Reading .mat files

There are more .MAT file readers than well working numerical libraries.
Scipy's io library seemsto be maintained  - http://www.scipy.org/Cookbook/Reading_mat_files
A neuroscience package that is supposed to be helpful in studying adata in many formats - http://mien.sourceforge.net/docs/matlab.html
CVXOPT, another numerical python project has its own parser - http://abel.ee.ucla.edu/cvxopt/examples/extra-utilities/matfile.py/view
ANSI C MAT-file reader claims to deal with version <= v7.3 - http://sourceforge.net/projects/matio/

Finally, the official documentation of the MAT file is here
http://www.mathworks.com/access/helpdesk/help/pdf_doc/matlab/matfile_format.pdf

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