MATLAB for Math 18

Welcome to the gateway page for the MATLAB portion of Math 18! This part of the course is an introduction to the use of computer software to solve problems in linear algebra. These kinds of computations are valuable tools not only in pure mathematics but also in physics, chemistry, biology, computer science, economics, and sociology.

All of these fields deal with vast amounts of raw data that may be difficult or impossible to work with by hand. Computer programs like MATLAB help by performing tedious calculations error-free, so that you can avoid wasting all your time crunching numbers. It turns out that MATLAB is especially well suited for working with matrices and performing various algorithmic routines that come up in linear algebra.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the computer labs in AP&M are no longer available. You may install MATLAB on your own computer (not a Chromebook) for free following instructions here. We recommend this. More detailed information can be found at Working from Home on the sidebar.

If you don't have a computer, there is an option to request a loaner laptop here. MATLAB online works well if you use a Chromebook or you simply don't want to install MATLAB. You can use it for free once you create a MathWorks Account using your email address. If you don't have a computer but you have a tablet like an iPad, you can use MATLAB Mobile with a MathWorks Account. CloudLabs also works and instructions are here but it can be quite slow. Note that you need to connect via UCSD VPN to use CloudLabs.

In general, each assignment in this course is self-contained and can be completed without prior MATLAB experience, although some assignments depend on commands learned in earlier ones.

Assignments 1. Introduction to MATLAB Due Oct 16
2. Systems of Linear Equations Due Oct 30
3. Matrix Algebra Due Nov 13
4. Eigenvalues & Diagonalization Due Nov 27
5. Orthogonality & Least Squares Optional (not covered in the quiz)

The due dates above are the standard dates for all Math 18 classes, but please note that your instructor may assign different dates, in which case his or her assigned dates take precedence. Please check your class's website to verify due dates.

Homework should be uploaded to Gradescope by 11:59 pm on the listed due dates. (See the instructions within Assignment 1 for more information.) Be careful to pace yourself with the rest of the course; if you see a midterm coming up near a MATLAB due date, it is to your advantage to do your homework early.

MATLAB Tutoring

MATLAB tutors are available to provide help with MATLAB during Week 2-9; their scheduled hours are available via the link in the sidebar. Please note that there are not any regular MATLAB sections. You may go to different tutors' tutoring hours via Zoom. Information about the meeting IDs will be provided on your Canvas page.


During the last week of the quarter, you will have to take a MATLAB quiz.

Quiz Time

The Math 18 quiz will be held

0:00 am PST on Wednesday Dec 9 until 11:59 pm PST on Thursday Dec 10
in "Quizzes" section on Canvas.

You can take it whenever the time is convenient for you during the period. The quiz starts the first time you access the quiz and ends after 60 minutes.

We do not offer make-up quizzes if you miss your quiz.


If you have any suggestions or comments about the lab assignments, we'd love to hear from you. Also, if you encounter any mistakes or broken links, let us know. Send an email to the Senior MATLAB TA.



  • Boyce, William E. and Richard C. DiPrima. Elementary Differential Equations and Boundary Value Problems. 8th ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2005.
    This is the textbook for most of the Math 20D course.
  • Kreysig, Erwin. Advanced Engineering Mathematics. 7th ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1993.
    This book explains many of the applications of differential equations to science and engineering.
  • Stewart, James. Calculus - Early Transcendentals. 5th ed. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole, 2003.
    This is also a textbook for Math 20D, covering the first few weeks of the course.

Web Sites:

  • Wikipedia
    An excellent resource for articles on mathematical topics.
  • The Millenium Problems
    The Clay Mathematics Institute has offered a million dollar prize for the solution of a variety of open problems in mathematics. One such problem involves solving the Navier-Stokes equations, which are a set of differential equations.
  • MacTutor Archive
    The MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive is a comprehensive reference for information about mathematicians and the history of mathematics. Biographies of mathematicians mentioned in these assignments are found on this site.
  • BCIT Math Applications
    This site is a great resource for finding applications of math to the real world.
  • MathWorks
    MathWorks is the creator of MATLAB. Product information and help can be found here.
  • UCSD Math
    This is the home page for the UCSD Department of Mathematics.
    This is the ETS (Educational Technology Services) home page, containing resources for computing at UCSD.


Faculty Coordinator Professor Bo Li
Graduate Student Coordinator Zilu Ma
Recent Faculty Coordinators Professor Leok
Professor Helton
Previous Faculty Coordinators Professor Bejenaru
Professor Bunch
Professor Driver
Professor Eggers
Professor Holst
Professor Li
Previous Graduate Student Coordinators Jay Cummings
Liz Fenwick
John Geller
James Hall
Dan Hoff
Derek Newland
Håkan Nordgren
Jacek Nowacki
Sean Raleigh
Alon Regev
Timothy Swec

Last Modified: 29 June 2019