Cleve Moler is the author of the first MATLAB, one of the founders of MathWorks, and is currently Chief Mathematician at the company. He is the author of two books about MATLAB that are available online. He writes here about MATLAB, scientific computing and interesting mathematics.
This post is about the words "Matlab" and "matlab", in upper and lower case, and without a trademark symbol. Matlab with a capital "M" is a district in Bangladesh. "matlab" with a lower case "m" is a common word in the Hindi language.
Matlab is the name of both a rural district in central Bangladesh and it largest city. The population of the district is only about a quarter of a million people, compared to over 160 million in all of Bangladesh.
For over 50 years, since the early 1960s, Matlab has served as important laboratory for the study of health issues in impoverished rural areas. The studies began with a hospital aboard a barge floating around the cholera-prone rivers of the district. The Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) was established in 1966.
Almost everyone in Matlab has a personal heath identification number and records are kept of births, deaths, marriages, and various illnesses. The relative isolation of the area makes it a nearly self-contained population. Dozens of studies and hundreds of reports and academic papers detail all aspects of public health, especially fertility, reproductive health, maternal and child health, cause of death and child morbidity, health equity, and effects of climate change.
Matlab played a central role the development of ORS, oral rehydration salts, a home-made mixture of water, salt and molasses that prevents dehydration in children sick with cholera. The British medical journal The Lancet described ORS as "potentially the most important medical advance of this century."
photo credit <http://ghes.berkeley.edu>
matlab, in Hindi
In the Hindi language, the word "matlab" means "means", as in "What do you mean?". With English characters the word is spelled matlab, but is pronounced a little bit like mutlub. Let's try to get your browser to display Hindi characters,
This video, by Anil Mihato, has an excellent explanation. YouTube video.
And here is an introduction to MATLAB in Hindi. MATLAB in Hindi.