How many MATLAB toolboxes make a Mathematica 9?

November 28th, 2012 | Categories: math software, mathematica, matlab | Tags:

Back when Mathematica 8 was released I tried to work out how many MATLAB toolboxes you’d need to buy to have the same functionality and came up with 9 toolboxes.  Readers of WalkingRandomly suggested several more in the comments.  Now that Mathematica 9 has been released, I thought I’d work through the exercise again.

So I think that Mathematica 9 contains at least some of the functionality of the following 18 MATLAB toolboxes. Click on the relevant toolbox for more information or an example.

I use both Mathematica and MATLAB extensively and sincerely wish that MATLAB had this level of integration.  Does anyone have evidence of any I might have missed (or shouldn’t have included)?

  1. Kumar
    November 28th, 2012 at 18:55
    Reply | Quote | #1

    What is keeping me with Matlab is the Communications Systems Toolbox! But Mathematica 9 seems impressive. Are you posting a review anytime soon?

  2. MartinHadley
    November 28th, 2012 at 20:33
    Reply | Quote | #2

    I’m relatively reliably told that some of the Graph Theory functionality in 9 is available in MatLab via the Bioinformatics toolbox (

    But I’m not a MatLab user (yet…) so I don’t know if graph primitives (and analyses) are available elsewhere.

  3. November 28th, 2012 at 21:19
    Reply | Quote | #3

    @Kumar I hope to do a proper review before Christmas. Which parts of the Communications Toolbox do you need? Got a list of functions?

  4. Kumar
    November 29th, 2012 at 13:20
    Reply | Quote | #4

    I broadly call them “modulation and coding”-related functions. Recently, they’ve wrapped many independent functions into object-oriented classes (which I hate) making it hard to find the functions now. From the complete list [1], I mainly use these:

    * randerr, randsrc, wgn, awgn
    * Convolutional coding (convenc, poly2trellis, vitdec)
    * Modulation and demodulation (qammod, qamdemod, pammod, pamdemod)
    * Certain channels like rayleighchan and mimochan.
    * Bit Error Rate functions (berawgn, berfading, etc.)
    * Misc utilities: de2bi, bi2de, bin2gray, gray2bin, qfunc


  5. November 29th, 2012 at 14:13
    Reply | Quote | #5

    MATLAB doesn’t have Manipulate or CDF deployment. That’s huge.

  6. RandomK
    December 3rd, 2012 at 16:41
    Reply | Quote | #6

    Mathematica 9 seems to have it’s updated and improved strengths related to image processing.

    Since you have thrown Matlab in the conversation I would suggest you not leave out Maple

  7. December 4th, 2012 at 16:26
    Reply | Quote | #7

    @RandomK Sadly, I don’t have a Maple license.

  8. Dawid
    May 25th, 2013 at 11:52
    Reply | Quote | #8

    On think that keeps me with Matlab is the surf and imagesc functions and their functionality. Making similar plots as you can do with surf (especially in the case of scattered data) in Mathematica is a real PAIN!