Calling MATLAB functions from python-ThrowExceptions

Exception or error:

Is it possible to run MATLAB functions from within Python?
I search the internet, I could only find PyMat. The bad thing is the compiled version only supports Python2.2 and I am using 2.6. So I tried to download the source code, so I can compile it for myself. But I cannot compile it, VC++ express seems not to have the necessary functionalities to compile it. Does anyone have the compile version for PC?
or any substitutes for PyMat?

How to solve:

PyMat looks like it’s been abandoned.

I’m assuming you are on windows so you could always do the simplest approach and use Matlab’s COM interface:

>>> import win32com.client
>>> h = win32com.client.Dispatch('matlab.application')
>>> h.Execute ("plot([0 18], [7 23])")
>>> h.Execute ("1+1")
u'\nans =\n\n     2\n\n'

More info here


I know this is an old question and has been answered. But I was looking for the same thing (for the Mac) and found that there are quite a few options with different methods of interacting with matlab and different levels of maturity. Here’s what I found:


A low level interface to Matlab using the matlab engine (libeng) for communication (basically a library that comes with matlab). The module has to be compiled and linked with libeng.
Last updated: 2003


A somewhat short lived continuation of the pymat development. Seems to work on windows (including 64bit), linux and mac (with some changes).
Last updated: 2012


A high level interface that also comes as a module which needs compilation and linking against libeng. It exposes Matlab functions to python so you can do fun stuff like

mlab.plot(x, y, 'o')
Last updated: 2009


A repackaging effort of mlabwrap. Basically it replaces the c++ code that links against ‘libeng’ in mlabwrap with a python module (matlabpipe) that communicates with matlab through a pipe. The main advantage of this is that it doesn’t need compilation of any kind.

Unfortunately the package currently has a couple of bugs and doesn’t seem to work on the mac at all. I reported a few of them but gave up eventually. Also, be prepared for lots of trickery and a bunch of pretty ugly hacks if you have to go into the source code ­čśë If this becomes more mature it could be one of the best options.
last update: 2013


A newer package (2010) that also interacts with Matlab through libeng. Unlike the other packages this one loads the engine library through ctypes thus no compilation required. Its not without flaws but still being maintained and the (64bit Mac specific) issues I found should be easy enough to fix.
(edit 2014-05-20: it seems those issues have already been fixed in the source so things should be fine with 0.2.4)
last update: 2014


Also a newer package that is still actively maintained. Communicates with Matlab through some sort of socket. Unfortunately the exposed functions are a bit limited. I couldn’t figure out how to invoke a function that takes structs as parameters. Requires zmq, pyzmq and IPython which are easy enough to install.
last update: 2014


Another option is Mlabwrap:

Mlabwrap is a high-level python to Matlab® bridge that lets Matlab look like a normal python library.

It works well with numpy arrays. An example from the home page:

>>> from mlabwrap import mlab; from numpy import *
>>> xx = arange(-2*pi, 2*pi, 0.2)


There is a python-matlab bridge which is unique in the sense that Matlab runs in the background so you don’t have the startup cost each time you call a Matlab function.

it’s as easy as downloading and the following code:

from pymatbridge import Matlab
mlab = Matlab(matlab='/Applications/')
res ='path/to/yourfunc.m', {'arg1': 3, 'arg2': 5})
print res['result']

where the contents of yourfunc.m would be something like this:

function lol = yourfunc(args)
    arg1 = args.arg1;
    arg2 = args.arg2;
    lol = arg1 + arg2;


see this page: An Open-Source MATLAB®-to-Python® Compiler


I would like to add one more option to the excellent summary by Lukas:


The advantage of matlab_wrapper is that it is pure Python library and you will not need to compile anything. Works in GNU/Linux, Windows and OSX.

Disclaimer: I’m the author of matlab_wrapper


newer versions of matlab seem to provide a module that allows you to call matlab functions from within python. see here and here.


You can use the official matlab engine by installing Matlab, then building python engine from its extern files. You can check the guide website below:
—Thanks for the advice in the first comment of this answer —
the essential step in brief are (On Windows platform, other can checked in the url below):
1. download and then install matlab, the version must be R2014 or later.
2. open a PowerShell window under admin, then:

cd "matlabroot\extern\engines\python"

3. use command-line below to install:

python install

The admin is essential, or you’ll fail to build it.

For more information, you can click the official start sheet below:


2 more options for you to consider:

  1. Follow the official MATLAB docs:
    Create a Python Application with MATLAB Code. This will create a Python library that includes MATLAB runtime which you can call from within your Python code.

  2. Run your MATLAB code in GNU Octave then call it from Python using Oct2Py


This is the solution from Mathworks.

In your current folder, create a MATLAB script in a file named triarea.m.

function a = triarea(b,h)
a = 0.5*(b.* h);

Meanwhile, you run the python code as follows,

import matlab.engine
eng = matlab.engine.start_matlab()
ret = eng.triarea(1.0,5.0)
>>> 2.5

Matlab already provides the python module of the engine, to install that you can do the following,

cd matlab_root_folder/extern/engines/python
python install

You are all done!
Tips: you need to be careful about the data type, the engine is not friendly with numpy. You need to convert the data first.

mat_array = matlab.double(list(my_numpy_array))
eng.my_matlabe_function(mat_array )

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