On any Unix-flavor machine (Linux, Solaris, etc), just typing matlab should start the Matlab program (if it's installed obviously!). For example I've shown below how I boot up Matlab on kitefin.cs.indiana.edu, a Sun Ultra 10 which sits in my old office in Lindley Hall (IU-CS).
ag@kitefin~/research/matlab_ppt\% matlab &  25439 ag@kitefin~/research/matlab_ppt%
The Matlab interface looks something like this, but for a few things which might look different in different OSs and such.
On a Windows machine, you will need to find out where Matlab is installed. Doing a ``Search for files'' on Matlab*.* should give the information needed.
On the Windows XP boxes in I109, Matlab can be brought up using the Start menu shortcut
Start -> Programs -> Departmentally Sponsored -> Mathematics -> Matlab(Or something like that, I can't seem to remember the exact shortcut!). I would expect it to be installed on the shared R drive.
Note that Matlab's licence is quite expensive (yeah it's NOT free). So don't expect it to be installed on all machines that strike your eye. For example it's not available on the Linux boxes in I105 here at Informatics. It's only available in the Windows machines in the general purpose lab I109, thanks to its association with UITS.
If you wanna bring up Matlab Help, do:
`Help' menu -> `Matlab Help'On any version/flavor you should see something like this: