Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What is the History Of MATLAB?

clip_image002Many of you know that if I am asked about a programming language for a novice who has never programmed before, I always suggest matlab. It shouldn’t comes as surprise that I love this tool. I had great time learning and developing tools on it in my previous works.

So here’s a little story of How MATLAB began and I want to share with you.

This story also highlights how “small side hobby” explorations, sometime take off in such a big way.

So ladies and gentleman , sit back and enjoy the fascinating history of matlab!!

In the mid-1970s, Cleve Moler and several colleagues developed the FORTRAN subroutine libraries called LINPACK and EISPACK under a grant from the National Science Foundation. LINPACK is a collection of FORTRAN subroutines for solving linear equations, while EISPACK contains subroutines for solving eigenvalue problems. Together, LINPACK and EISPACK represent the state of the art software for matrix computation.

In the late 1970s, Cleve, who was then chairman of the computer science department at the University of New Mexico, wanted to be able to teach students in his linear algebra courses using the LINPACK and EISPACK software. However, he didn't want them to have to program in FORTRAN, because this wasn't the purpose of the course. So, as a "hobby" on his own time, he started to write a program that would provide simple interactive access to LINPACK and EISPACK. He named his program MATLAB, for MATrix LABoratory.

Over the next several years, when Cleve would visit another university to give a talk, or as a visiting professor, he would end up by leaving a copy of his MATLAB on the university machines. Within a year or two, MATLAB started to catch on by word of mouth within the applied math community as a “cult” phenomenon.

In early 1983, John Little was exposed to MATLAB because of a visit Cleve made to Stanford University. Little, an engineer, recognized the potential application of MATLAB to engineering applications. So in 1983, Little teamed up with Moler and Steve Bangert to develop a second generation, professional version of MATLAB written in C and integrated with graphics. The MathWorks, Inc. was founded in 1984 to market and continue development of MATLAB.

From: http://www.math.tau.ac.il/~arielt/matlab/FAQ.html

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