Matlab is a software system for dealing with matrix calculations. Since images can be seen as large matrices, it has some image and signal processing capabilities built in, for example, a nice Fourier transform (which is good, since the iff version does not seem to work). It also has a lot of nice graphical capabilities, and can be used for massaging and presenting data. Basically you type "matlab" at the system and it comes up. Advantages: lots of bells and whistles, very user friendly, nice graphics. Disadvantages: Runs as an environment, which means you have to everything from inside it, so interfacing can be tricky, though seems to work ok once you figure out how. A bit of a memory pig - it doesn't always clean up unused storage very well. An alternative is to use something called Octave, which has a lot of the functionality and comes with gnu, so we have unlimited users. There are a couple of manuals in the software lab, and a good online help system.