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A System for Doing Mathematical and Technical Computation

MATLAB is an interactive system for doing mathematical and technical computation. The full manual set as well as other helpful information is available on-line at MathWorks..

MATLAB is available for Linux, Mac and Windows. MATLAB is used under a University of Copenhagen campus license and is therefore freely available to us. The license is normally renewed annually in September. New versions are provided semi-annually around April and September. New license files must be installed in both cases.

Questions about MATLAB in general should be sent to NBI IT support from your NBI or KU email address. However, before you do so, read the following.


MATLAB is used under a site license held by the University of Copenhagen. This license provides unlimited access to MATLAB and to most toolboxes.

When running MATLAB authorization can be obtained in two ways, either with a local license file or via a network license server. The actual program is the same. All desktops and servers should use a license server.

The NBI license server is at It uses port 16286 and 33105. It is not reachable outside of the NBI firewalls unless you use VPN. Machines using this server should have a fully qualified domain name for easy identification.

If you want to obtain a MATLAB license for a portable machine, read the information below.



The present (2016-04-17) release version is R2016a, program version 9.0.0.

Starting with version R2012b MATLAB is available only in 64-bit versions for Mac and Linux. There are still both 32- and 64-bit versions for Windows.

Running MATLAB on NBI machines

Release version

You can start MATLAB from the desktop menu by opening

Applications → Accessories → MATLAB

but you can also start it from a terminal window by typing matlab . If you want to run MATLAB with a simple terminal interface instead of in windows mode, start the program as

  matlab -nojvm

More help on how to run the program is available as

  matlab -help

Note, there is only one hyphen.

Other versions

A possible newly released or test version is started from a terminal window with the command matlab-next . The previous version can normally be started as matlab-prev .

Stand-alone Installation

You can install MATLAB on your own machine, provided it is using Linux, Mac OS X or Windows.

Using the KU Software repository

One possibility is to download an installation kit from the Copenhagen University software repository. After unpacking and starting the installer you will be asked to (create and) use a personal MATLAB account. With this you will download MATLAB file by file, install and activate, a rather lengthy procedure.

Using NBI facilities

You can also fetch installation kits for R2016b and older versions at the NBI repository. To access this you need to login with your KU id and corresponding password. Windows kits are 7-zip archives.

In the beginning of the installation you need an File Installation Key (FIK). This is used by the installer to determine what packages are available under the license. The FIK can be found in the installation kit.

Start the relevant installer, and choose "Install manually without using the Internet". A few windows later you are asked to enter the file installation key (FIK) as given above. You can now continue the appr. 9 GB large installation. Finally you have to activate. You could use the instructions given at the KU Software Repository (see above), but you are also welcome to request a license file from NBI IT support:
When asked to activate, choose "Activate manually without the Internet" and "I do not have a license file". This will pop up another window where you can read your Host ID in the second paragraph. Send this, and information on what OS, what name your machine has and what MATLAB version you use, to NBI IT support. We will then send the license file in an email as soon as we can. Extract the license section to a file. Mac users should be careful to extract in plain text format, not as Mac RTF.
Next time you start MATLAB you are asked to activate. Choose "Activate manually without the Internet" again, but now provide the path to the saved license file.