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Re: st: Mata versus Matlab

From   Michael Manti <>
To   Statalist <>
Subject   Re: st: Mata versus Matlab
Date   Thu, 3 Jul 2008 21:31:45 -0400


I've used both Stata and MATLAB reasonably extensively. Stata is my main tool for statistical work. I've used MATLAB to do statistical work, but I've used it mostly for financial simulations. I much prefer Stata over MATLAB for statistical work.

For my purposes, the biggest disadvantage of MATLAB over Stata/Mata is cost. If you want to use MATLAB as your main tool for statistical work, you need to pay up for the Statistics and Optimization (and perhaps other) toolkits. All MATLAB toolkits are sold separately, whereas Stata bundles many procedures, and many more are downloadable. Even then, my guess is that you're much more likely to find a given statistical procedure implemented in Stata (or R) than you are in MATLAB.

Stata is much better than MATLAB for managing data, logging research, and producing tables. For statistical graphics, I generally prefer Stata's defaults over MATLAB's--tick marks that poke into the plot area, ugh!--but it is sometimes easier to trick MATLAB than Stata into producing unsupported graph types.

I suspect that more numerical routines are available in MATLAB than in Mata. MATLAB the language also supports some nice programming abstractions--higher-order functions, lexical scoping, arrays of higher dimension than 2, etc.--that Mata lacks. Mata's pointers only partially make up for these omissions. However, I really appreciate Mata's optional type declarations, which have saved me from boneheaded errors on occasion.

Hope this helps,

Michael Manti

On Jun 27, 2008, at 7:25 AM, Rajesh Tharyan wrote:

Hi all,

Does anyone have any extensive experience of using both of these? If so what
are the advantages of Mata over Matlab or vice versa? Or is there a good
reference on comparison of capabilities?

Thanks very much
Best regards

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