MATLAB licensing for Oxford University

Mathworks licensing of MATLAB is rather complicated.

For Oxford University purposes, there are 4 relevant categories of license:

  1. Student licenses -- these are standalone licenses for undergraduate, MSc and DPhil students to run MATLAB on their own PCs and laptops under Windows, Linux or Mac OS X. A number of departments have collectively paid for a university site license to cover all students. Furthermore, it comes with 16 toolboxes (thanks to additional funding from Engineering Science): Simulink, Signal Processing, Control System, DSP System, Optimization, Statistics, Image Processing, Stateflow, Data Acquisition, Instrument Control, Curve Fitting, SimMechanics, Bioinformatics, Simscape, Symbolic Math.

    Students can get the software by going here and following the link through to the Registration Server where full installation details are given. In the event of any installation difficulties, some troubleshooting notes are available here.

    If you get warnings that "Your MATLAB license is about to expire" you can update your license by running MATLAB while connected to the internet, and going to Help -> Licensing -> Update Current License.

  2. Concurrent licenses -- any university and college owned machines connected to the university network (possibly through the VPN) can access the concurrent license server to get a temporary license whenever a user wants to run MATLAB. The concurrent server has licenses for roughly 400 simultaneous users, plus a large set of toolboxes. It is funded centrally by the Divisional Software Licensing Group and so there is no charge for using this service. It is administered by OUCS and further details are available here.

    We have only a limited number of licenses, especially for some of the toolboxes. If you think you may want to use more than one at the same time, please first read these notes on fair use.

  3. Classroom licenses -- these are a special case of the above for computer labs which are used solely for teaching.

  4. Standalone group licenses -- these are ideal for laptops and home PCs which are not connected to the university network and so cannot use the concurrent license server. OeRC has made a bulk purchase of licenses for resale within the university at an initial cost of £150 plus an annual maintenance fee of £25/yr. This is much cheaper than the standard Mathworks cost of approximately £400 initial cost plus £80/yr maintenance. Further details are given below, and the scheme is currently managed by Mike Giles.

Additional details for the standalone group licenses:

  1. Each license can be used for a designated machine. If the machine is dual-boot (or triple-boot) Windows/Linux/OS X then the license covers it for both (or all three). There is no restriction at all on transferring licenses from one machine to another (e.g. when upgrading machines).

  2. It is not possible to withdraw individual licenses from the maintenance scheme, so if a department chooses not to continue paying for maintenance then they must hand the license back to OeRC, or sell it on to someone else within the University. This is the one major "catch" of group purchasing.

  3. Another "catch" is that each department must have a MATLAB representative who will take care of the annual maintenance payments, and if necessary split up the bill within the department.

  4. Toolboxes can be bought and added to the group. We have a small number of spares of some of the most popular toolboxes (Curve Fitting, Image Processing, Parallel Computing, PDEs, Symbolic, Wavelet), but otherwise it is up to individual users or departments to try, where possible, to identify other interested users to coordinate a bulk purchase of new toolboxes from Mathworks UK. Toolboxes cost approximately £175 if bought individually, whereas the cost is reduced to about £130/license if one buys at least 5 copies of the same toolbox. For more details see the Mathworks pricelist. When buying toolboxes, make sure to tell Mathworks that they are to be added to standalone group license #236342.

  5. The annual maintenance costs are based on the total number of licenses within the group at the time of the maintenance renewal. Therefore, anyone who has previously bought individual standalone MATLAB and toolbox licenses can benefit from adding their licenses into the master group.

  6. Eric Peasley has prepared these notes on how to install the latest version of the MATLAB software, using Mathworks' software download and validation process, and these notes on using toolboxes from the concurrent server in combination with a standalone MATLAB license when connected to the university network.

  7. When a user stops using a standalone license, it is important that they deactivate it so that it may be assigned to a new user. Mathworks provides clear instructions for this. If you are unable to follow this standard procedure (for example because your PC has died) then you can also deactivate through the License Server following these instructions.

  8. Anyone interested in getting a standalone license should first check the list below to see if there is a current contact within their department. If there is not, then they can contact Mike Giles directly.

List of departmental MATLAB contacts
Department Contact
Cardiovascular Medicine Matthew Robson
Chemistry Pete Biggs
Computer Science Craig Tranfield
DPAG / Physiology Tim Pragnell
Earth Sciences Stephen Usher
Economics David Osborne
Engineering Science Eric Peasley
FMRIB Dave Flitney
Geography / OUCE Geoff Calvert
IMSU David Newburn
LSI DTC Eoin Malins
Materials Paul Warren
Mathematics Keith Gillow
OeRC Steven Young
Physics John Macallister
Plant Sciences Jim Heden
Psychiatry Pam Taylor
Psychology Mihaela Duta
QEH Rachel Crawford
Said Business School Simon Johnson
Statistics Susan Hutchinson
Zoology Simon Ellis