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Assignment 7: Introduction to Matlab

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Course Content   ::   Lesson 9   ::   Assignment 7

Short Description:

One of the objectives of this class is to introduce students to the variety of powerful software packages that are available to visualize quantitative data. Matlab is primarily used by mathematicians, computer scientists, psychologists, and those who wish to perform calculations using linear algebra, formulae, matrix, and vector operations. It offers a powerful tool to visualize trends and perform curve-fitting operations, as well as being a programming tool useful for such things as neural networks. This assignment will offer you a brief introduction to its unique interface, as well as some useful 3D visualizations to spot trends in data.


You will need this data sheet (.xml) to complete this assignment.


    • This exercise has two main components, both of which should be submitted electronically together in one Word file.
    • The first component consists of your own interpretation of a dataset you view in Matlab from the asgt7.xls file. You will insert appropriate labels to illustrate your interpretation on the axes and the title. Write a brief paragraph about what the data (could) represent, given your interpretation. Be as complete as you can, given that it is “foreign” data to you.
    • The second component consists of a 3D representation of time-series data of your own making, as initially visualized in Matlab. Likely you will be converting it to an Illustrator file for further detailing before exporting it as a bitmap file to your Word document. The data will be of your own choosing, but strongly consider including work that will guide you toward your final project.
Technology Features – Your results will include:
    • One Word document that contains at least 2 bitmap visualizations, along with accompanying text that helps illustrate their message in accordance with Goldsmith’s pragmatic text parallels concept.
    • All graphs should retain their original 3D MESH representation from Matlab, however, more than one view might be appropriate to accurately produce your idea. More than 2 visuals are okay.
    • Remember to create visuals that have impact while maintaining clarity, and comply with the design rules as expressed by Tversky, Tufte, and Wainer. You will be graded on the effectiveness of your message.
    • First, access the file asgt7.xls using the link from the class website, and convert it to a matrix in Matlab. After viewing it from multiple directions, make some inferences about the kind of data it holds. Express these ideas as accompanying text in your assignment. Export it as an Illustrator document and provide necessary labeling to convey what kind of information it may hold. Specifically, all axes should be labeled along with an appropriate title.
    • For the second component of the exercise, think about what kinds of time or series data is appropriate to see trends in data. Feel free to use an idea that coincides with your final project, so that you might start thinking about ways in which to visualize trends. Use data that has at least 4 steps on all axes. Reference your data, and provide accompanying text that identifies trends, minimums, maximums, or whatever is important from the dataset.
    • Consider carefully your accompanying text to your visualizations. Make sure it reflects the ideas you’ve represented in your graphs. Be complete, descriptive, and format your assignment in a way that is visually pleasing and makes sense.
Objectives of this assignment
    • This is not only an introduction to a software tool. It is a way to take advantage of a 3D visualization package in order to identify trends and think about your final project.
    • You will practice interpreting data of an unknown origin in order to create meanings through 3D viewing manipulation.
    • Use your Illustrator skills to finish a visual made from another vector-based package. Practice creating a complete message through text-based description of a visualization.

Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2008, May 20). Assignment 7: Introduction to Matlab. Retrieved January 07, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License
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