So far, we have learned what machine learning algorithms do; we have also understood how to recognize the different types, how to locate the right solution for our needs, and finally how to set a proper workflow. It's time to learn how to do all this in the MATLAB environment.
Solving machine learning problems becomes extremely easy with the use of the tools available in the MATLAB environment. This is because MATLAB is a strong environment for interactive exploration. It has numerous algorithms and apps to help you get started using machine learning techniques. Some examples include:
- Clustering, classification, and regression algorithms
- Neural network app, curve fitting app, and Classification Learner app
MATLAB is a software platform optimized for solving scientific problems and design. In MATLAB, calculation, visualization, and programming are integrated in an easy-to-use environment, where problems and solutions are expressed in familiar mathematical notation.
The name MATLAB is an acronym of the term matrix laboratory. MATLAB was originally written to provide easy access to software of matrices; then it evolved in the years to come, thanks to numerous user inputs. The MATLAB programming language is based on matrices that represent the most natural way to express computational mathematics. Its desktop environment invites experimentation, exploration, and discovery. The integrated graphics are easy to view and provide an in-depth understanding of the data.
The MATLAB desktop is shown in the following screenshot:
Figure 1.11: MATLAB desktop
MATLAB is also characterized by the presence of specific solutions to application problems called toolboxes. Very useful for most users, MATLAB toolboxes represent solutions for many practical problems and provide the basis for applying these instruments to the specialized technology. These toolboxes are collections of MATLAB functions (referred to as M-files) that extend the MATLAB environment in order to solve particular classes of problems.
MATLAB has two specific toolboxes for processing machine learning problems. They are the Statistics and Machine Learning Toolbox and Neural Network Toolbox. While the first solves machine learning problems through statistical techniques and algorithms most widely used in this field, the second is specific to ANNs. In the following sections, we will analyze in detail the features of these tools.
Figure 1.12: Some apps available in MATLAB
To be used efficiently, all computer software needs certain hardware components or other software resources to be present on a computer. Thus, MATLAB requires specific hardware to be installed and working properly on our computer. Fortunately, we can start from the assumption that MATLAB is available for all popular software platforms in both professional and student editions. In fact, it is available for the Windows, macOS, and Linux platforms. But we can rest assured that what MATLAB requires is widely supported by new computers.
So the hardware requirements for Windows are:
- Operating systems: Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7 Service Pack 1, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1.
- Processors: Any Intel or AMD x86-64 processor; AVX2 instruction set support is recommended; with Polyspace, 4-core is recommended.
- Disk Space: 2 GB for MATLAB only, 4–6 GB for a typical installation.
- RAM: 2 GB; with Simulink, 4 GB is required; with Polyspace, 4 GB per core is recommended.
- Graphics: No specific graphics card is required. A hardware-accelerated graphics card supporting OpenGL 3.3 with 1 GB GPU memory is recommended.
To discover the hardware requirements for other platforms, visit the manufacturer's website at the following link: https://www.mathworks.com/support/sysreq.html.
In the following screenshot, the hardware requirements for Windows are listed:
Figure 1.13: Windows hardware requirements for MATLAB.
Installing MathWorks products requires a valid software license, which we can obtain by purchasing products or downloading a product trial. To download products, we must log in to our MathWorks account or create a new one.
Once we have the MathWorks installer, to start the installation, we run this file and select the products we want to use. To run the installer, we need the following:
- Our email address and our MathWorks account password. We need them to log in to our account during installation.
- Correct permissions to install the software. If you have questions about permissions, ask your system administrator.
- Consider disabling anti-virus software and Internet security applications on your system during installation. These applications can slow down the installation process or cause it to appear unresponsive.
Later we should simply follow the usual software installation procedure. In the end, we will get a version of MATLAB ready for use.
For more information about the installation procedure, visit the manufacturer's website at the following link: