Hands On MATLAB Sessions


Helping Out (L to R): Dr. Nate Barlow and CCR's Cynthia Cornelius assist a MATLAB session participant.

Published September 2013

By Ashley Steves

Everyone says the best way to learn a language is to learn it hands on; computing languages are no different.

“Sessions and workshops [like these] are part of the CCR’s mission to enable research and scholarships at UB.”
Cynthia Cornelius, Systems Analyst
Center for Computational Research (CCR)

The Center for Computational Research (CCR) and MathWorks teamed up this last April and May to offer a series of MATLAB presentations and workshops.

MATLAB, or matrix laboratory, is a numerical computing environment and high-performance programming language. It integrates computation, visualization and programming in an easy-to-use environment where problems and solutions are expressed in familiar mathematical notations.

The seminar series began as a joint effort between Mathworks and CCR. The two sessions were held on March 21 and 22 in Clemens 120 and given by Mehernaz Savai, a MathWorks engineer, and Debbi Cohen, a MathWorks account manager. The first demo, entitled “Data Analysis and Visualization using MATLAB,” taught approximately 85 faculty, staff and students in attendance tasks such as importing data into MATLAB, building graphic user interfaces (GUIs) and generating reports and automating analysis.

Dr. Nate Barlow

Dr. Nate Barlow teaching an April 2013 session.

“Sessions and workshops [like these] are part of the CCR’s mission to enable research and scholarships at UB,” said CCR Systems Analyst Cynthia Cornelius. CCR’s mission statement matches those sentiments, stressing the importance of “providing faculty with access to high-performance computing and visualization resources” and “[providing] education, outreach, and training in Western New York.”

The March 22 session, a demo on Parallel Computing with MATLAB, yielded approximately 45 attendees. Between the first two days, Cynthia estimated the audience was about five to 10 percent faculty.

Following the completion of the sessions, attendees were given the opportunity to work with MATLAB hands-on at two workshops on April 8 and 10. Attendees brought their own laptops and learned how to create and submit code through MATLAB’s Distributed Computing Server (MDCS).

MATLAB participants

CCR’s Dr. Nate Barlow gave both workshop sessions in April. The attendance for the April 8 and April 10 sessions were 17 and seven, respectively, and attended by a receptive group of grad students and post-doctorate students.

“I would say it was very positive,” said Nate. “Maybe 60 percent of people had already used MATLAB before and were pretty comfortable with it, and they were just coming to learn what the latest and greatest is that had been added to the new version, but they had really good questions.”

This isn’t the last of seminars from CCR. According to Cynthia, comments from the attendees showed the sessions were a success, and now Nate and Cynthia are planning to give another MATLAB workshop on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 with Dr. Shawn Mattot. The new sessions will focus on using MATLAB’s parallel computing toolbox, as well as the MATLAB Distributing Computing Server.

“I think what we’ll be doing will be talking about the parallel computing toolbox and most of the talk will focus on that,” said Nate. “That is something that everybody on campus that has the UB-licensed MATLAB has access to, so that will get the widest audience.”

Additionally, future workshops on graphics processing units (GPUs) and big data/Hadoop are currently under development.

For more information on the October 1 session, please visit CCR's website. Additional sessions will be scheduled in the near future.