MATLAB was free in Grad school (my lab had a multi-user license). And so all of us leveraged the great support for image-processing built into MATLAB to develop our research in the field of computed tomography.
I do agree that MATLAB does accelerate research.
But now that I am out of Grad-school, I do not have a MATLAB license anymore. Not that I miss MATLAB much. Here’s what makes me sad — I released almost all the codes of my PhD as open-source. A lot of the code used MATLAB.
These codes reproduce my work in the field of computed tomography, specifically interior tomography and few-view reconstruction. Students from around the world who are currently in Grad school land up on the web-pages (the number of hits is quite high). Some of them contact me to ask me questions about the code, or to request updates.
But I do not have a MATLAB license anymore. OK, so maybe I can spend some money to get a license to work on this as a side-project.
But other free languages (specifically Python, numPy) are coming up at such a fast pace — I feel bad that my lab did not use such really open-source languages in the first place. I would encourage all current Graduate Students to work in those truly-free languages. The rate of growth and scope for collaboration in the world of open-source software (especially with platforms like GitHub) is much higher than anything MATLAB central can ever provide.
Anyway, as far as my open-source venture with MATLAB goes, I realize now that “open source MATLAB” is an oxymoron 🙁