MATLAB and R - By Faye Hong

Many people complaint about the costs of MATLAB Licenses. But, why aren't they using Octave, R or Python?  Can R replace MATLAB?  Certainly, it must be because there are advantages in MATLAB that are unbeatable.

Some quick answers from The Mathworks website:

MATLAB outpaces R in several important ways:

High-Productivity Analysis and Modeling Tools

High-quality algorithms you can rely on: MATLAB algorithms are field-proven from use by millions of engineers and scientists. MathWorks has over 250 full-time quality and test engineers who validate product quality and accuracy, and ensure the software passes extensive test suites before being released.

Environment and apps tuned for engineering and scientific tasks: Unlike traditional programming languages, the MATLAB IDE is optimized for efficient data pre-processing and analytics. It includes apps that help you quickly accomplish common workflow tasks and iterate without writing code. Data exploration apps, for instance, enable data import, filtering, plotting, and fitting models to your data.

Import, select, and filter data.
EnlargeImport, select, and filter data.
Create and edit plots without coding.
EnlargeCreate and edit plots without coding.
Fit models to data with the Curve Fitting app.
EnlargeFit models to data with the Curve Fitting app.
 

Easy-to-learn language: Compared to R, which was developed for statisticians, the MATLAB language is easy to learn and remember because the syntax is simple and consistent by design across products.

Core mathematical building blocks: MATLAB provides an extensive set of functions for linear algebra, matrix manipulation, and mathematics.

Extensive collection of application-specific toolboxes: Unlike community-developed libraries, MATLAB toolboxes include highly expressive function libraries and point-and-click apps that are all fully integrated in the MATLAB environment. Areas covered include statistics, machine learning, signal processing, image and video processing, computer vision, optimization, symbolic computing, control systems, test and measurement, computational finance, and computational biology.

Faster Performance

Fast execution: MATLAB has built-in multithreading for fast computation on multicore-enabled machines. MATLAB is faster than R when run in the R community-developed Benchmark 2.5 test. In addition, MATLAB is between 3 and 120 times faster than R when run in a statistics examples test, which include singular value decomposition (SVD), principal component analysis (PCA), and linear discriminant analysis (LDA).

Parallel computing: For computationally intensive tasks, you can run multiple MATLAB engines in parallel with Parallel Computing Toolbox. Many toolbox functions have built-in parallel computing support. You can also speed up execution with a parallel for-loop, by scaling up with compute clusters, or by using the Amazon EC2 Cloud with MATLAB Distributed Computing Server.

Easy Deployment

Advanced programming tools: MATLAB has tools that developers or IT professionals need in order to integrate and deploy their analytics models. These include an interactive debugger, object-oriented programming, a code performance profiler, a unit testing framework, source control integration, and a graphical user interface builder.

Sharing and royalty-free integration: You can share your work by publishing your MATLAB code in HTML, PDF, XML, Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, or LaTeX. You can share standalone MATLAB applications or create shared libraries to integrate into JavaMicrosoft .NET, and Excel applications. Deployment with MATLAB Compiler is royalty-free so other users can access your application.

Faster Answers in Doc, Support, and Community

Complete documentation: An integral part of MathWorks products is the documentation. It’s fully searchable online and within the MATLAB desktop, and includes hundreds of code examples. User feedback like this is very common: “The documentation of MATLAB is really exceptional. Nothing I’ve seen compares to it.” Meanwhile, open source users commonly say “I need to Google stuff or look in online public forums, which is a complete time hog.”

Professional support: MathWorks has over 200 dedicated technical support experts worldwide ready to answer questions and troubleshoot problems. Most have advanced degrees and the team has a direct escalation path to development for advanced support.

Vibrant user community: MATLAB has an extensive community of engineers and scientists across many disciplines that spans industry, research, and academia. You can tap into the experience of thousands of MATLAB users and MathWorks staff with online resources such as the MATLAB File ExchangeMATLAB AnswersCody, and blogs from the experts.

 

 

 

 

 

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