Creating an Empty Vector in MATLAB

In this comprehensive article, we’ll delve into the fundamentals of working with vectors in MATLAB. We’ll discuss their significance in various programming languages, including Python and computer vis …

Updated October 26, 2023

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In this comprehensive article, we’ll delve into the fundamentals of working with vectors in MATLAB. We’ll discuss their significance in various programming languages, including Python and computer vision applications. Additionally, we’ll explore how to create empty vectors in MATLAB and offer practical usage scenarios for these essential data structures. So, let’s begin our journey into the world of vector manipulation! Title: Creating an Empty Vector in MATLAB: A Comprehensive Guide for Python Engineers and Computer Vision Experts

Introduction to Vectors and Their Applications

Before jumping into creating an empty vector in MATLAB, it is crucial to understand the concept of vectors and their applications across various programming languages. Here are some key facts about vectors that can be useful for Python engineers and Computer Vision experts:

  1. A vector is a one-dimensional ordered collection of elements with specific attributes, such as numerical values or variables. Vectors are widely used in different domains like computer graphics, signal processing, artificial intelligence, and many more.

  2. The term “vector” may have different meanings depending on the programming language and context. For instance, in Python, a vector could be represented using lists, tuples, or Numpy arrays; while in MATLAB, vectors are a fundamental data type with their specific properties.

  3. Python offers efficient libraries such as NumPy for manipulating large, multi-dimensional arrays like matrices and tensors that can perform linear algebra and advanced mathematical operations.

  4. Computer Vision applications often involve processing images and videos using vectorized features or data structures to represent objects within an image or video frame. For example, a popular feature representation in deep learning is embedding visual input into a high-dimensional vector space for machine understanding.

Creating Empty Vectors in MATLAB

Now that we have established the relevance and usage of vectors across programming languages, let’s explore how to create an empty vector in MATLAB. The steps involved are quite simple but essential to grasping MATLAB’s data management capabilities:

  1. Launching MATLAB To follow along with this tutorial, launch the MATLAB software on your computer and open a new workspace (if not already). If you have an installation or access issue, please refer to the official documentation for help.

  2. Declaring Variables MATLAB primarily uses variables as containers for data within your program. In Python, we use ‘=’, but in MATLAB, we use the assignment operator ‘=’ to assign a value to a variable name. So, for example:

    myVariable = 1;

  3. Creating Empty Vectors In MATLAB, you can create an empty vector by specifying its data type and dimension using the syntax dataType(dimension). You have various data types in MATLAB such as doubles for storing floating-point numbers, ints for integer values, and logics for logical truth or falsehood. Here’s how to create an empty vector with all these attributes:

    myDoubleVector = double([]); myIntVector = int([]); myLogicVector = logic([]);

  4. Initializing Vectors MATLAB offers a convenient syntax for initializing vectors by supplying the desired values within square brackets, separated by commas or spaces. It is more flexible than creating empty vectors since you can assign values from the beginning:

    myDoubleVector = double([1 2 3]); myIntVector = int([5 7 9]); myLogicVector = logic([0 1 0]);

Usage Scenarios for Empty Vectors in MATLAB

Now that we have covered the basics of creating vectors in MATLAB, let’s explore some real-world use cases and applications:

  1. Data Storage and Processing: Empty vectors are often useful when working with large datasets where not all data values might be available yet or you need to process them one by one. This approach helps manage the storage of data effectively while also allowing for dynamic updates as new information becomes available.

  2. Machine Learning Algorithms: In machine learning applications, empty vectors can be used in various ways. For example, when training neural networks that require initializing weights and biases with random or zero values, you can create an empty vector to hold these values before updating them during the training process. Additionally, MATLAB has built-in functions like zeros and rand for creating vectors filled with zeros or random values, which could be used instead of the explicit syntax mentioned earlier.

  3. Computer Vision: In computer vision applications, empty vector representations are crucial when handling spatial data structures such as images or videos. These vectors may represent individual pixels in an image or frame from a video sequence, enabling complex visual processing and feature extraction to take place.


In conclusion, understanding the basics of creating and using empty vectors in MATLAB is essential for Python engineers and Computer Vision experts looking to expand their programming skills and solve problems in various domains. We have explored the concepts and applications of vectors across different languages, delved into MATLAB’s syntax for defining vector types, and provided real-world use cases for working with vectors in this powerful software environment. With these valuable insights in hand, you can now confidently incorporate empty vectors into your programming projects and unlock new opportunities in the world of data science and computer vision.