Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cleve Moler: Matlab, textbooks and blog

As many of you who use Matlab might know, Cleve Moler was a professor of math and computer science at a bunch of universities (including Michigan), before he co-founded Mathworks.

I should have known this before, given how much Matlab and GNU Octave I use, but only recently did I find out about two free textbooks that he wrote. They are available (as pdfs - either chapterwise or in full) on the Mathworks website. The first called "Numerical Computing with MATLAB" is an engaging trek through the usual topics of numerical analysis with Matlab. It is written in an extremely accessible style, and highlights the many special insights he has accumulated over the years. The use of Matlab allows him to quickly explore some topics, do some quick computations, plot and visualize, and mine for knowledge and wisdom.

The other book called "Experiments with Matlab" is similar in spirit, except that it is targeted at younger audiences. Rather than using a standard numerical analysis course to lay down the skeleton of the book, it jumps from one puzzle to another, one curiosity to the next looking at the underlying patterns and math.

Both books are very highly recommended, regardless of whether you are a student learning this material for the first time, or an instructor who has taught similar topics several times. There is something in it for everybody.

I should also mention that Cleve writes an engaging blog called "Cleve's Corner" which I now have on my Google Reader.

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