Who Uses Octave?

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  • People, at home, for whatever numerical purpose.

User experiences

At the AILab we use it as a tool for simulation (basic research and control oriented) and data analysis.

--KaKiLa 07:38, 16 January 2012 (PST).

The list of self-described user experience has been provided in 01/2008 by Steve Thompson on the help-octave mailing list:

I use it at the University of Pennsylvania for some of my research.

--Bill Denney

I use Octave, (together with MPITB on a 128 Intel Itanium II nodes cluster) at the Centre for Advanced Computational Technologies/ISUFI of University of Lecce (Italy) for my researches. I usefully use Octave on the above mentioned cluster (for parallel data processing) where Matlab does not work because it's not officially supported on IA64 platforms.

--Gianvito Quarta

We use it here in Chile, at the Faculty of Sciences, University of Chile, for research (myself) and we also teach numerical methods using Octave and C++ to our Physics students.

--Victor Munoz

I also did my entire thesis using octave, but I was one of the few people (despite my best efforts) in my department who even knew about octave. In my field (electrical engineering), most students are introduced to Matlab in an undergraduate course on signal processing. If professors were informed about octave, they could promote octave as an alternative--particularly to students who want to do work on their own computers without buying the crippled "student edition" of Matlab.

--Quentin Spencer

I feel like I am living proof of what Quentin has said. I am working on my MSEE right now and was introduced to Matlab in a third-year signal processing course. I thought it would be nice to work on my home computer if possible and ended up buying the student version later, only to find that features such as the Signal Processing Toolbox were available at additional cost. I discovered Octave on my own when I started using Linux and with some struggles (I liked to print plots by clicking on the printer button in Matlab) feel just as comfortable with it as I do Matlab. But never have I heard any of my professors mention Octave as a viable alternative to Matlab. I don't think a lot of them know it is out there.

--Ronald Crummett

Octave is installed in the server "pandora" at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if some else apart of me is aware of this. Sad thou.

--Diego Ruiz

At Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn, Estonia, Octave is a integrated part of a civil engineering mechanics course by Dr. Andres Lahe (see http://staff.ttu.ee/~alahe/, http://staff.ttu.ee/~alahe/, http://staff.ttu.ee/~alahe/konspekt/myCD/sisukord.html, http://staff.ttu.ee/~alahe/konspekt/myCD/sisukord.html, it's written in Estonian, but the code isn't). He uses Octave for solid mechanics calculations, introduction to the finite element method and such. I personally and professionally have used Octave for the last 3 years.

--Radu Prekup

I teach Matlab in the School of Aeronautics in the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid in Spain. All the examples designed to be identical in both languages and to run identically in both interpreters. I encourage everyone to use Octave instead of Matlab in small scripts when no exotic toolbox is needed. The mean programming knowledge in the school is near to zero, this means that my course is more an introduction to scientific programming than an introduction to Matlab and Octave.

I also wrote some extensive lecture notes about Matlab and Octave in spanish to promote the use of Octave. I talked about them about one month ago in this list. The conclusion of the notes is: Matlab has more functions but Octave is a more interesting, enjoyable and powerful tool.

When I ask some feedback about Octave the complaints are always the same (the well known weaknesses of Octave) - No GUI (They are *not* used to the command line so they try to avoid it as much as possible) - Saving plots is difficult (idem) - Only a few use linux and Octave lacks some more system integration with Windows - etc...

I tried to distribute some live-cds with octave among the course attendants (quantian) but the effort was unsuccessful. Well, it's linux...

In the CFD lab. in the same university we use Matlab on Linux for data analysis (large turbulent channels), no VTK, no OpenDX?; just Matlab. The general thought is that Matlab is a better tool than Octave, we can use Matlab... Why should we use Octave? And of course, Matlab draws the 3D isosurfaces easily...

--Guillem Borrell Nogueras

I am currently transitioning from another product to Octave. Location: vet school Hannover, Germany

--Michael Grossbach

I used octave and maxima for my numerical and symbolic work at the University of Michigan Aerospace Engineering Dept. I advertise via word of mouth to my fellow graduate students and to any Professor who will listen, however I receive a lot of resistance.

--Pete Gustafson

I have used Octave since I discovered it, many years ago, after having appreciated the clean Matlab language. I have some of my students and colleagues use it. This is not a university, rather a research institute.

--Francesco Potortì CNR, Pisa

I teach at Fanshawe College London Ontario. We have about 30 students a year who use Octave. Mainly filter design, PID, Laplace and z space.

--Doug Stewart

Octave (w/ octave-forge) is used in an introductory course on programming, and in a couple of numerical analysis courses in the School of Engineering of Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina (http://www.efn.uncor.edu).

--Agustin Barto

Teaching: At the University of Applied Sciences Bern I teach a 2 hour class on using Octave for engineers. Find the corresponding lectures notes at (http://staff.ti.bfh.ch/sha1/Labs/PWF/Documentation/OctaveAtBFH.pdf) and the codes at (http://staff.ti.bfh.ch/sha1/Labs/PWF/Codes/). Feedback on the lecture notes is always welcome, I have to justify the time required to keep them up to date.

At the University of Bern in the Master program for Biomedical Engineering I use Octave to support the class on Numerical Methods (http://staff.ti.bfh.ch/sha1/NumMethods.html). The missing feature students are asking for is a GUI, I do not need a GUI, probably age related ;-)

Research: For the current research project of numerical simulations of the Novikov Veselov equations I use Octave to implement the finite difference methods and the spectral methods with great success.

--Andreas Stahel

Aside from using Octave for 90%+ of my own thesis work at the University of Colorado in Boulder, I have contributed to a project called CISM-DX. This is a collection of analysis and visualization tools based heavily on Octave and OpenDX? that is being developed as part of the NSF-funded Center for Integraged Space-weather Modeling (CISM). I don't think it (CISM-DX) has been used extensively in a traditional class setting, but it has been used in CISM's annual "summer school", a crash course intro to applied space physics held each year at Boston University. I wouldn't be surprised if others more familiar with CISM-DX are lurking about this list that could tell you more if they just spoke up.

--Joshua Rigler

We have just swapped our main Undergraduate teaching from Matlab to Octave with little problem. We also distribute a Live CD with Octave on, + an embryonic web based calculation package using Octave as the backend processor, See http://www-mdp.eng.cam.ac.uk, for further details and a slightly buggy on-line version.

--Peter Long

I'm at the University of Washington in Seattle and am just learning about Octave. I hope to use it for some of my thesis work. I know that the physics department here uses Mathematica and Matlab and C++ for their numerical methods classes, but they might be open to Octave. At this point though they are not too familiar with it. I don't know if any of the other departments at this school use it.

--Theresa Bullard


I adopted Matlab in 96, coming from C/C++ and Splus. In 97, I briefly tested Octave, on my Debian laptop, but kept using Matlab at work. In 98, during my PhD?, our Matlab license expired and the person maintaining it was unjoinable on long vacations. In order to keep working and to be sure this inconvenience wouldn't repeat itself, I decided to port all my work to a freely available language.

My choice boiled down to Octave and Scilab. A few language advantages (iirc, the 'keyboard' function, variable length arg and return lists), the GPL, and the feeling that Octave development was more active and would better stand the test of time made me choose Octave. I have used it for most of my work since then.

Afaik, few of my present or past colleagues use Octave - except perhaps Mai Zhou [1] at the math dept. of the U. of Kentucky, who maintains a web interface [2]. I will ask for his comments.

2008 addendum:

I now use Octave at work, at [Tyzx], for all sorts of numerical purposes, mostly computer vision. I also use it at home, to do computer-vision-as-a-hobby.

--Etienne Grossmann

I have been working on web interfaces lately. I am in the process of integrating the UKY code with something to interactively view space plasma time series. Here is an excellent interactive SVG plotter that I am modifying to receive the plot commands: http://www.codedread.com/displayWebStats.php.

I don't have anything general or ready for demo right now, but I just wanted to let you know of someone who is interested in web interfaces.

--Robert S. Weigel

I am using octave at Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun, Poland I am writing software for my B.A. in astronomy, using octave/C++/Fortran. There is another person, using octave for Celestial Mechanics.

--Marek Szczypinski

I found out about J-Sim (Simulink for Octave) some months ago but haven't had a chance to evaluate it; check it out...


--Paul Koufalas

I think FlowDesigner? is a great tool, http://freshmeat.net/projects/flowdesigner/ But extending it to use GNU Octave engine, and associated functions is non-trivial, but nevertheless doable. Of course its free [as in freedom] and licensed as Octave itself. So unlike the J-sim we dont need to ask anyof the folks for 'permission'. Also Flow designer is pretty good, from the demos Ive seen, http://robotflow.sourceforge.net/demo.html and has some external toolkits like the Robotflow.

--Muthiah Annamalai

I use GNU Octave for many reasons. First, it is powerful, stable and easy to use. My research involves extensive Monte Carlo simulation work, and GNU Octave definitely satisfies my needs. Second, GNU Octave is free software. It adheres to the basic principle of giving the user the ``freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software, as defined by the Free Software Foundation. Third, GNU Octave's community of developers and users is friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. A quick post to the help list usually results in a quick solution to a problem I may have.

Power, stability, freedom, and community---some of the reasons why I use GNU Octave.

--Steve Thompson

I use Octave (as well as Matlab) for my day-to-day work here at Glasgow University, doing automotive control system design. It is also a core element of the bond graph toolset "Model Transformation Tools" (MTT, http://mtt.sourceforge.net). MTT, and hence Octave, have also been used to good effect for modelling in the aerospace industry in the UK and US.

--Geraint Paul Bevan

Octave is used in the Fisheries Department of the Falkland Islands to process raw fisheries data and for fish stock assessment modelling.

--Ruben Roa

Here in BioControl? Medical we use octave for all of our analysis needs -- no matlab in sight!

We use octave for: ECG processing Statistics Neural simulations Electrostatic solver

--Shai Ayal

At MIST Technologies, a French start-up developping sound processing technologies, Octave is the main tool of the research team. It is used to develop algorithms which are converted in C/C++ versions by the development team once they are ok. Those C/C++ versions are automatically wrapped using a slightly adapted version of matwrap. Doing so, we can use the same algorithms in our C/C++ only applications and in octave functions used by our reseach team and so have to maintain onlye one version.

The reason we prefered Octave to other tools is that it allowed import of legacy matlab code when we started the company three year ago.

Octave is a great tool and we have only one (slight) problem with it : the fact that liboctave is licensed under the GPL rather than the LGPL : that forced us to redevelop some Matrix/Vector/... classes and to reimplement a couple of functions.

--Ludovic Pénet

In the context of civil engineering i use octave for signal processing of measurement data, further as an essential tool for a wide range of numerical investigations and typical engineering tasks, as model fitting, approximation, matrices etc... always trying to avoid the use of M$ excel ;)

--Andreas Naessl

I use Octave "elsewhere", namely at home on my laptop, for self-study of computational methods in finance.

--Paul Koufalas

I'm using octave to improve our production process. I'm working in a company with about 400 employees in switzerland! We don't use matlab

--Michael Schmid

I've written a series of six articles on applications of Octave to the solution of problems in radio, antenna, and transmission line design for QEX, an amateur radio magazine (http://www.arrl.org). Response indicates at least some degree of interest in applying Octave to such problems.

--Maynard Wright

I encourage both undergraduates and graduate students to use Octave as an alternative to MATLAB. We generally have people using both. Octave is installed on our campus computers; most students who use Octave are installing it on their own machines.

I also use Octave in my research work.

--A S Hodel, Assoc Professor Auburn University Dept. Elect and Comp Eng http://www.eng.auburn.edu/~hodelas

We use it for 2-3 different research projects in the LIMBS lab at Johns Hopkins. These are all on Linux machines. 1) Image capture, image processing, and control of a 6DOF robot arm for experiments in visual servoing

  • Image capture and controlling stimulus apparatus for experiments on sensorimotor integration in weakly electric fish
  • (In the works) Image capture and control algorithms for flexible-bevel tipped needle steering for percutaneous therapies

In general, people here use Matlab for simulations and most research work, because (1) they feel the plotting utilities are better (the recent work by a lot of people is quickly making that a non-issue), (2) they often use arcane functions in toolboxes not provided by Octave or OctaveForge, and (3) that is what they learned with and they are sticking to it.

However, when I was at Ball Aerospace, they never had enough Matlab licenses available and rather than wait around, I often used Octave when I couldn't get a license. I even convinced the controls engineer I was working with who (for many of the reasons listed above) *only* used Matlab to at least make their code compatible with Octave so I didn't have to make a bunch of mods every time I was using Octave.

--John Swensen

I am using Octave to develop algorithms for auto-scaling of ionograms.

-- Andrew Kelly, IPS Radio & Space Services, Australian Bureau of Meteorology

Add your own experience here!