MATLAB: A Practical Introduction to Programming and Problem Solving 5th Edition
Book Preface
MOTIVATION
The purpose of this book is to teach basic programming concepts and skills needed for basic problem solving, all using MATLAB® as the vehicle. MATLAB is a powerful software package that has built-in functions to accomplish a diverse range of tasks, from mathematical operations to three-dimensional imaging. Additionally, MATLAB has a complete set of programming constructs that allows users to customize programs to their own specifications.
There are many books that introduce MATLAB. There are two basic flavors of these books: those that demonstrate the use of the built-in functions in MATLAB, with a chapter or two on some programming concepts, and those that cover only the programming constructs without mentioning many of the builtin functions that make MATLAB efficient to use. Someone who learns just the built-in functions will be well-prepared to use MATLAB, but would not understand basic programming concepts. That person would not be able to then learn a language such as C++ or Java without taking another introductory course, or reading another book, on the programming concepts. Conversely, anyone who learns only programming concepts first (using any language) would tend to write highly inefficient code using control statements to solve problems, not realizing that in many cases these are not necessary in MATLAB. Instead, this book takes a hybrid approach, introducing both the programming and the efficient uses. The challenge for students is that it is nearly impossible to predict whether they will in fact need to know programming concepts later on or whether a software package such as MATLAB will suffice for their careers. Therefore, the best approach for beginners is to give them both: the programming concepts and the efficient built-in functions. Since MATLAB is very easy to use, it is a perfect platform for this approach of teaching programming and problem solving.
As programming concepts are critically important to this book, emphasis is not placed on the time-saving features that evolve with every new MATLAB release. For example, in most versions of MATLAB, statistics on variables are available readily in the Workspace Window. This is not shown with any detail in the book, as whether this feature is available depends on the version of the software and because of the desire to explain the concepts in the book.
MODIFICATIONS IN FIFTH EDITION
The changes in the Fifth Edition of this book include the following.
n Use of MATLAB Version R2018a
n A revised Text Manipulation chapter, which includes manipulating character vectors as well as the new string type
n Introduction to alternate MATLAB platforms, including MATLAB Mobile
n Local functions within scripts
n The new output format for most expression types
n Introduction to the RESTFUL web functions which import data from websites
n Increased coverage of App Designer, which may eventually replace GUIs and uses object-oriented programming
n Introduction to recording audio from a built-in device such as a microphone
n Modified and new end-of-chapter exercises
n More coverage of data structures including categorical arrays and tables
n Increased coverage of built-in functions in MATLAB
n Modifications to symbolic math expressions
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