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MATLAB used in 1st year Engineering?

  1. Feb 10, 2014 #1

    hotvette

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    It is common for freshman students in engineering to use MATLAB?

    My son will be a freshman (Bio Engineering) in August and I'm tempted to encourage him to learn Octave or Scilab during the summer. He's in a Java class right now, so has some programming basics already. If he really won't need it until his 2nd year, I'll wait a year.
     
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  3. Feb 10, 2014 #2

    donpacino

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    It most likely varies by school. My school used Matlab extensively in our EE department. I would recommend asking a professor in your sons program.
     
  4. Feb 10, 2014 #3
    Like donpacino said, it depends on your school - mine didn't require a knowledge of MATLAB as a freshman, but if you didn't have it, you're off to a bad start. Also, I feel as though him learning *either* MATLAB or scilab would be fine, as they are rather similar from what I gather, so switching from one to the other wouldn't require too much "learning".
     
  5. Feb 11, 2014 #4

    f95toli

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    Although you can't actually "learn" Matlab unless you have some background the the relevant fields of mathematics; if you e.g. don't know what a matrix is you are not going to get far (and the syntax will be extremely confusing).

    The actual "programming" in Matlab is almost trivial and if your son is already familiar with Java he will be fine. Matlab is often (but not always) introduced as part of a math course (e.g. linear algebra) or even as part of a course in numerical methods; which makes more sense that doing it on its own.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  6. Feb 11, 2014 #5

    hotvette

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    Thanks for the comments.
     
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