“Essential MATLAB and Octave” is now available
In the UK it will be out around the 4th of December so keep an eye on the Amazon page.
I also want to share with you an endorsement from Prof Sabino Chávez-Cerda from INAOE:
This is an excellent book for anyone approaching Matlab or Octave for the first time. The pleasant language used throughout the book creates the sensation of having the author by your side. If you have the intention of self-learning the basics Matlab from where you can start doing big technical or scientific projects this is the book that will help you to get your goals.
This is friendly a hands on practical self-study guide to Matlab and Octave for the beginner. With words of advice and caution. This is not what could be considered formally a reference book, for that purpose one have the help within any of both programs, but this is a book that will take teach how to walk to be able to run on your own. An interesting feature are the examples used to explain the use of functions and operations. They appear to be simple but it is years of experience that show the opposite, they can be the building blocks of more complex programmes.
The author presents without complicated language in the first three chapters the necessary commands to start solving simple mathematical problems. In science an engineering results are usually displayed graphically in different kind of plots. One of the aspects that I want to highlight regarding this book is that, compared to other similar texts on Octave and Matlab, the author introduces at an early stage how to produce line and surface plots with Matlab and Octave. It is very attractive to students to be able to quickly produce plots with scientific journal quality. Having this tool is like having a springboard that is complemented with the commands coming in the next chapter.
Chapter 5 presents programming structures common to high level programming languages explaining the particularities for Matlab and Octave. Finally in Chapter 6 the author presents examples form different disciplines exposed in a very and straight forward way that once they are reproduced by the reader, he or she will have the confidence on working problems of their own disciplines being these easy or with a certain level of complexity.
The side help are great as they can also work as virtual bookmarks when required to comeback to the explanation of a Matlab or Octave command. It has been shown in psychology experiments that this kind of features in a paper book are kept in memory and that can be retrieved more easily when needed.
There are a very few books devoted to the learning of Octave, although this might be because its high compatibility with Matlab or lack of knowledge of its existence. The main difference between these two is that Matlab is a commercial software and Octave is an open source software. On the technical side between Matlab and Octave there are a few commands that are different but this book helps you highlighting the most useful ones. Introducing Octave, is a plus for this book in developing countries where access to software with prices above one thousand dollars are simply beyond of considering even for universities.
I have found this obstacle in Mexican and Brazilian Universities where I was invited to teach a course on Computational Physics, the universities did not own Matlab and did not have the resources to buy it. I am a Matlab user but knowing of Octave I suggested to get it and install it, they were so happy as they had two things at once the course and a software that could be used for future generations.
The book is just the right size at above the two hundred pages that are enlarged by the friendly format that otherwise would be below the two hundred pages line. The density and the writing style of the text makes it easy to read and grab the information intended to be learned. It has references to recent literature and also provides information about relevant websites.
In conclusion, the book Essential Matlab and Octave, a Beginners handbook is an easy read that will provide the necessary tools to begin working with Matlab or Octave in a short period of time, that with some dedication it can be of no more than two weeks.
Prof. Sabino Chávez-Cerda
INAOE, México, OSA Fellow