# How to initialize a variable only once in an embedded matlab function?

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Nikhil on 5 Apr 2013
Commented: MAYANK JHA on 29 Mar 2015
I'm working on a smart metering system simulation.I have a billing algorithm matlab function inserted in my simulation.The inputs are:
1.No of units of energy consumed
2.Clock
3.Price signal from utility
Outputs are:
1.Remaining balance
2.zero balance indicator switch
I'm trying to use the following algorithm Store the current units consumed in a variable which will become prev units in the next clock cycle.Then i perform current balance-prev balance in next cycle. Multiply the answer with the current price and add it to a variable y0 which will be subtracted from initial balance to get the current balance.
I want prev_bal=0 and y0=0 in the start.But if i write the 2 statements at the start of the code both variables become 0 at the start of every sampling.As a result the algorithm fails.Please guide me how to set the two variables 0 only for the first sampling or suggest an alternate algorithm.
Thanks Nikhil
MAYANK JHA on 29 Mar 2015
hi Nikhil,
did you find a better solution??... try the "persistent" functionality in Matlab function block to initialize. refer here:http://fr.mathworks.com/help/simulink/ug/defining-and-initializing-persistent-variables.html
use isempty command to check and therefore assign the intial value at first instant.

Ryan G on 5 Apr 2013
You can try the exist function. This will check to see if they exist. If they do, then you can skip that line of code.
##### 2 CommentsShow 1 older commentHide 1 older comment
Ryan G on 8 Apr 2013
Will you be generating code for this function? If so, you will need to find another method of doing this.
If not, I think you need to pre-define a before you call exist.
a=0;
a= exist('x1','var');
When you call a function extrinsically it uses the mxarray datatype from MATLAB. MATLAB Function Blocks generate code and it can be a bit confusing as to where you need to pre-define variables if you've never done it before.
The line above essentially declares 'a' as a double type so when you call the exist function it will maintain that datatype.

harjot on 29 Oct 2013
Hi Nikhil .. I am facing similar issue . Are you able to initialize the variable inside a function block for just once. I tried the exist function but it seems it dioesn't work inside a function block

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