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Name: Welhelmshaven Monzolin Pantorilla Course and Year: BS EE - V

EE 179.1 Section: W45 Laboratory Schedule: Saturday (12:00pm-3:00pm)

Activity 1: Introduction to SCILAB

Scilab is a programming language associated with a rich collection of numerical algorithms
covering many aspects of scientific computing problems. In this document, we make an overview of
Scilab features so that we can get familiar with this environment. In the remaining sections, we
present the Scilab language, especially its structured programming features. We present an important
feature of Scilab that is the management of real matrices and overview the linear algebra library.
Scilab users can develop their own modules so that they can solve their particular problems. In this
section, we present an overview of Scilab. The first subsection introduces the open source project
associated with the creation of this document. (103)

1 Objectives
 To introduce students to mathematical software that can be used to simulate control systems.

2 List of equipment/software
 Personal Computer
 Installation of SCILAB

3 SCILAB Environment and Features Overview

Scilab is free and open-source mathematical software. It can be used to simulate mathematical
applications from basic to advanced engineering systems. Simulations can be through set of commands
entered in the interactive command, through a script written in the SciNotes, or through XCOS. XCOS is
Scilab’s counterpart for Matlab’s Simulink.

For this activity, you will be introduced to the basic command line interface as well as scripting of a set
of commands in SciNotes. Some basic features of Scilab such as variable declarations, operations and
flow control will be examined in this activity. Some commonly used functions will also be introduced.

3.1 Variable
In Scilab, you can easily create and instantiate variables anytime. Unlike the C language, Scilab’s
variables are dynamic and don’t have to be created before they are stored with values.

Open you Scilab now and try the following in the console.

--> clear
--> a = 1
The console should respond with the value of a. Now, after the above command, try doing the following:
Name: Welhelmshaven Monzolin Pantorilla Course and Year: BS EE - V
EE 179.1 Section: W45 Laboratory Schedule: Saturday (12:00pm-3:00pm)
--> b = a
The console should respond with the value of b which is just the value of a in the previous command.

1. How about this one?

--> b = aaa
What will be the response of the console?

Since aaa has not been assigned a value yet, it still does not exist.

Another convenient feature of Scilab is that you can assign any datatype to a variable even after you had
previously assigned a different datatype. For example:

--> b = 1
--> b = “Hi, this is a string”
--> b = [“this”,”is”, “a”, “vector/array”]
These commands will not produce an error. The datatype of the variables in Scilab adapt to whatever
value you store in it.

You may have noticed that the last command is an array. Arrays in Scilab are values enclosed in “[“ and
“]” with values separated by spaces or commas. You can also create a matrix by separating rows with a

--> an_array = [1, 3, 4]

--> a_matrix = [1, 2; 4, 5]
𝟏 𝟐 𝟑
2. What will you enter in the command line if you want to assign a_matrix with[𝟒 𝟓 𝟔]?
𝟕 𝟖 𝟗

--> a_matrix = [1, 2, 3; 4, 5, 6; 7, 8, 9]

You can easily declare an array of sequence of numbers using “:”

--> 1:10 // returns an array of numbers from 1 to 10 with an

interval of 1

--> 1:2:10 // returns an array of numbers from 1 to 10 with an

interval of 2
Name: Welhelmshaven Monzolin Pantorilla Course and Year: BS EE - V
EE 179.1 Section: W45 Laboratory Schedule: Saturday (12:00pm-3:00pm)

3.1.1 Polynomial
You can easily create polynomial using the poly function read the help file for different methods of using
the poly function. The simplest way is the following:

--> s= poly(0,’s’) //this assign polynomial s^1 to the variable s.

Now you can manipulate this variable similar to number.

3. Write the result of (s^2+2*s+1)/(s+1) as shown in the console.

3.2 Operators
Scilab has a lot of operators in addition to basic arithmetic operations. Since Scilab operates on matrices
by default, basic arithmetic operations are applied on matrices.

Operator Description
+ Matrix addition
- Matrix subtraction
* Matrix Multiplication
/ Matrix division. 𝐴/𝐵 = 𝐴 ∗ 𝐵−1
\ Matrix back-division. 𝐴\𝐵 = 𝐴−1 ∗ 𝐵
^ Matrix exponential.
‘ Transpose

If you want element-wise operation using those operators, the operator is preceded with a “.”

--> a = [1, 2; 3, 4]
--> b = [3, 4; 5, 6]
--> a + b
ans =
4. 6.
8. 10.

4. Do a matrix multiplication and element-wise multiplication on a and b. What are the results? Are
the results equal?

5. What is the result of a’?

Accessing an element in an array or matrix is by calling the variable with a parenthesis. For example, to
access the 1st element of b:
Name: Welhelmshaven Monzolin Pantorilla Course and Year: BS EE - V
EE 179.1 Section: W45 Laboratory Schedule: Saturday (12:00pm-3:00pm)
--> b(1) //this will return 3. Matrix b is treated as a vector reading
top to bottom starting from the left.

This is the same as

--> b(1,1) //accessing element in column 1 row 1. First index is for
the row, the second is for the column.

You can use the $ to indicate the index of the last element.
--> b(1,$) //returns the last element of the first row.

Sub-matrices can be extracted by putting an array or matrix as index. The content of the matrix index
will be the rows/columns that will be included in the sub-matrix. You can use “:” to include all elements
on that row/column.
--> c = [1, 2 ,3; 4, 5, 6; 7, 8, 9]
--> d = c([1,3],[1,2])
ans =
1. 2.
3. 8.
--> e = c(:,1) //returns all the rows in the first column.

6. What is the result of c (1:3, $)?

3.3 Flow Control

The flow control in Scilab can be done with if then/else statements, select/case , return, for loop, do and
while loops. In addition, keywords such as break, continue, pause, abort are also useable to alter the
flow of a set of Scilab commands. The syntax for this is in described in detailed in the Help menu of
Scilab. To access the Help, type help in the command line or click the help button in the menu bar.

3.4 Functions in Scilab

You can create a reuseable set of commands as a function in Scilab. The basic syntax is the following:
FUNCTION [y1,…, yn]= functionname(x1, …, xm)

//some statements or commands here


3.4.1 Some of the commonly used functions in Scilab

Refer to the Help menu for details

1. plot – used to plot expressions in Scilab.

2. poly – function to create a polynomial.
Name: Welhelmshaven Monzolin Pantorilla Course and Year: BS EE - V
EE 179.1 Section: W45 Laboratory Schedule: Saturday (12:00pm-3:00pm)

3. roots – Solve the roots of a polynomial

4. coeff – extract the coefficients of a polynomial.
5. evstr - evaluate a string of Scilab statements or commands
6. csim – Simulation of a linear system. (time response)
7. ones – Generate a matrix of ones
8. zeros – Generate a matrix of zeroes
9. rand – generate a matrix of random values
10. eye – generate an identity matrix.
11. inv – inverse of a matrix
12. diag – extract the diagonal of matrix
13. abs – absolute value
14. real, imag, complex – for complex numbers
15. conj – conjugate of a complex
16. pfss – partial fraction expansion of a give transfer function
17. syslin – system linear definition
18. ss2tf – State-space representation to transfer function conversion
19. tf2ss – Transfer function to state-space representation
20. ssrand – random system generator.

3.5 Batch Commands or Scripting

Scilab has an integrated text editor called SciNotes for creating and editing Scilab scripts. A set of
commands or statements can be written in a Scilab script that can be ran or executed in a single action.
SciNotes has some advance text editing functionalities for coding like parenthesis matching and syntax
highlighting. Open Scinote by clicking the notebook icon below the menu bar.

After opening the SciNotes, do the following:

7. Write the following in the editor:

a = [0:0.1:2*%pi]
b = “this is executed after a=1”

What is the result or the behavior of the above statements in the console after executing the script?

8. Write a function called myfunct that accepts two parameters A and B. The function will return the
result of (A+B)*B. Execute the script what is the result?
Name: Welhelmshaven Monzolin Pantorilla Course and Year: BS EE - V
EE 179.1 Section: W45 Laboratory Schedule: Saturday (12:00pm-3:00pm)

9. Call the function you created in #8 and pass as parameters the values 3 and 9. What is the result?

10. What will your function return if the parameters are [1,2,3] and [4; 6;7]?

11. How about [1, 2, 3 ; 3, 5, 1; 5 6 -1] and [3, -1, 4 ; -3, 5, 1; -5 6 -1]?

12. Do you have to re-execute your function from SciNotes? Why?

No. as long as you don't close the SciLab session and the current directory you're
working in Scilab contains the said function file.

3.6 Answers to Questions

4 Conclusion

Scilab is very suitable mathematical software that can simulate mathematical

applications from simple to advanced engineering systems. Variables and Arrays in
Scilab are dynamic and are easily assigned different values. Matrices in Scilab are
flexible and can easily be manipulated. It is also possible to plot curves in this program.
Simulations can be run through a set of commands in the command line, through a
script written in the SciNotes. In the SciNotes editor, one can create various functions
according to the given conditions of the user and be able to incorporate and execute
that function to the Scilab. All in all, Scilab is a very helpful program especially in
engineering. It is very complex in its own, it can handle complicated equations and
systems and even perform graph plotting, yet it can easily be learned due to its user