Options for Matlab use at Georgia Tech before TAH

NOTE:  This page is largely out of date, but we are keeping it here for reference until the old Group license is completely eliminated.

Before 2010 there were two main campus licenses for Matlab.

  • network license (a.k.a. concurrent license) was operated by the College of Engineering and paid for using Technology Fee funds.  In order to use this Matlab, you needed to be on a machine that could talk to the campus license server. Typically, this meant the system was on the Georgia Tech network in an office or lab. Alternately, you could run Matlab remotely using the VPN or on a virtual machine via http://www.matrix.gatech.edu.  None of this has changed significantly with the new agreements.
  • A standalone license (a.k.a. group license) was run by the School of Mathematics, and was funded entirely by individual researchers who pooled their resources once a year to leverage volume discounts. Each user purchased their own toolboxes for their own use. These Matlabs could be used without being on the Georgia Tech network, or any network for that matter.

In 2010, the College of Engineering and the College of Sciences brokered a campus agreement with the Mathworks which is called the Total Academic Headcount (TAH) license. The TAH covers Matlab and 16 TAH toolboxes. This agreement improves the network license a little, but it improves standalone licenses significantly.  This was primarily driven by a change in pricing structure from the Mathworks, which made it infeasible for us to continue with our previous licensing arrangement.  Any discussion of Matlab necessarily includes a discussion of the many Matlab toolboxes.  In order to better understand the new options, you are encouraged to view a complete description of toolboxes covered by Georgia Tech agreements.

For network license users, the TAH will still provide all the same toolboxes, but the quantity of Matlab and the 16 TAH toolboxes are now essentially unlimited. Non-TAH toolboxes are still licensed in limited quantities, so they cannot be loaded if more than a certain number of networked systems are using them. Dedicated toolboxes which are reserved for certain research groups under the network license remain unchanged.


Standalone licenses which are part of the campus group license will also all continue to work.  In particular, the TAH should not negatively affect any of the products that faculty have purchased.  In fact, in many cases, the TAH will allow faculty to have access to even more toolboxes than they originally ordered. 


Another improvement is that the Parallel Computing Toolbox (PCT) is now included in all network and stand alone licenses. PCT enables users to use “common parallel processing constructs such as parallel for-loops and code blocks, distributed arrays, parallel numerical algorithms, and message-passing functions, which let you implement task- and data-parallel algorithms in MATLAB at a high level without programming for specific hardware and network architectures. As a result, converting serial MATLAB applications to parallel MATLAB applications requires few code modifications and no programming in a low-level language.” This will likely be a big improvement for many applications which now routinely run on multicore systems.


Managing and Migrating Older Matlab Licenses

Network licensed systems do not need to be changed. Note that Matlab is now available for download from software.oit.gatech.edu. You will still point your systems at the campus license server and they must be on the Georgia Tech network to use this service. You will need a recent version (R2009b or later) to get the Parallel Computing Toolbox.

Virtual machines running Matlab (and other software) via http://vlab.matrix.gatech.edu continue to mature. For more information on the vlab site, contact contact support@matrix.gatech.edu.


Standalone licenses covered by the Group license will need to be migrated to TAH.   All group licenses now use the new TAH license.  In many cases, the new TAH covers everything which a user had under the group license, and more.  If you were a member of the group license, and you now try to run Matlab, you will be warned that the license number has changed.  You are then prompted to deactivate the old license and activate the new one. If you are unsure about what to do in this case, you may, for the moment, simply cancel the warning and Matlab will run normally.  However, this will only be a viable option for a limited time, so at some point you will need to go through the simple one-time process of deactivating and reactivating.  If you need help with this, you can follow the directions to migrate your stand-alone group license to the TAH.  If you need more help, please send a message to matlab-support@gatech.edu. One advantage to doing this migration, is that it will automatically provide all the toolboxes from the new TAH agreement, including PCT, whether or not they were included in your original group license.