MATLAB (short for "Matrix Laboratory") was originally created in the
1970s by Cleve Moler
at the University of New Mexico.
MATLAB is a
so-called "4th generation programming language", that is, a
programming language designed with a *specific* purpose in mind.
This is in contrast to 3rd generation programming languages
(FORTRAN/C/C++) which are general purpose in nature.
Although MATLAB itself provides a great deal of basic matrix
manipulation, plotting, and general purpose scientific programming
capability, a large part of its functionality is actually available
through specialized "toolboxes" such as the Optimization toolbox,
the Statistics toolbox, the Signal Processing toolbox, the Image
Processing Toolbox, etc.