Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
So some recent big news is that the MathWorks came out with a new release. Release 2013a of the MATLAB technical computing environment and Simulink graphical environment for simulation and model-based design of multidomain dynamic and embedded systems is, as you might expect, a sprawling affair. After all, these two product families probably comprise 100 toolboxes for mathematics, simulation, data acquisition, image and signal processing, control systems, and T&M, among other disciplines. This latest release offers upgrades to more than 80 family members, according to the company.
One of the key developments is a new toolbox called Fixed-Point Designer. Fixed-Point Designer works with MATLAB codes, Simulink models, and Stateflow charts. (The latter, a Simulink family member, is for modeling and simulating combinatorial and sequential decision logic based on state machines and flow charts.) Fixed-Point Designer gives you a set of tools and data types for developing fixed-point algorithms. It can automatically propose fixed-point data types and attributes such as word length and rounding mode or you can handle that manually. You can convert floating-point algorithms to fixed point, and you can create and optimize fixed-point data types to satisfy numerical accuracy requirements and target-hardware constraints. And you can use Fixed-Point Designer with MATLAB Coder or Embedded Coder to generate pure integer C code from your fixed-point MATLAB code.
MATLAB’s Phased Array toolbox for designing, simulating, and analyzing phased array signal processing systems sees a lot of additional functionality in Release 2013a. Among these are algorithms for generating waveforms, beam forming, estimating the direction of arrival, target detection, and space-time adaptive processing. Other new features in Release 2013a include polarization support, array tapers, and apps for sensor array analysis, waveform analysis, and radar equation calculation.
The MATLAB toolboxes for data acquisition, image acquisition, image processing, digital signal processing, statistics, and vehicle networking among others have also seen some major work. On the Simulink side, the SimRF component library and simulation engine for designing RF systems now provides a circuit envelope solver for fast simulations and model load times. The SimMechanics toolbox offers improved importing of models from CAD and other systems, while Simulink coder toolbox also sees some major advancements.
You can read more about Release 2013a of MATLAB and Simulink in today’s Pick of the Week write-up. But, frankly, there’s so much going on that your best option is to drill down into your area of interest by hitting the links at the end of the main write-up. One link in particular takes you to an overview of what’s new in Release 2013a. There you’ll find a brief video and links to individual toolboxes for more details.
Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering
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