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loading Matlab 6 and 7 files

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg75981] loading Matlab 6 and 7 files
  • From: grenander <grenander at>
  • Date: Mon, 14 May 2007 03:46:03 -0400 (EDT)
  • Organization: University of California, Berkeley

[It is generally the policy of this group to not discuss non-Mathematica
 systems, but in this specific case, when this sort of issue also
 appears on the web site and has been discussed in the past
 in this group, it will be permitted - Moderator]

I have data saved as .mat files using Matlab v6-7. I would like to work
with this data in Matheamtica. I'm wondering what is the best way to do this.

Here are some things I have tried just today:

1. Load the .mat files in Matlab 7.3 2006b and save using the -v7.3 option,
which saves the data in hdf5 format. It seems this is the save format for
Matlab going forward. The file sizes are sometimes twice as large though.
Then in Mathematica load using Import[,"HDF5"]. I am not sure yet how to Export
multiple SDS data as one HDF5 file in Mathematica yet. This is sparsely
and I don't know enough about HDF5. It would be nice to able to save any
Mathematica data (images, plots, etc) that occur in an .nb this way
to be used by
other programs. I am guessing this is not possible with the current HDF5
support in Mathematica.

2. Use the mat2hdf command-line converter (google mat2hdf)

It doesn't work for some of the Matlab data types.

3. Use through Pythonika

Most of the data types require some manipulation to be passed back with

Is there an easier or better way to do this? Is there a native .mat reader
and writer for Mathematica for .mat files saved with Matlab > v5. 

It seems that hdf5 is a good format to work with as it is supported to
some extent by both Mathematica and Matlab. Are there any pitfalls, better

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