**[M-0] intro** -- Introduction to the Mata manual

__Contents__

Section Description
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**[M-1]** **Introduction and advice**

**[M-2]** **Language definition**

**[M-3]** **Commands for controlling Mata**

**[M-4]** **Categorical guide to Mata functions**

**[M-5]** **Alphabetical index to Mata functions**

**[M-6]** **Mata glossary of common terms**
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__Description__

Mata is a matrix programming language that can be used by those who want
to perform matrix calculations interactively and by those who want to add
new features to Stata.

The *Mata Reference Manual* is comprehensive. If it seems overly
comprehensive and too short on explanation as to why things work the way
they do and how they could be used, we have a suggestion. See *The Mata*
*Book* by William Gould (428 pages) or *An Introduction to Stata Programming*
by Christopher Baum (412 pages). Baum's book assumes that you are
familiar with Stata but new to programming. Gould's book assumes that
you have some familiarity with programming and goes on from there. The
books go well together.

__Remarks__

This manual is divided into six sections. Each section is organized
alphabetically, but there is an introduction in front that will help you
get around.

If you are new to Mata, here is a helpful reading list: start by reading

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**[M-1] first** Introduction and first session
**[M-1] interactive** Using Mata interactively
**[M-1] how** How Mata works
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You may find other things in section **[M-1]** that interest you. For a
table of contents, see

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**[M-1] intro** Introduction and advice
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Whenever you see a term that you are unfamiliar with, see

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**[M-6] Glossary** Mata glossary of common terms
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Now that you know the basics, if you are interested, you can look deeper
into Mata's programming features:

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**[M-2] syntax** Mata language grammar and syntax
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**[M-2] syntax** is pretty dense reading, but it summarizes nearly
everything. The other entries in [M-2] repeat what is said there but
with more explanation; see

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**[M-2] intro** Language definition
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because other entries in [M-2] will interest you. If you are interested
in object-oriented programming, be sure to see **[M-2] class**.

Along the way, you will eventually be guided to sections [M-4] and [M-5].
[M-5] documents Mata's functions; the alphabetical order makes it easy to
find a function if you know its name but makes learning what functions
there are hopeless. That is the purpose of [M-4] -- to present the
functions in logical order. See

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**[M-4] intro** Categorical guide to Mata functions

Mathematical
**[M-4] matrix** Matrix functions
**[M-4] solvers** Matrix solvers and inverters
**[M-4] scalar** Scalar functions
**[M-4] statistical** Statistical functions
**[M-4] mathematical** Other important functions

Utility and manipulation
**[M-4] standard** Functions to create standard matrices
**[M-4] utility** Matrix utility functions
**[M-4] manipulation** Matrix manipulation functions

Stata interface
**[M-4] stata** Stata interface functions

String, I/O, and programming
**[M-4] string** String functions
**[M-4] io** I/O functions
**[M-4] programming** Programming functions
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__References__

Baum, C. F. 2016. *An Introduction to Stata Programming*. 2nd ed.
College Station, TX: Stata Press.

Gould, W. W. 2018. *The Mata Book: A Book for Serious Programmers and*
*Those Who Want to Be*. College Station, TX: Stata Press.