MathWorks: Thrusting the Pace of Engineering and Science

A research team at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) was measuring human heartbeats from a video stream by detecting ‘the subtle changes’ in skin color during each pulse. Video cameras are not fully effective in detecting minute color changes or vibrations which appear as extremely small variations in light intensities and can’t be distinguished. Soon, the researchers at CSAIL developed, refined, and deployed video magnification algorithms using MATLAB, which made virtually imperceptible changes in the video stream visible to the naked eye. “For our group, MATLAB has brought the ability to rapidly prototype our algorithms, debug them using great visualization tools, and then easily share the code with others in the vision research community,” says Michael Rubinstein, CSAIL Research Affiliate.

Engineered by MathWorks, a mathematical computing software company, MATLAB is a programming environment for algorithm development, data analysis, visualization, simulation, and numeric computation. The matrix-based MATLAB language is a natural way to express computational mathematics, and its built-in graphics allows easy visualization and helps gain insights from integrated data. A vast library of pre-constructed toolboxes helps engineers and scientists to get started right away with the algorithms that are essential to their domain and the desktop environment, inviting new sets of experimentation, exploration, and discoveries.

To incorporate MATLAB algorithms into models and export simulation results for further analysis, MathWorks integrated it with Simulink. Simulink is a block diagram environment for multi-domain simulation and Model-based Design. It supports simulation, automatic code generation, and continuous test and verification of embedded systems. Simulink also provides a graphical editor, customizable block libraries, and solvers for modeling and simulating dynamic systems.

For instance, before the launch of NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft, the engineers at NASA’s Ames Research Center wanted to simulate numerous mission scenarios and fault conditions early in the development process.
By adopting a rapid-prototyping approach supported by MathWorks’ Simulink, NASA’s engineers developed models for the flight software, including altitude control, power management, thermal control, navigation, communications, and command processing. “Modeling and simulating high-level spacecraft control functions in Simulink and then generating C code from the models minimized communication errors between algorithm designers and software developers,” says Dr. Karen Gundy-Burlet, LADEE Flight Software Lead at NASA’s Ames Research Center. “Simulink also enabled early prototyping of requirements, as well as validation and verification during the early stages of development.”

Recently, MathWorks announced that TÜV SÜD certified Simulink Verification and Validation, Simulink Design Verifier, Simulink Test, Embedded Coder, and Polyspace as suitably certified for use in IEC 62304 compliant development processes. This independent assessment offers medical device design engineers increased confidence when using MathWorks’ Model-Based Design tools for IEC 62304 standard and FDA certification development processes.

MathWorks also introduced the 2016a release of the MATLAB and Simulink product families. It includes the MATLAB Live Editor, which offers the ability to write, run, and modify codes in a single interactive environment to accelerate exploratory analysis, and App Designer, an environment that simplifies the process of building MATLAB apps. R2016a also includes a number of new features in Simulink to help speed model development and simulation, as well as updates and bug fixes for all other products.

As an organization, MathWorks lives by its guiding principle, mission, and core values. MathWorks focuses on doing what is best for its staff members, customers, business partners, and communities for the long term, and measuring its success, not merely in financial terms, but consistency as well.


Natick, MA

Jack Little, President & CEO

Offers Simulink, a graphical environment for simulation and Model- Based Design of multidomain dynamic and embedded systems.