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Physical Modeling in MATLAB

Author: Allen Downey
Subject: Computer Science
Source: Open Textbook Library
Publisher: Green Tea Press


Most books that use MATLAB are aimed at readers who know how to program. This book is for people who have never programmed before. As a result/ the order of presentation is unusual. The book starts with scalar values and works up to vectors and matrices very gradually. This approach is good for beginning programmers/ because it is hard to understand composite objects until you understand basic programming semantics. But there are problems: The MATLAB documentation is written in terms of matrices/ and so are the error messages. To mitigate this problem/ the book explains the necessary vocabulary early and deciphers some of the messages that beginners find confusing. Many of the examples in the first half of the book are non-standard MATLAB. I address this problem in the second half by translating the examples into a more idiomatic style. The book puts a lot of emphasis on functions/ in part because they are an important tool for controlling program complexity/ and also because they are useful for working with MATLAB tools like fzero and ode45. I assume that readers know calculus/ differential equations/ and physics/ but not linear algebra. I explain the math as I go along/ but the descriptions might not be enough for someone who hasn't seen the material before. There are small exercises within each chapter/ and a few larger exercises at the end of some chapters.

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