GNU Octave

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GNU Octave
Type Public / Private
Industry Scientific Computing Software
Founded 1988
Headquarters Boston, Massachusetts
Key people John W. Eaton[1]
Investors University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Texas
Related Certifications Certificate in Machine Learning Industry Overview

GNU Octave is a high-level programming language software, primarily intended for numerical computations. It provides a convenient command line interface for solving linear and nonlinear problems numerically, and for performing other numerical experiments using a language that is mostly compatible with Matlab. It may also be used as a batch-oriented language.
Octave has extensive tools for solving common numerical linear algebra problems, finding the roots of nonlinear equations, integrating ordinary functions, manipulating polynomials, and integrating ordinary differential and differential-algebraic equations. It is easily extensible and customizable via user-defined functions written in Octave's own language, or using dynamically loaded modules written in C++, C, Fortran, or other languages. Octave is one of the major free alternatives to MATLAB.[2]
GNU Octave is also freely redistributable software. You may redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) as published by the Free Software Foundation.


  • The program is named after Octave Levenspiel, a former professor of the principal author.
  • Octave was originally conceived in 1988 to be companion software for an undergraduate-level textbook on chemical reactor design being written by James B. Rawlings of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and John G. Ekerdt of the University of Texas.
  • Full-time development began in the Spring of 1992 by John W. Eaton.
  • The first alpha release was January 4, 1993, and version 1.0 was released February 17, 1994. [3]
  • Octave versions 3.8.0 and later featured a Graphical User Interface (GUI) in addition to the traditional Command Line Interface (CLI).
  • July 2, 2016, Octave 4.0.3 the latest version was released.

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Technical Specifications

  • Octave is written in C++ using the C++ standard library.
  • Octave uses an interpreter to execute the Octave scripting language.
  • Octave is extensible using dynamically loadable modules.
  • Octave interpreter has an OpenGL-based graphics engine to create plots, graphs and charts and to save or print them. Alternatively, gnuplot can be used for the same purpose.
  • Octave versions 3.8.0 and later include a Graphical User Interface (GUI) in addition to the traditional Command Line Interface (CLI)

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