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Posted 7 Mar 2012

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OctaveSharp - Running GNU Octave with C#

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4.97/5 (15 votes)
10 Apr 2012CPOL2 min read
OctaveSharp wrapper for using Octave in C# applications


“GNU Octave is a high-level interpreted language, primarily intended for numerical computations. It provides capabilities for the numerical solution of linear and nonlinear problems, and for performing other numerical experiments. It also provides extensive graphics capabilities for data visualization and manipulation. Octave is normally used through its interactive command line interface, but it can also be used to write non-interactive programs. The Octave language is quite similar to Matlab so that most programs are easily portable.

Octave is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License. “

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Recently I had to use some Octave scripts within a C# project I’m currently working on. After searching for a solution I had to implement my own Octave wrapper.

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The basic idea is to start a process and redirect the standard input, output and error streams in order to execute random commands with the Octave interpreter. One common problem is that after successfully running a command, the interpreter blocks the output stream and there is no way to know when Octave finished its job. A solution to this problem is as follows: given the fact that the last line in the execution of the process is always available you can create a random string and make Octave echo this string every time you run another command; when parsing the output, an indication that the previous command is surly executed is when you encounter your echoed string.


When starting the octave process a new random echo string is generated:

private string StartOctave(string PathToOctaveBinaries, bool CreateWindow) {
      this.OctaveEchoString = Guid.NewGuid().ToString();
      OctaveProcess = new Process();
      OctaveProcess.OutputDataReceived +=
           new DataReceivedEventHandler(OctaveProcess_OutputDataReceived);
      OctaveEntryText = ExecuteCommand(null);

When executing a random command the current thread blocks until a ManualResetEvent is triggered:

public string ExecuteCommand(string command) {
    if (OctaveProcess.HasExited)
    if (command != null) {
    //echo the random GUID string
    OctaveProcess.StandardInput.WriteLine("\""+ OctaveEchoString + "\"");
    return SharedBuilder.ToString();

And the asynchronous output data received puts all data in a StringBuilder until it comes across the echoed string.

void OctaveProcess_OutputDataReceived(object sender, DataReceivedEventArgs e) {
           if (e.Data == null) {
               SharedBuilder.Append("Octave has exited with the following error message: \r\n" + OctaveProcess.StandardError.ReadToEnd());
           if (e.Data.Trim() == "ans = " + OctaveEchoString)
               SharedBuilder.Append(e.Data + "\r\n");

Using the code

Just create a new Octave class instance using one of the two constructors and pass on the full path to your octave installation.

After doing so, you can access the Octave command interpreter using the “ExecuteCommand” method. Reading results is done in the form of scalars(GetScalar), vectors(GetVector) and matrices(GetMatrix).

A simple script that calculates the transpose of a matrix is given below:

octave = new Octave(@"D:\Download\Soft\Octave3.6.0_gcc4.6.2\bin", false);
double[][] m = octave.GetMatrix("result");

Hope this helps and if you use any of this work make sure to add a reference: Boros Tiberiu, OctaveSharp - running GNU Octave with C#, CodeProject, 2012


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

Written By
Research Institute For Artificial Intelligence, Ro
Romania Romania
This member has not yet provided a Biography. Assume it's interesting and varied, and probably something to do with programming.

Comments and Discussions

AnswerRe: OctaveSharp for ASP.NET Pin
Tiberiu Boros6-Nov-12 12:00
Tiberiu Boros6-Nov-12 12:00 
QuestionOctaveSharp Pin
CVision4-Sep-12 5:03
CVision4-Sep-12 5:03 
AnswerRe: OctaveSharp Pin
Tiberiu Boros4-Sep-12 9:12
Tiberiu Boros4-Sep-12 9:12 
QuestionGetVector errors Pin
Member 76977543-Apr-12 23:13
Member 76977543-Apr-12 23:13 
AnswerRe: GetVector errors Pin
Tiberiu Boros10-Apr-12 10:51
Tiberiu Boros10-Apr-12 10:51 
QuestionPlot 3D Pin
Member 874500820-Mar-12 2:32
Member 874500820-Mar-12 2:32 
AnswerRe: Plot 3D Pin
Tiberiu Boros23-Mar-12 5:32
Tiberiu Boros23-Mar-12 5:32 
GeneralCool Pin
Leslie Zhai8-Mar-12 0:10
Leslie Zhai8-Mar-12 0:10 
I vote 5
GeneralRe: Cool Pin
Tiberiu Boros8-Mar-12 1:49
Tiberiu Boros8-Mar-12 1:49 

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