The name MATLAB stands for MATrix LABoratory. MATLAB was written originally to provide easy access to matrix software developed by the LINPACK (linear system package) and EISPACK (Eigen system package) projects.
MATLAB is a high-performance language for technical computing.
It integrates computation, visualization, and programming environment. Furthermore, MATLAB is a modern programming language environment: it has sophisticated data structures, contains built-in editing and debugging tools, and supports object-oriented programming.
These factors make MATLAB an excellent tool for teaching and research. MATLAB has many advantages compared to conventional computer languages (e.g., C, FORTRAN) for solving technical problems.
MATLAB is an interactive system whose basic data element is an array that does not require dimensioning.
The software package has been commercially available since 1984 and is now considered as a standard tool at most universities and industries worldwide.
It has powerful built-in routines that enable a very wide variety of computations. It also has easy to use graphics commands that make the visualization of results immediately available.
Specific applications are collected in packages referred to as toolbox. There are toolboxes for signal processing, symbolic computation, control theory, simulation, optimization, and several other fields of applied science and engineering.