MATLAB (an abbreviation of "MATrix LABoratory") is a proprietary multi-paradigm programming language and numeric computing environment developed by MathWorks.

MATLAB allows matrix manipulations, plotting of functions and data, implementation of algorithms, creation of user interfaces, and interfacing with programs written in other languages.

Although MATLAB is intended primarily for numeric computing, an optional toolbox uses the MuPAD symbolic engine allowing access to symbolic computing abilities.

An additional package, Simulink, adds graphical multi-domain simulation and model-based design for dynamic and embedded systems.

As of 2020, MATLAB has more than 4 million users worldwide.

They come from various backgrounds of engineering, science, and economics.

MATLAB was invented by mathematician and computer programmer Cleve Moler.

The idea for MATLAB was based on his 1960s PhD thesis.

Moler became a math professor at the University of New Mexico and started developing MATLAB for his students as a hobby.

He developed MATLAB's initial linear algebra programming in 1967 with his one-time thesis advisor, George Forsythe.

This was followed by Fortran code for linear equations in 1971.

In the beginning (before version 1.0) MATLAB "was not a programming language; it was a simple interactive matrix calculator.

There were no programs, no toolboxes, no graphics. And no ODEs or FFTs."

The first early version of MATLAB was completed in the late 1970s.

The software was disclosed to the public for the first time in February 1979 at the Naval Postgraduate School in California.

Early versions of MATLAB were simple matrix calculators with 71 pre-built functions.

At the time, MATLAB was distributed for free to universities.

Moler would leave copies at universities he visited and the software developed a strong following in the math departments of university campuses.

In the 1980s, Cleve Moler met John N. Little.

They decided to reprogram MATLAB in C and market it for the IBM desktops that were replacing mainframe computers at the time.

John Little and programmer Steve Bangert re-programmed MATLAB in C, created the MATLAB programming language, and developed features for toolboxes.

Commercial development
MATLAB was first released as a commercial product in 1984 at the Automatic Control Conference in Las Vegas.

MathWorks, Inc. was founded to develop the software and the MATLAB programming language was released.

The first MATLAB sale was the following year, when Nick Trefethen from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology bought ten copies.

By the end of the 1980s, several hundred copies of MATLAB had been sold to universities for student use.

The software was popularized largely thanks to toolboxes created by experts in various fields for performing specialized mathematical tasks.

Many of the toolboxes were developed as a result of Stanford students that used MATLAB in academia, then brought the software with them to the private sector.

Over time, MATLAB was re-written for early operating systems created by Digital Equipment Corporation, VAX, Sun Microsystems, and for Unix PCs.

Version 3 was released in 1987.

The first MATLAB compiler was developed by Stephen C. Johnson in the 1990s.

In 2000, MathWorks added a Fortran-based library for linear algebra in MATLAB 6, replacing the software's original LINPACK and EISPACK subroutines that were in C.

MATLAB's Parallel Computing Toolbox was released at the 2004 Supercomputing Conference and support for graphics processing units (GPUs) was added to it in 2010.

Recent history
Some especially large changes to the software were made with version 8 in 2012.

The user interface was reworked[citation needed] and Simulink's functionality was expanded.

By 2016, MATLAB had introduced several technical and user interface improvements, including the MATLAB Live Editor notebook, and other features.

MATLAB supports structure data types.

Since all variables in MATLAB are arrays, a more adequate name is "structure array", where each element of the array has the same field names. In addition, MATLAB supports dynamic field names.

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