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MATLAB one-liners

Asked by Andrew Newell on 3 Mar 2011

One of the joys of using MATLAB is that it has a stock of matrix functions like diff, sort, all, and so on, that can be combined in all sorts of interesting ways. For example, in a recent question, the challenge was to find a compact code to determine which columns of a matrix A have all elements equal. Matt Tearle came up with this nifty answer:


What are your favorite one-line MATLAB expressions?


Andrew Newell


10 Answers

Answer by Walter Roberson on 3 Mar 2011
Accepted answer
cell2mat(arrayfun(@(K) accumarray(C, F(:,K), [], @mean), 1:size(F,2), 'Uniform', 0)) 

In response to a cssm question:

 I have a feature matrix, F(m, n) and a cluster vector, C(m, 1).
 Now I want to get the mean of feature in F according to C. Make
 it simple as below:
 F = [2 5; 3 7; 8 4]
 C = [2; 1; 2]
 output should be [3 7; (2+8)/2 (5+4)/2]
 =[3 7; 5 4.5]


Matt Fig on 3 Mar 2011

ARRAYFUN, and ACUMARRAY? About all that is missing is to somehow work BSXFUN in there too!

Andrew Newell on 28 Mar 2011

Even though BSXFUN is missing, I decided to accept this one. Very clever, @Walter!

Walter Roberson
Answer by Matt Tearle on 3 Mar 2011

I'm a huge fan of logical indexing. Expressions like

mean(frogs(wombats > 42))

rock my world.


Andrew Newell on 3 Mar 2011

Or how about mean(people(suck))?

Sean de Wolski on 3 Mar 2011

I use the function 'keep' from the FEX which performs the inverse of clear.
I also use the variables 'in', 'out' a lot. So the other day I typed:
'keep out'
which kind of made my day.

Andrew Newell on 3 Mar 2011

I like it!

Matt Tearle
Answer by Sean de Wolski on 3 Mar 2011

Here's another from a thread today:

Given a connected components analysis (bwconncomp) and some criteria for objects to meet: remove objects that don't meet that criteria from your binary image:

 I(cell2mat(CC.PixelIdxList(~idx)')) = false;

1 Comment

Sean de Wolski on 3 Mar 2011

idx can usually be a one line expression from cellfun making this a super-awesome-long-one-liner.

Sean de Wolski
Answer by Matt Fig on 3 Mar 2011

Here is a good one. After already writing a solution to this Question, I stumbled upon this:

groups = mat2cell(A,diff([0;find(diff(A) ~= 1);length(A)]),1);

Pretty Slick.


Matt Fig on 3 Mar 2011

I had it stored in my "One liners" file, which is made up of one-liners either I or somebody else on CSSM wrote in response to some question. The file is too big to be much use anymore...

Matt Tearle on 3 Mar 2011

Matt Fig: "LI is tops, but not always necessary or useful"

An unbeliever! Persecute! Kill the heretic!

Walter Roberson on 3 Mar 2011

Ah, I found my copy, and it was _not_ a 1 liner. I had used

b=diff(a); %find differences
idx = find([b 2]>1); %find their indexes
cel = mat2cell(a, 1, [idx(1) diff(idx)]); %break up the matrix

Matt Fig
Answer by Matt Tearle on 3 Mar 2011

Inspired by something I'm working on right now & your comment to my previous answer...

If you have an n-by-1 structure array people with a field suck (which contains a scalar for each struct element), and you want to find the average:


Extract multiple elements, concatenate, apply function. All in one line.

1 Comment

Andrew Newell on 3 Mar 2011

I like compact expressions with social commentary.

Matt Tearle
Answer by Andrew Newell on 3 Mar 2011

Turn a structure array S into a cell array with the names of the fields in the first column:

C = horzcat(fieldnames(S), squeeze(struct2cell(S)))


Andrew Newell
Answer by Andrew Newell on 6 Mar 2011

Here is a real beauty from a comment by Tim Davis on a guest blog for Loren Shure. Suppose you have three 2D vectors p1, p2 and p3, and you want to know if they are collinear. The shortest solution also happens to be numerically the most reliable:

rank ([p2-p1 ; p3-p1]) < 2

It is also easily generalized to more dimensions!


Andrew Newell
Answer by Oleg Komarov on 3 Mar 2011
eval('fliplr(['''' 33 33 33 33 33 76 105 118 69 32 109 39 73 ''''])')



Andrew Newell on 3 Mar 2011

If you were really evil (or a quitter), you'd do

eval(char([113 117 105 116]))

Oleg Komarov on 3 Mar 2011

You're the evilest!

the cyclist on 28 Mar 2011

I used to be an admin on a chess server where "qu" could be used as a shorthand to quit out of the interface. A common prank was to tell newbies that "qu" could be used to display the "quote of the day".

Oleg Komarov
Answer by Andrew Newell on 4 Mar 2011

Here is an interesting way of calculating n rows of Pascal's triangle:


Now if we could just remove the zeros and center it on the same line!


Walter Roberson on 4 Mar 2011

sprintf() it and regexrep() on the result, substituting spaces for leading space-zero-space; another regexprep() call could substitute spaces for trailing space-zero-space.

Doug Eastman on 29 Mar 2011

It's not pretty but just for fun, here's one way to do it:
trimmedTriangle = cell2mat(cellfun(@(x) x(1:size(num2str(expm(diag(1:n-1,-1))),2)),cellfun(@(x,y)[x y],cellfun(@(x) repmat(' ',1,x),num2cell(round(linspace(size(num2str(expm(diag(1:n-1,-1))),2)/2,0,n))'),'UniformOutput',false),regexprep(mat2cell(num2str(expm(diag(1:n-1,-1))),ones(n,1)),' 0',' '),'UniformOutput',false),'UniformOutput',false))

Andrew Newell on 29 Mar 2011

Wow! Three nested cellfuns! This deserves a separate answer.

Andrew Newell
Answer by Drew Weymouth on 4 Mar 2011

Read in an image and convert it to a grayscale, double matrix of data range 0..1

im= rgb2gray(double(imread('filename.jpg'))/255);

1 Comment

Walter Roberson on 4 Mar 2011

or more generally, rgb2gray(im2double(imread('filename.jpg')))

Your code would fail for images that happened to be already double or happened to be uint16.

Drew Weymouth

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