & Simulink Student Suite" section below.) The MATLAB licenses are valid for as long as you are a student anywhere. The link to purchase the MATLAB license is:

    The links to install it on a Windows or Apple computer are there.

    MATLAB also has a free on-line version which is adequate for this course. The online version has limitations that only apply to professional applications, such as integrating it with hardware. A description of the online version's limitations is here:

    If you have a Chromebook, it is recommended that you use the on-line version or borrow a Windows or Apple computer from your school's library, if you have that option. MATLAB can be installed on some (but not all) Chromebooks. The process can be difficult because Chromebooks use the Linux operating system. These instructions may or may not work for you:

    • The MATLAB & Simulink Student Suite

    If you wish, you can choose the MATLAB & Simulink Student Suite is $99. This includes a number of toolboxes and Simulink, which you may find useful in future classes. This is also a great deal, but is not needed for this class.

    Simulink is an advanced software program that let's you model systems with feed back in a graphical way. You can create "block diagrams", as described in these videos. It will not be used in this class, but it is likely to be useful for you is your major is mechatronics, electrical engineering, or computer engineering. This video gives a quick overview.

    • Obtaining Octave

    Octave can be downloaded at this link:

    Octave for a MAC is here:

    Octave Online runs online without downloading at this link. You need to create an account.

    Octave Online · Cloud IDE compatible with MATLAB ( 

    Octave Online also runs on Chrome.

    Octave Online - Chrome Web Store (

    This video shows how to download and install Octave, as well as how to start using Octave:



    This page titled 1.1: Obtaining MATLAB and Octave is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Carey Smith.

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