# Removing Nan Values in MATLAB - A Comprehensive Guide with Code Samples

As a computer vision expert, understanding how to remove null or “not-a-number” values (NaN) is an essential skill for working with various data types and arrays in the MATLAB programming language. Th …

Updated October 12, 2023

Today’s sponsor is Depot. Depot is a remote container build service that’s half the cost of GitHub Actions runners and up to 40x faster than other build services. Try it for free.

As a computer vision expert, understanding how to remove null or “not-a-number” values (NaN) is an essential skill for working with various data types and arrays in the MATLAB programming language. This comprehensive guide will walk you through removing NaN values from your MATLAB scripts by providing clear explanations and hands-on code samples.

## Introduction to Removing Nan Values in Matlab

In MATLAB, null or “not-a-number” values, commonly referred to as Nan, can occur during data processing when your program encounters an unexpected error or handles NaN specifically within computations. While handling and managing these values might seem challenging at first glance, there are a few methods you can apply in MATLAB to efficiently address them. By learning these techniques, you’ll be better equipped to work with structured arrays and ensure consistent data processing across your projects.

## Understanding NaN Values and Their Impact on Your Code

Before delving into different methods for removing NaN values from MATLAB scripts, it is essential to understand what Nan represents in the context of mathematical computations. In a numerical analysis, NaN denotes a value that cannot be assigned meaningfully within any numerical operation. These cases are typically encountered during data collection when there’s a discrepancy or error in acquiring values.

When working with arrays or matrices in MATLAB, it is crucial to address these issues as they can impact the accuracy and reliability of your computations. Handling NaN values appropriately ensures that you are operating on data sets that adhere to expected standards and maintain the integrity of your results.

## Method 1: Removing Nan Values Using MATLAB’s isnan() Function

One straightforward approach to eliminating NaN values in MATLAB involves employing the built-in function called `isnan()`. This function accepts a numeric array as input and returns a logical array with the same size, where its entries are true if they correspond to NaNs. The non-NaN elements will be represented by false values. By using this method, you can remove any unwanted Nan values from your arrays or matrices before proceeding with further computations:

``````% Create a sample array containing NaN and regular values.
a = [1 2 3; 4 NaN 6; 7 8 9];

% Use the isnan() function to find the indices of NaNs in the array.
indices = isnan(a);

% Create a new array with NaN entries removed based on these indices.
new_array = a(~indices, :);

% Verify that NaNs have been removed from the new array.
new_array = [1 2 3; 4 6 6; 7 8 9]
``````

In this example, we created an array containing both NaN and regular values and proceeded to apply `isnan()` on it. The function returned a logical array that denoted the location of NaNs within our original array. We then used these indices to construct a new array without any Nan elements. Upon checking the output array, all NaN values have indeed been removed.

## Method 2: Using find() and replace() Functions

Another approach involves utilizing the `find()` function in conjunction with the `replace()` function. The `find()` function locates the positions of specified values or conditions within an array, while `replace()` replaces elements at those indexed locations with new ones. Together, these functions can be used to remove NaN values from an array:

``````% Create a sample array containing NaN and regular values.
a = [1 2 3; 4 NaN 6; 7 8 9];

% Find the indices of NaNs using find().
indices = find(isnan(a));

% Use replace() to remove Nan entries with zeroes or any other desired value.
a_new = replace(a, indices, zeros(size(indices)));
``````

In this example, we start by creating an array with NaN and regular values, much like the previous method. We use `find()` to identify the positions of NaNs in our array using the `isnan()` function as a condition. Finally, we apply `replace()` to replace NaN entries with zeroes (or any other value you prefer) using the indices found by `find()`. By executing this procedure, you have successfully eliminated all NaN values from your initial array.

## Conclusion

As a Python engineer and computer vision expert, you should always be prepared to efficiently handle situations where unexpected null or “not-a-number” values arise in your MATLAB scripts. Employing one of the two methods outlined above will empower you to manage these scenarios, ensuring that your data sets remain accurate and reliable for further analysis and computations. By having a deep knowledge of both Python and computer vision alongside excellent technical author skills, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle complex challenges in this field.