MATLAB Basics

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Abstract

This is a quick tutorial for doing the basics in MATLAB.

Author(s): Mark A. Tschopp

Variables

Variables can come in multiple forms in MATLAB, including:

  • 8-bit and 16-bit integers, uint8 & uint16
  • Single and double precision real numbers, single & double
  • Logical or binary numbers, logical (0 or 1)
  • Structured variables
  • Scalar values, Vectors, or Matrices

Let's type in some commands at the command prompt.

> a = 1666.67
a = 1666.67

This command stores the variable 'a' in the variable stack with a value of 1666.67. It automatically assigns a class of real number to this variable. Also, notice that when you hit enter, 'a = 1666' is displayed below the command prompt. If you want to suppress output, put a semicolon after the command, i.e., 'a = 1666.67;'

You can change between variable formats using commands like:

> b = uint8(a);
> c = uint16(a);
> d = double(b);

Notice that the variable b has a value of 255, c has a value of 1667, and d has a value of 255. The variable b is assigned 255, because 8-bit integers have values between 0 and 255. These are commonly used for images, where the intensity values typically run between 0 and 255.

Now, let's try to build a vector, e.

> e = [1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34];
> e(1)
1
> e(2)
2
> e(5:8)
[8 13 21 34]
> e([1,3,5:8])
[1 3 8 13 21 34]

In the stack, the variable shows up as a 1x8 matrix. To access the first value, type 'e(1)'. The second value, 'e(2)', etc. We can also access multiple values, i.e., 'e(5:8)' where the 5:8 means 5, 6, 7, & 8. Some simple operations for vectors/matrices are 'sum', 'max', 'min', 'abs', e.g.,

> f = sum(e)
f = 87
> g = min(e)
g = 1
> h = max(e)
h = 34
> i = abs(e);

To transpose the matrix, use the transpose operator (apostrophe - '), i.e.,

> [1 2 3 4]
1 2 3 4
> [1 2 3 4]'
1
2
3
4


Now, let's try squaring each number, i.e.,

> j = e.^2;
> j(1)
1
> j(2)
4

Let's now try Boolean operations to locate values.

> k = e <= 3
k = [1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0]
> l = e == 3
l = [0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0]
> m = e > 3
m = [0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1]

Notice that there is a 1 wherever the logic statement is true and 0 wherever the logic statement is false. The variables k, l, and m are all logical arrays and can also be used to index values, e.g.,

> e(k)
[1 2 3]
> e(l)
3
> e(m)
[5 8 13 21 34]
> e(~m)
[1 2 3]

This can also be used to change specific values of an array, e.g.,

> e = [1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34];
> e(k) = e(k) * 5
[5 10 15 5 8 13 21 34]
> e(l) = 0
[5 10 0 5 8 13 21 34]
> e(~k) = -1
[5 10 0 -1 -1 -1 -1 -1]

Value can also be deleted by using '[]'.

> e = [1 2 3 5 8 13 21 34];
> e(4:6) = []
[1 2 3 21 34]

These rules also apply for 2-dimensional matrices, i.e.,

> x = [1 2 3; 5 8 13; 21 34 55]
 1   2   3
 5   8  13
21  34  55
> x'
 1   5  21
 2   8  34
 3  13  55
> n = x >= 13
 0   0   0
 0   0   1
 1   1   1
> x(n) = x(n)+10
 1   2   3
 5   8  23
31  44  65
> sum(x)
37  54  91
> sum(sum(x))
182 

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