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A method for using the popular math packages Matlab and Simulink to simulate the behaviour of distributed feedback quantum-well semiconductor laser diodes using the rate equations that describe them is presented. A large-signal model for threshold determination and operating point selection is discussed. Small-signal properties of interest can be investigated using a state-space description of a linearized version of the rate equations, based on their Jacobian. The techniques presented here are suitable for investigation of both analog and digital modulation performance, for example frequency and pulse response. Large signal gain-saturation and frequency modulation effects are not considered.