# Glossary for *Differential Equations with MATLAB*, 3rd edition

**For the updated version of this glossary for MATLAB 2019a, please go here.**

This glossary is divided into the following sections:

- MATLAB Operators: the special symbols used by MATLAB,
- MATLAB Commands: commands that manipulate data or expressions, or that initiate a process,
- Built-in Functions: basic mathematical functions that can be evaluated or plotted,
- Graphics Commands: commands using in creating or modifying figures,
- Built-in Constants,
- MATLAB Programming: commands used for programming and structuring M-files,
- Simulink Blocks: the Simulink blocks most useful for the Simulink problems in this book. For a more extensive listing of Simulink blocks, see the Simulink documentation.
- Useful MuPAD Commands: for using MuPAD directly (rather than through the Symbolic Math Toolbox interface).

The distinction among these various categories, especially among commands and programming constructs, is somewhat artificial.

Each item is followed by a brief description of its effect and then (in most cases) one or more examples. To get more information on a command, you can use the **help** command or the Help Browser. This glossary is not a comprehensive list of MATLAB commands, but it includes the commands most useful for studying differential equations.

## MATLAB Operators

**@**- Marker for a function handle, used to refer to a built-in function or to create an anonymous function.
- f = @(x, y) x.^2.*y + y.^2
- quadl(@atan, 0, 1)
**\**- Left matrix division.
**X = A\B**is the solution of**A*X = B**. Type**help slash**for more information. - A = [1 0; 2 1]; B = [3; 5]; A\B
**/**- Ordinary division or right matrix division. Type
**help slash**for more information. - ./
- Element-by-element division of arrays. Type
**help rdivide**for more information. - *
- Scalar or matrix multiplication, depending on context. Type
**help mtimes**for more information. - .*
- Element-by-element multiplication of arrays. Type
**help times**for more information. - ^
- Scalar or matrix power, depending on context. Type
**help mpower**for more information. - .^
- Element-by-element power. Type
**help power**for more information. - :
- Range operator, used for defining vectors. Type
**help colon**for more information. - '
- Single quote mark, used for beginning and ending strings. Also used to denote the conjugate transpose of a matrix (see
**ctranspose**). - .'
- Denotes the transpose of a matrix (see also
**transpose**). - ;
- Suppresses output of a MATLAB command. Also used to separate rows of a matrix.
- X = 0:0.1:30;
- A = [1 2 3; 4 5 6; 7 8 9]
- ...
- Line continuation operator. Cannot be used inside strings.
- 1 + 3 + 5 + 7 + 9 + 11 ...
- + 13 + 15 + 17
- ['This is a way to create very long strings ', ...
- 'that span more than one line. Note the ', ...
- 'square brackets.']

## MATLAB Commands

**addpath**- Adds the specified directory to MATLAB's file search path.
- addpath('C:\my_mfiles')
- addpath C:\my_mfiles
**ans**- A variable holding the value of the most recent unassigned output.
**bvp4c**- Boundary value problem solver. Usually requires use of
**bvpinit**to set the ``initial guess'' argument. The example below solves and plots the solution of*y''+y=0*with boundary values*y(0)=0, y(π/2)=1*. - solinit = bvpinit((0:0.1:1)*pi/2, [1, 0]);
- sol = bvp4c(@(x, y) [y(2); –y(1)], ...
- @(ya, yb) [ya(1); yb(1) – 1], solinit);

- plot(sol.x, sol.y(1,:))
**cd**- Makes the specified directory the current (working) directory.
- cd C:\mydocs\mfiles
**char**- Converts a symbolic expression to a string. Useful for defining inline functions or for defining input to
**dsolve**. - syms x y
- f = inline(char(sin(x)*sin(y)), 'x', 'y')

**clear**- Clears values and definitions for variables and functions. If you specify one or more variables, then only those variables are cleared.
- clear
- clear f, g
**collect**- Collects coefficients of powers of the specified symbolic variable in a given symbolic expression.
- syms x y
- collect(x^2 – 2*x^2 + 3*x + x*y, x)
**conj**- Gives the complex conjugate of a complex number.
- conj(2 + 3*i)
**ctranspose**- Conjugate transpose of a matrix. Usually invoked with the
**'**operator. Equivalent to**transpose**for real matrices. - A = [1 3 i]; A'
**D**- Not a true MATLAB command. Used in the
**dsolve**command to denote differentiation. See**diff**. - dsolve('t*Dy + y = sin(t)')
**deal**- Distributes its arguments to different variables.
- [r, t] = deal(sqrt(x^2 + y^2), atan2(y, x))
**delete**- Deletes a file from the disk.
- delete filename
**det**- The determinant of a matrix.
- det([1 3; 4 5])
**deval**- Evaluates a numerical solution to an ODE at specified points.
- sol = ode45(@(t, y) t.*y, [0, 5], 1)
- deval(sol, 1)
**diff**- Symbolic differentiation operator (and difference operator).
- syms x; diff(x^3)
- syms x y; diff(x*y^2, y)
**dir**- Lists the files in a directory.
**disp**- Displays a string or the value of a variable.
- disp('The answer is:'), disp(a)
**doc**- Displays details about a specific command in the Help Browser.
- doc print
**double**- Gives a double precision value for either a numeric or symbolic quantity. Applied to a string,
**double**returns a vector of ASCII codes for the characters in the string. - z = sym('pi'); double(z)
**dsolve**- Symbolic ODE solver. By default, the independent variable is
**t**, but a different variable can be specified as the last argument. The input must be a string, not a symbolic expression. - dsolve('D2y – t*y = 0')
- dsolve('Dy + y^2 = 0', 'y(0) = 1', 'x')
- [x, y] = dsolve('Dx = 2*x + y', 'Dy = – x')
**echo**- Turns on or off the echoing of commands inside script M-files.
**edit**- Opens an M-file in the Editor/Debugger.
- edit mymfile
**eig**- Computes eigenvalues and eigenvectors of a square matrix.
- eig([2, 3; 4, 5])
- [e, v] = eig([1, 0, 0; 1, 1, 1; 1, 2, 4])
**end**- Last entry of a vector. (Also a programming construct.)
- v(end)
- v(3:end)
**eval**- Evaluates a string or symbolic expression. Useful in M-files or in defining anonymous functions.
- sol = dsolve('Dy = t^2 + y', 'y(0) = 2', 't');
- fsol = @(t) eval(vectorize(sol))
**eye**- The identity matrix of the specified size.
**factor**- Factors a polynomial or integer.
- syms x y; factor(x^4 – y^4)
**feval**- Evaluates a function specified by a string. Useful in function M-files.
- feval('exp', 1)
**format**- Specifies the output format for numerical variables.
- format short
- format long
**fzero**- Tries to find a zero of the specified function or expression (given as a string) near a given starting point or on a specified interval. If the first argument is a string, the independent variable must be
**x**. - fzero(@cos, [–pi 0])
- fzero('cos(x) – x', 1)
**help**- Asks for documentation for a MATLAB command. See also
**lookfor**. - help factor
**ilaplace**- Inverse Laplace Transform.
- syms s t; ilaplace(1/s, s, t)
**inline**- Constructs a MATLAB inline function from a string expression. Useful in MATLAB 6, but discouraged in later versions, in which it is better to use anonymous functions.
- sol = dsolve('Dy = t^2 + y', 'y(0) = 2', 't')
- fsol = inline(vectorize(sol), 't')
**int**- Integration operator for both definite and indefinite integrals.
- int('1/(1 + x^2)', 'x')
- syms x; int(exp(–x), x, 0, Inf)
**inv**- Inverse of a square matrix.
- inv([1 2; 3 5])
**jacobian**- Computes the Jacobian matrix,
*i.e.*, the matrix of partial derivatives with respect to the indicated variables. - syms x y; jacobian([x^2*y y–x], [x y])
**laplace**- Computes the Laplace Transform.
- syms t s; laplace(t^5, t, s)
**length**- Returns the number of elements in a vector or string.
- length('abcde')
**limit**- Finds a two-sided limit, if it exists. Use
**right**or**left**for one-sided limits. - syms x; limit(sin(x)/x, x, 0)
- syms x; limit(1/x, x, Inf, 'left')
**load**- Loads Workspace variables from a disk file with a
`.mat`suffix. - load filename
**lookfor**- Searches for a specified string in the first line of all M-files found in the MATLAB path. Can be slow if many toolboxes are installed.
- lookfor ode
**more**- Turns on (or off) page-by-page scrolling of MATLAB output. Use the space bar to advance to the next page, the
`ENTER`or`RETURN`key to advance line-by-line, and**q**to abort the output. - more on
- more off
**num2str**- Converts a number to a string. Useful in programming.
- constant = ['a' num2str(1)]
**ode45**- Numerical ODE solver for first order equations. See MATLAB's online help for
**ode45**for a list of other MATLAB ODE solvers. - [t, y] = ode45(@(t, y) t^2 + y, [0 10], 1);
- plot(t, y)
**odeset**- Used to set options for
**ode45**, such as**Events**,**AbsTol**, and**RelTol**. - options = odeset('Events', @eventfile)
**ones**- Creates a matrix of ones.
- ones(3), ones(3,1)
**path**- Without an argument, displays the search path. With an argument, sets the search path.
**pause**- Suspends execution of an M-file until the user presses a key.
**pretty**- Displays a symbolic expression in a more readable format.
- syms x y; expr = x/(x – 3)/(x + 2/y)
- pretty(expr)
**publish**- Runs the specified M-file and assembles input, comments, and output into a finished document in specified format. (The default is a web page,
*i.e.*, html format.) - publish('mymfile', 'doc')
**pwd**- Shows the name of the current (working) directory.
**quadl**- Numerical integrator. The input function must be ``vectorized.''
- quadl(@(x) (1–x.^2).^(1/2), –1, 1)
**quit**- Terminates a MATLAB session.
**roots**- Finds the roots of a polynomial whose coefficients are given by the elements of the vector argument of
**roots**. - roots([1 1 –2])
**save**- Saves Workspace variables to a specified file. See
**load**. - save filename
**sim**- Runs a Simulink model. Specifying the time interval is optional.
- sim('mymodel', [0, 5])
**simplify**- Simplifies an algebraic expression.
- syms x; simplify((x+1)^2 – x^2)
**size**- Returns the number of rows and the number of columns in a matrix.
- A = [1 3 2; 4 1 5]
- [r, c] = size(A)
**solve**- Solves an algebraic equation. Will guess what the independent variable is if it is not specified.
- solve('x^2 + 3*x + 1')
**strcat**- Concatenates two or more strings.
- strcat('This ', 'is ', 'a ', 'long ', 'string')
**str2num**- Converts a string to a number. Useful in programming.
- constant = 'a7'
- index = str2num(constant(2))
**struct**- Used to create a ``structure.''
- x = struct; x.first = 'a'; x.second = 'b'; x
**subs**- Substitutes for parts of an expression.
- subs('x^3 – 4*x + 1', 'x', 2)
- subs('sin(x)^2 + cos(x)', 'sin(x)', 'z')
**sum**- Sums a vector, or sums the columns of a matrix.
- k = 1:10; sum(k)
**sym**- Creates a symbolic variable or number.
- pi = sym('pi')
- x = sym('x')
- constant = sym('1/2')
**syms**- Shortcut for creating symbolic variables. The command
**syms x**is equivalent to**x = sym('x')**. - syms x y z
**symsum**- Evaluates a symbolic sum in closed form.
- syms x n; symsum(x^n/n, n, 1, inf)
**taylor**- Gives a Taylor polynomial approximation of order one less than a specified number (the default is 6) around a specified point (default 0). Will guess what the independent variable is if it is not specified.
- syms x; taylor(cos(x), 8, 0)
- taylor(exp(1/x), 10, x, inf)
**transpose**- Transpose of a matrix. Converts a column vector to a row vector, and vice versa. Usually invoked with the
**.'**operator. See also**ctranspose**. - A = [1 3 4]
- A.'
**type**- Displays the contents of a specified file.
- type myfile.m
**vectorize**- Vectorizes a symbolic expression. Useful in defining functions; see also
**eval**and**inline**. - f = inline(vectorize('x^2 – 1/x'))
**vpa**- Evaluates an expression to the specified degree of accuracy using variable precision arithmetic.
- vpa('1/3', 20)
**whos**- Lists current information on all the variables in the Workspace.
**zeros**- Creates a matrix of zeros.
- zeros(10), zeros(1,10)

## Built-in MATLAB Functions

**abs**- absolute value
**acos**- inverse cosine
**airy**- Airy functions;
**airy(0, x)**and**airy(2, x)**are linearly independent solutions of Airy's equation **asin**- inverse sine
**atan**- inverse tangent
**atan2****atan2(y,x)**is the polar coordinate θ of the point (x, y).**besselj**,**bessely**- Bessel functions.
**besselj(n, x)**and**bessely(n, x)**are linearly independent solutions of Bessel's equation of order*n*. **cos**- cosine
**cosh**- hyperbolic cosine
**dirac**- the unit impulse "function"
**erf**- the error function, the integral from 0 to
*x*of (2/√π)exp(−*t*^{2}). **exp**- the exponential function
*e*^{x} **expm**- the matrix exponential function, defined like
*e*, but using matrix multiplication^{x} **gamma**- the gamma function Γ(
*x*) = ∫_{0}^{∞}*t*^{x−1}*e*^{−t}dt- heaviside

- the unit step function
**hypgeom**- the hypergeometric function of Gauss,
_{2}*F*_{1}(*a*,*b*;*c*;*z*) **imag**- the imaginary part of a complex number
**log**- the
**natural**logarithm **real**- the real part of a complex number
**sin**- the sine
**sinh**- the hyperbolic sine
**sinint**- the sine integral ∫
_{0}^{x}(sin*t*/*t*)*dt* **sqrt**- the square root
**tan**- the tangent
**tanh**- the hyperbolic tangent

## MATLAB Graphics Commands

**axis**- Sets axis scaling and appearance.
- axis([xmin xmax ymin ymax]) -- sets ranges for the axes.
- axis tight -- sets the axis limits to the full range of the data.
- axis equal -- makes the horizontal and vertical scales equal.
- axis square -- makes the axis box square.
- axis off -- hides the axes and tick marks.
**close**- Closes the current figure window;
**close all**closes all figure windows. **contour**- Plots the level curves of a function of two variables; usually used with the
**meshgrid**command. - [X, Y] = meshgrid(–3:0.1:3, –3:0.1:3);
- contour(X, Y, X.^2 – Y.^2)
**ezplot**- Basic plot command for symbolic expressions. Can also be used for implicit plots of
*f(x,y)=0*. - ezplot('exp(–x^2)', [–5, 5])
- syms x; ezplot(sin(x))
- syms x y; ezplot(x^3 – x – y^2, [–2, 2])
**figure**- Creates a new figure window.
**gca**- Get current axes. Returns the identifier (``handle'') of the
**axes**properties of the active figure window. **gcf**- Get current figure. Returns the number of the active figure window.
**ginput**- Gathers coordinates from a figure using the mouse (press the
Enter orReturn key to finish). - [X, Y] = ginput
**gtext**- Places a text label using the mouse.
- gtext('Region of instability')
**hold**- Holds the current graph. Superimpose any new graphics generated by MATLAB on top of the current figure.
- hold on
- hold off
**legend**- Creates a legend for a figure.
- t = (0:0.1:2)*pi;
- plot(t, cos(t), t, sin(t))
- legend('cos(t)', 'sin(t)')
**meshgrid**- Creates a vector array that can be used as input to commands such as
**contour**or**quiver**. - [X, Y] = meshgrid(0:0.1:1, 0:0.1:2);
- contour(X, Y, X.^2 + Y.^2)
**plot**- Plots vectors of data. Specifying the plot style is optional.
- X = [0:0.1:2];
- plot(X, X.^3)
- plot(X, X.^3), 'rx–', 'LineWidth', 2)
**plot3**- Creates 3-dimensional (line) plots.
- t = [0:0.1:30];
- plot3(t, t.*cos(t), t.*sin(t))
**print**- Sends the contents of the current figure window to the printer or to a file. With the
**–s**option, prints the current Simulink model. - print –deps picture.eps
- print –s
**quiver**- Plots a vector field for a pair of functions of two variables. It takes numerical, rather than symbolic, data. It is often useful to normalize vectors so that they have length close to
*1*and to scale them by a factor of about*1/2*. - [X, Y] = meshgrid(–2:0.2:2, –2:0.2:2);
- U = X.*(X – Y – 2); V = Y.*(–X + Y + 1);
- L = sqrt(1 + U.^2 + V.^2));
- quiver(X, Y, U./L, V./L, 0.5)
**set**- Sets a property of a figure window.
- set(gca, 'FontSize', 14)
**simplot**- Similar to
**plot**, but uses the style of a Simulink Scope window. - t = [0:0.1:10]'; simplot(t, [sin(pi*t), cos(pi*t)])
**subplot**- Breaks the figure window into a grid of smaller plots.
- subplot(2, 2, 1), ezplot('x^2')
- subplot(2, 2, 2), ezplot('x^3')
- subplot(2, 2, 3), ezplot('x^4')
- subplot(2, 2, 4), ezplot('x^5')
**text**- Annotates a figure, by placing text at specified coordinates.
- text(x, y, 'string')
**title**- Assigns a title to the current figure window.
- title 'Nice Picture'
**xlabel**- Assigns a label to the horizontal coordinate axis.
- xlabel 'Year'
**ylabel**- Assigns a label to the vertical coordinate axis.
- ylabel 'Population'
**zoom**- Rescales a figure by a specified factor;
**zoom**by itself enables use of the mouse for zooming in or out. - zoom
- zoom(4)

## Built-in MATLAB Constants

**i**- the imaginary unit
**Inf**- ∞
**pi**- the number π

## MATLAB Programming

**end**- Terminates an
**if**,**for**,**while**, or**switch**statement. **else**- Alternative in a conditional statement. See
**if**. **elseif**- Nested alternative in a conditional statement. See the online help for
**if**. **error**- Displays an error message and aborts execution of an M-file.
**for**- Repeats a block of expressions a specified number of times. Must be terminated by
**end**. - figure, hold on
- t = –1:0.05:1;
- for k = 0:10
- plot(t, t.^k)
- end
**function**- Always used at the top of a function M-file to define a new function.
- function y = myfunction(x)
**if**- Conditional execution of MATLAB statements. Must be terminated by
**end**. - if (x >= 0)
- sqrt(x)
- else
- error('Invalid input')
- end
**input**- Used in a script M-file to prompt for user input.
- answer = input('Please enter [x, y] coordinates: ')
**isa**- Used in programs to check whether an object is of a given class (
**double**,**sym**,*etc*.). - isa(x, 'sym')
**keyboard**- Used in an M-file to return control to the keyboard. Useful for debugging M-files.
**nargin**- In M-files, returns the number of arguments passed to the function.
- if (nargin 2); error('Wrong numberof arguments'); end

MATLAB has many other programming constructs, including **while**, **switch**, **case**, **otherwise**, **break**, **nargout**, and **return**. Looking at MATLAB's built-in M-files is a good way to learn how to use these.

## Useful Simulink Blocks

### Continuous Library

**Integrator**: the most important block for differential equations, computes the integral. Also used to set initial conditions.

### Math Operations Library

**Sum**,**Add**,**Subtract**: all can be used for addition and subtraction**Gain**: used to multiply by a constant**Trigonometric Function**: used for sin, cos, sinh, tan, etc.**Sqrt**: square root**Abs**: absolute value**MinMax**: takes min or max**Polynomial**: can compute any polynomial function**Product**: self-explanatory**Divide**: self-explanatory**Math Function**: can compute many mathematical functions, such as exp and log

### Sources Library

**Constant**: used to input a constant**Sine Wave**: used to input a trigonometric signal**Step**: used for a Heaviside function**Ramp**: used for a ramp signal (Heaviside × linear)

### Sinks Library

**To Workspace**: sends Simulink output back to MATLAB**Scope**: used for plotting a signal**XY Graph**: used for plotting one signal against another