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Getting Started With Matlab Programming

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  The first question you might ask is "Why Matlab?". In fact, there are at least two other mathematical programming systems that would be almost equally suitable for our purposes, Mathematica and Maple. The difference is that while the latter two are designed primarily for symbolic computation, Matlab excels at numerical computation. In general, this means that one or another of these systems will be more efficient for certain tasks, but in fact, for our purposes either one would do. However, there is another way that Matlab is specialized---it has very good tools for dealing with vectors and matrices, and since these play a central role in the sort of differential geometry that we will be studying, choosing Matlab as our basic programming tool will simplify the implementation of many of the algorithms that we will be interested in.

Where should you begin? I will be giving basic programming training both in class and in outside of class computer labs, but if you want to get started on your own, the Web is crowded with sites offering help in getting started with Matlab.

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