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University of Cambridge > Engineering Department > computing help 
Although the name `Matlab' comes from `Matrix Laboratory', Matlab can be used as a very powerful calculator for all kinds of engineering, scientific and other calculations. It is not necessary to know much about matrices to use Matlab, though the more you know, the more effectively you can use it.
This document is intended to show you just how easy it is to use Matlab, and to give you some idea of what it can do. If you like what you see, you can find out much more by reading the online Tutorial. You can also use the online `help' system, as we will show later.
Before starting on some simple examples, we should mention that Matlab is much more than a `calculator': as well as handling vectors and matrices, it can work with complex numbers, generate 2D and 3D figures, and it has the full power of a general programming language.
This document is intended to be read at one of the DPO workstations. Try everything as you read it. It should take you less than an hour to get through it.
Note that octave (a free program similar to matlab) is available on the DPO terminals and the MDP Resource CD
 computing help  