Read more about Physical Modeling in MATLAB

Physical Modeling in MATLAB

(9 reviews)

Allen Downey, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

Copyright Year: 2009

Publisher: Green Tea Press

Language: English

Formats Available

Conditions of Use

Free Documentation License (GNU)
Free Documentation License (GNU)


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Reviewed by Diane DiMassa, Professor, Massachusetts Maritime Academy on 6/22/20

This book is intended for students who have never programmed before. It assumes some knowledge of basic physics, calculus, and differential equations. The text focuses on programming and MATLAB and does not review the mathematics. It is... read more

Reviewed by Aaron Coyner, Associate Professor of Physics, Southwestern Oregon Community College on 10/18/19

This text provides a solid introduction to MATLAB programming and solving pertinent physical or engineering problems using the software. The concepts covered are in my view ideal for an introductory engineering course in MATLAB. The concepts... read more

Reviewed by Caizhi Zhou, Assistant Professor, Missouri University of Science and Technology on 10/30/18

This book contains the most basic function and operations in Matlab for physical modeling and calculations. read more

Reviewed by Sanichiro Yoshida, Professor, Southeastern Louisiana University on 6/20/17

This book covers the fundamentals of MATLAB essential for beginners to conduct numerical analysis. It is user friendly and easy to use. It would be great if this book has sections to explain file input/output, file formatting, handling graphs and... read more

Reviewed by Mohammad Saadeh, Associate Professor, Southeastern Louisiana University on 6/20/17

The text covers the major topics that a typical MATLAB course should contain. The glossary section in each chapter provides a powerful tool for the student to recap the chapter and identify the concepts again read more

Reviewed by Anathea Pepperl, Assistant Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University on 2/8/17

The text covers introductory programming appropriately and is an excellent resource for students with no programming background. The author tends to focus on an application and using programming methods to make the job of the programmer easier. ... read more

Reviewed by Katie Sheldon, Adjunct Professor, Central Oregon Community College on 8/21/16

This book covers introductory programming with MATLAB in a methodical manner. This textbook was perfect for students who did not have a programming background. The text did a nice job summarizing chapters and explaining terms and methods in a... read more

Reviewed by Andrew Paluch, Assistant Professor, Miami University on 8/21/16

I currently teach a sophomore-level introduction to MATLAB and numerical methods course for chemical engineers. This text is perfect, and I plan to use it in place of a traditional textbook. MathWorks has a large number of very good MATLAB... read more

Reviewed by Curtis Lipski, Part Time Instructor- Engineering, Portland Community College on 8/21/16

Physical Modeling for MATLAB is a text book that would provide a great reference text book for our Electrical Circuits series courses (three courses) where MATLAB is used in the laboratory portion of the course. The text provides all the areas of... read more

Table of Contents

  • 1 Variables and Values
  • 2 Scripts
  • 3 Loops
  • 4 Vectors
  • 5 Functions
  • 6 Zero-finding
  • 7 Functions of vectors
  • 8 Ordinary Differential Equations
  • 9 Systems of ODEs
  • 10 Second-order systems
  • 11 Optimization and Interpolation
  • 12 Vectors as vectors

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  • About the Book

    Most books that use MATLAB are aimed at readers who know how to program. This book is for people who have never programmed before. As a result, the order of presentation is unusual. The book starts with scalar values and works up to vectors and matrices very gradually. This approach is good for beginning programmers, because it is hard to understand composite objects until you understand basic programming semantics. But there are problems:

    • The MATLAB documentation is written in terms of matrices, and so are the error messages. To mitigate this problem, the book explains the necessary vocabulary early and deciphers some of the messages that beginners find confusing.
    • Many of the examples in the first half of the book are non-standard MATLAB. I address this problem in the second half by translating the examples into a more idiomatic style.

    The book puts a lot of emphasis on functions, in part because they are an important tool for controlling program complexity, and also because they are useful for working with MATLAB tools like fzero and ode45. I assume that readers know calculus, differential equations, and physics, but not linear algebra. I explain the math as I go along, but the descriptions might not be enough for someone who hasn't seen the material before. There are small exercises within each chapter, and a few larger exercises at the end of some chapters.

    About the Contributors


    Allen Downey is an American computer scientist, Professor of Computer Science at the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering and writer of free textbooks. Downey received in 1989 his BS and in 1990 his MA, both in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his PhD in Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley in 1997. He started his career as Research Fellow in the San Diego Supercomputer Center in 1995. In 1997 he became Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Colby College, and in 2000 at Wellesley College. He was Research Fellow at Boston University in 2002 and Professor of Computer Science at the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering since 2003. In 2009-2010 he was also Visiting Scientist at Google Inc.

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