Lesson 05: User-Defined Functions


  • Learn how to create and use your own MATLAB functions
  • Learn how to create and use anonymous functions



A user-defined function is a MATLAB program that is created by the user and saves as a function file. It can be used like a built-in function. A function usually has input arguments (or parameters) and/or output variables (or parameters). Both parameters can be scalars, vectors, matrices of any size. In MATLAB, a function can has any number of input and output parameters, also including zero.




  1. Perhaps the most famous equation in physics is
    which relates energy E to mass m. The speed of light in a vacuum, c, is the property that links the two together. The speed of light in a vacuum is $2.9979\times {{10}^{8}}$ m/s.
    1. Create a function called energy to find the energy corresponding to a given mass in kilograms. Your result will be in joules, since $1\,kg{}^{{{m}^{2}}}\!\!\diagup\!\!{}_{{{s}^{2}}}\;=1\,J$.
    2. Use your function to find the energy corresponding to masses from 1 kg to 106 kg. Use the logspace function (consult help logspace) to create an appropriate mass vector.
  2. Create four anonymous functions to represent the function $6{{e}^{3\cos {{x}^{2}}}}$, which is composed of the functions $h(z)=6{{e}^{z}}$, $g(y)=3\cos y$, and $f(x)={{x}^{2}}$. Use the anonymous function to plot $6{{e}^{3\cos {{x}^{2}}}}$ over the range 0 ≤ x ≤ 4.