Monday, May 2, 2011

Try Scilab

Last month, we organized the workshop on Scilab. When I heard about this first time, I did not get the exact idea about it. After visiting the website of “Scilab” it has made me much clear about the concept of Scilab. I think the world is rapidly moving towards the open source software. Scilab is also one of that type.

Scilab is an open source, cross-platform numerical computational package and a high-level, numerically oriented programming language. It can be used for signal processing, statistical analysis, image enhancement, fluid dynamics simulations, numerical optimization, and modeling and simulation of explicit and implicit dynamical systems. MATLAB code, which is similar in syntax, can be converted to Scilab. Scilab is one of several open source alternatives to MATLAB.

Scilab has been designed to be an open system where the user can define new data types and operations on these data types by using overloading.

A number of toolboxes are available with the system:

* 2-D and 3-D graphics, animation

* Linear algebra, sparse matrices

* Polynomials and rational functions

* Interpolation, approximation

* Simulation: ODE solver and DAE solver

* Xcos: a hybrid dynamic systems modeler and simulator

* Classic and robust control, LMI optimization

* Differentiable and non-differentiable optimization

* Signal processing

* Metanet: graphs and networks

* Parallel Scilab

* Statistics

* Interface with Computer Algebra: Maple package for Scilab code generation

* Interface with Fortran, Tcl/Tk, C, C++, Java, LabVIEW

* And a large number of contributions for various domains.

A large number of contributions can be downloaded from Scilab Web site.

Scilab has been built using a number of external libraries. It works on most Unix systems (including GNU/Linux) and Windows (9X/2000/XP/Vista). It comes with source code, on-line help and English user manuals.

Scilab also includes a free package called Xcos (based on Scicos) for modeling and simulation of explicit and implicit dynamical systems, including both continuous and discrete sub-systems. Xcos can be compared to Simulink from the MathWorks.

As the syntax of Scilab is similar to MATLAB, Scilab includes a source code translator for assisting the conversion of code from MATLAB to Scilab. Scilab is available free of cost under an open source license. Due to the free and open source nature of the software, some user contributions have been integrated into the main program.


* An average of 50 000 downloads per months,

* 6 new releases per year,

* 100 available external modules,

* More than 85 people contribute to the base code of Scilab,

* Scilab is available in 13 languages.

And also:

* A powerful ecosystem gathering 22 international Consortium members,

* An annual user conference - ScilabTec,

* An involvement in7 R&D projects,

* An engagement in providing Education with a dedicated module of Scilab,

* An engagement in about 20 open source projects.

IIT Bombay, Mumbai is supporting to organize the workshops on learning the Scilab. More information is available on Indian site of Scilab. They have also provided the spoken tutorials for learning this software. The language is very simple and understandable. It has ability to form a strong open source alternative to Matlab. So, why don’t you try it?

Download from here.

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