by Boris Grinshpun, B.S. 2010, Applied Mathematics
Are you new to MATLAB? Does your code refuse to run properly? Have no fear! All you need to do is visit the MATLAB Help Room.
For the past 4 years the Columbia University Chapter of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (CU SIAM) has operated a MATLAB Help Room. The Help Room is open weekly and staffed by volunteers experienced in working with MATLAB who provide individual help to anyone with MATLAB related issues. This semester the Help Room is open twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays, and consists of 7 volunteers, 4 graduate students and 3 undergraduates.  

Visitors to the Help Room have various levels of experience with using MATLAB, from beginners completing their first programming assignments to advanced users seeking help in writing code as part of their research. Students in the past have come from several departments in the engineering school seeking help on assignments and projects. Regardless of the difficulty of the problem, the help staff aims to work with the individual to tackle it. Challenges are welcome!

In addition to providing MATLAB help, the Help Room has also hosted a representative from MathWorks, who gave an introductory lecture on using MATLAB for physics applications, and for common tasks such as data import and analysis, working with equations, and visualization. Interested students learned new techniques and tools available to MATLAB users and were able to speak directly with the representative.

CU SIAM will continue the Help Room in the coming school year as a useful resource for students. Anyone with experience using MATLAB is encouraged to contact CU SIAM about becoming a volunteer in the Help Room.

500 W. 120th St., Mudd 200, MC 4701 New York, NY 10027 / Phone: 212-854-4457 / Fax: 212-854-8257 / Email:

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