FreeMat—Yet Another MATLAB Replacement
Many programs exist that try to serve as a replacement for MATLAB. They all differ in their capabilities—some extending beyond what is available in MATLAB, and others giving subsets of functions that focus on some problem area. In this article, let's look at another available option: FreeMat.
The main Web site for FreeMat is hosted on SourceForge. Installation for most Linux distributions should be as easy as using your friendly neighborhood package manager. FreeMat also is available as source code, as well as installation packages for Windows and Mac OS X. Once it's installed, you can go ahead and start it up. This brings up the main window with a working console that should be displaying the license information for FreeMat (Figure 1).
Figure 1. When you first start up FreeMat, you are given a fresh console.
As with most programs like FreeMat, you can do arithmetic right away. All of the arithmetic operations are overloaded to do "the right thing" automatically, based on the data types of the operands. The core data types include integers (8, 16 and 32 bits, both signed and unsigned), floating-point numbers (32 and 64 bits) and complex numbers (64 and 128 bits). Along with those, there is a core data structure, implemented as an N-dimensional array. The default value for N is 6, but is arbitrary. Also, FreeMat supports heterogeneous arrays, where different elements are actually different data types.
Commands in FreeMat are line-based. This means that a command is finished and executed when you press the Enter key. As soon as you do, the command is run, and the output is displayed immediately within your console. You should notice that results that are not saved to a variable are saved automatically to a temporary variable named "ans". You can use this temporary variable to access and reuse the results from previous commands. For example, if you want to find the volume of a cube of side length 3, you could so with:
--> 3 * 3 ans = 9 --> ans * 3 ans = 27
Of course, a much faster way would be to do something like this:
--> 3 * 3 * 3 ans = 27
Or, you could do this:
--> 3^3 ans = 27
If you don't want to clutter up your console with the output from intermediate calculations, you can tell FreeMat to hide that output by adding a semicolon to the end of the line. So, instead of this:
--> sin(10) ans = -0.5440
you would get this:
--> sin(10); -->
Joey Bernard has a background in both physics and computer science. This serves him well in his day job as a computational research consultant at the University of New Brunswick. He also teaches computational physics and parallel programming.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
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This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide