An Introduction to Rlab: A High Level Language for Scientific and Engineering Applications

Rlab stands for “our lab”. It is available to almost everyone who needs a computational tool for scientific and engineering applications, because it is freely available, and it runs on many platforms.

There are many features, functions, and user-contributed programs that I have not discussed. Of special note are the extensive set of linear algebra functions. Rlab provides a very convenient interface to the LAPACK, FFTPACK, and RANLIB libraries available from Netlib and Statlib.

By now you have should have seen enough of the language to decide whether it is worth the effort to try it out. If you would like to find out more about it you can check out: The Linux binaries of Rlab are now being distributed in RPM format, and are available at Now that ELF distributions are available, and out of beta testing, and considering how much better dynamic linking is with ELF, Rlab binaries are built using the ELF object file format.


The Plplot graphics library is provided by Dr. Maurice LeBrun at the University of Texas. The underlying linear algebra subroutines (LAPACK, and the BLAS) are from the Netlib repository. And, of course, none of this would have been possible without GNU tools. There have been many other contributions to Rlab by various individuals over the years. The ACKNOWLEDGMENT file in the source distribution tries to mention everybody.

Where to Get Rlab

Rlab is available with over a hundred rfiles of various sorts, many contributed by users. Professor J. Layton, at Clarkson University, Potsdam NY, is in the process of finishing up the Rlab Controls Toolbox. A port of Professor Higham's (University of Manchester/UMIST) Test Matrix Toolbox is also available. For more information go to

Ian Searle currently works in the aerospace research field in Seattle Washington, and works on Rlab in his spare time.


White Paper
Linux Management with Red Hat Satellite: Measuring Business Impact and ROI

Linux has become a key foundation for supporting today's rapidly growing IT environments. Linux is being used to deploy business applications and databases, trading on its reputation as a low-cost operating environment. For many IT organizations, Linux is a mainstay for deploying Web servers and has evolved from handling basic file, print, and utility workloads to running mission-critical applications and databases, physically, virtually, and in the cloud. As Linux grows in importance in terms of value to the business, managing Linux environments to high standards of service quality — availability, security, and performance — becomes an essential requirement for business success.

Learn More

Sponsored by Red Hat

White Paper
Private PaaS for the Agile Enterprise

If you already use virtualized infrastructure, you are well on your way to leveraging the power of the cloud. Virtualization offers the promise of limitless resources, but how do you manage that scalability when your DevOps team doesn’t scale? In today’s hypercompetitive markets, fast results can make a difference between leading the pack vs. obsolescence. Organizations need more benefits from cloud computing than just raw resources. They need agility, flexibility, convenience, ROI, and control.

Stackato private Platform-as-a-Service technology from ActiveState extends your private cloud infrastructure by creating a private PaaS to provide on-demand availability, flexibility, control, and ultimately, faster time-to-market for your enterprise.

Learn More

Sponsored by ActiveState