Matlab Logo.png
L-shaped membrane logo [1]
MATLAB R2013a Win8 screenshot.png
MATLAB R2013a running on Windows 8
Developer(s) MathWorks
Initial release 1984; 34 years ago (1984)
Stable release
R2018a / 14 March 2018; 9 days ago (2018-03-14)
Preview release None
Development status Active
Written in C, C++, Java
Operating system Windows, macOS, and Linux [2]
Platform IA-32, x86-64
Type Numerical computing
License Proprietary commercial software
Paradigm multi-paradigm: functional, imperative, procedural, object-oriented, array
Designed by Cleve Moler
Developer MathWorks
First appeared late 1970s
Stable release
9.4 (R2018a) / March 14, 2018; 9 days ago (2018-03-14)
Preview release None
Typing discipline dynamic, weak
Filename extensions .m
Influenced by

MATLAB (matrix laboratory) is a multi-paradigm numerical computing environment. A proprietary programming language developed by MathWorks, MATLAB allows matrix manipulations, plotting of functions and data, implementation of algorithms, creation of user interfaces, and interfacing with programs written in other languages, including C, C++, C#, Java, Fortran and Python.

Although MATLAB is intended primarily for numerical computing, an optional toolbox uses the MuPAD symbolic engine, allowing access to symbolic computing abilities. An additional package, Simulink, adds graphical multi-domain simulation and model-based design for dynamic and embedded systems.

As of 2017, MATLAB has roughly 1 million users across industry and academia. [7] MATLAB users come from various backgrounds of engineering, science, and economics.


Cleve Moler, the chairman of the computer science department at the University of New Mexico, started developing MATLAB in the late 1970s. [8] He designed it to give his students access to LINPACK and EISPACK without them having to learn Fortran. It soon spread to other universities and found a strong audience within the applied mathematics community. Jack Little, an engineer, was exposed to it during a visit Moler made to Stanford University in 1983. Recognizing its commercial potential, he joined with Moler and Steve Bangert. They rewrote MATLAB in C and founded MathWorks in 1984 to continue its development. These rewritten libraries were known as JACKPAC. [9] In 2000, MATLAB was rewritten to use a newer set of libraries for matrix manipulation, LAPACK. [10]

MATLAB was first adopted by researchers and practitioners in control engineering, Little's specialty, but quickly spread to many other domains. It is now also used in education, in particular the teaching of linear algebra, numerical analysis, and is popular amongst scientists involved in image processing. [8]

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