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Matlab-ish Alternative?

modeling vectors 3d spaces

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#1 YounGMessiah

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 23:03

Hi once again,


Im looking for an alternative possibly free, but I doubt it (so paid ones are fine) that enables more capability for modeling vectors, 3d spaces, units, etc...


EDIT: Reasoning: understanding them more and curiosity


#2 +BudMan

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 23:26

Off the top http://freemat.sourceforge.net/ comes to mind.. There is also http://www.scilab.org/ and https://www.gnu.org/software/octave/

#3 +Karl L.

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 23:41

While I had never heard of FreeMat or Scilab before, I have used MATLAB and Octave quite a bit. I'm not really interested in FreeMat, but Scilab looks AWESOME (other than all the Java dependencies apt-get wants to install with it). Thanks for the tip BudMan!

#4 OP YounGMessiah

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 00:17

Off the top http://freemat.sourceforge.net/ comes to mind.. There is also http://www.scilab.org/ and https://www.gnu.org/software/octave/


Hmm I wish FreeMat had more documentation, so I can see more of behind the works of how they improved the 3d visualization and n-dimension stuff.

With all three not much on documentation on what I want to see. In the end though it comes with trials, ill just try all of em and see if one is past the parameters of Matlab's functions.

Im pretty sure once I install these programs, I can look through the help section to learn more about certain functions.

Scilab does look good, but from just shifting through some documentation, they seem have some limitations as Matlab does.

On a separate note, do you know how these programs do in the signals and systems area? Curious if its improved from what Matlab has, although Matlab has really strong modules and toolboxes.

#5 +Karl L.

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 05:52

I have primarily used MATLAB for signals and systems computations, but most discrete modeling software would work. While Octave is definitely my second choice, there is a reason that MATLAB is the industry leader: its very powerful and well supported.

Most open-source projects are lacking in documentation because documentation is boring to write. When a developer writes open-source software, he often does it because he likes it. So long as he understands how it works, that is usually deemed good enough. Documentation is secondary. While this is probably not a good approach, as an open-source developer I can definitely understand why most other developers feel this way.

Unfortunately if you want to understand how a poorly documented open-source product is doing something, you will need to fumble through the user interface or scour the source code. On the bright side, I have seen many open-source projects with very good quality source code because the developer is passionate about his work. If you are really interested in learning how the magic happens at the most technical level, the source code is definitely the way to do that. Source availability is a distinct advantage of the open-source alternatives BudMan listed compared to MATLAB.

#6 OP YounGMessiah

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 23:49

Has anyone used Tecplot???

#7 Draconian Guppy

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 21:14

Wolfram|Alpha :p

#8 OP YounGMessiah

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 18:21

Very limited useful for formulas and equations though

#9 Shadrack

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 23:52

If possible, look into educational discount pricing of Matlab to see if that is more affordable.

I've used Octave and GNUPlot and think they are OK. Octave is great, but GNUPlot I was less impressed with.

R is a completely different language and platform than Matlab is and is oriented towards Statistical analysis but there is a lot of overlap in functionality. R is GPL-2 licensed and is extremely powerful. I think that it is a free alternative to S. I use R quite a bit.

#10 tiagosilva29

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 23:59

We use GNU Octave for neural networks.

#11 AsherGZ

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 01:20

According to my professor, Matlab is the de facto industry standard tool used for signals and systems, however most companies develop in-house software for Control Systems implementation tailored to their needs.
Wolfram Alpha is basically the stripped down online version of Wolfram's Mathematica suite. Never used it personally but looks quite feature rich with same user friendliness as Alpha and the interface is not as bland as Matlab. Plus there's tons of documentation available. Might give this a try myself sometime. There's also Mathcad from PTC which I think has a free version available. Although it looks more of a tool for mathematicians than engineers, there's 3d vector plotting.