Book cover

Matlab for Engineers Explained

Fredrik Gustafsson, and Niclas Bergman

Springer, 2003


This book has a rather unique style... it's broken into 27 mini-lectures split across three main 'topics': Learning Matlab, Advanced Programming, and Applications. Each mini-lecture constitutes a some 2-10 or so pages where they describe a particular problem and its solution on the left side of the page and list the Matlab code to solve that problem on the right hand side. They don't usually give much motivation for _why_ you might actually care about that particular problem, but if it's not reasonably self-evident (as in the case of the Learning/Advanced Matlab), most of the solutions are so compelling that it opens your eyes to ways to solves other problems that you might have never thought of before. Note that the authors assume that, for any given problem, you already have a grasp of the concepts involved. I.e., when they discuss eigenvalues and eigenvectors, the emphasis is on their use to solve a problem, but they assume you already know the definition of the 'pieces.' The applications are usually at the level of an advanced undergraduate or graduate level curriculum (i.e., they are not trivial). What you get is a TREMENDOUS amount of information in 218 pages. It's not trying in any way to be a complete reference to Matlab, but instead is trying to get you just enough information about lots of very different aspects of programming and applications that you'll have no problem filling in the details for yourself. Hence, I wouldn't recommend it for beginners, but if you've already played with some other math package (or Matlab itself) and have an idea as to the basics, you can become a much more proficient 'power user' with this book. At the end of many mini-lectures, there are various 'exercises' for the ready to complete. Happily, the solutions are included in the back of the book! In the applications section, the exercises are not always particularly Matlab related but instead are intended to get you to solidify your understanding of, say, SVD so that you don't just trust the tool blindly. As the exercises form a valuable type of feedback, it makes the book quite usable for self-instruction. I don't think there's such a thing as a 'perfect' book that tries to address so many topics while keeping the page count reasonable, so while I can't give this particular attempt 5 stars, it's as good as any other I've seen and the price is quite reasonable for what you get.
**** (4/5 rating) Joel Kolstad (Portland, OR USA) at

Contact the authors:
Fredrik Gustafsson