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Getting Started

In this tutorial we will walk through the steps required to install xolotl and make sure everything works well. You will need:

  1. MATLAB (xolotl will not work on GNU Octave)
  2. An internet connection

Download xolotl here and drag the downloaded file (xolotl.mltbx) onto your MATLAB workspace. MATLAB should automatically open a prompt asking you if you want to install it.

Then we need to install a C/C++ compiler, and get MATLAB to work with that. Follow these instructions based on your operating system:



  1. Install XCode
  2. Open XCode, and accept the license agreement.


  1. Download and install the MinGW compiler from the Mathworks FileExchange. You'll need to log in using a Mathworks account. This ridiculous restriction is Mathworks' fault.

You can also get the compiler as a MATLAB "add-on."


  1. Use your favorite package manager to install a C and C++ compiler. For example, on Debian-based systems, use sudo apt install gcc & sudo apt install g++
  2. Verify that your compiler is on the MATLAB path by running system('which gcc') from within MATLAB


Configure MATLAB to use compilers

Run this in your MATLAB terminal:

mex -setup c++
mex -setup c

You should see something like this:

% This is what you'll see on macOS. The precise message
% may be different on other operating systems
MEX configured to use 'Xcode Clang++' for C++ language compilation.
MEX configured to use 'Xcode with Clang' for C language compilation.

Verify your installation

OK, let's make sure everything works. Copy and paste the following code into your MATLAB terminal:


You should see this plot appear:


If you don't see this plot, or see some horrible error message, click on this link so we can figure out what went wrong