MATLAB provides a parallel processing toolbox that can help speed up algorithms that may be parallelized. However, if you are interested in getting a little more out of your machine, you can run MATLAB (on GNU/Linux) with a high priority. This can be done by starting MATLAB with a nice value of -20.

sudo nice -n -20 sudo -u bharath /usr/local/MATLAB/R2012b/bin/matlab -nodesktop -nosplash

One may modify the /etc/security/limits.conf file to allow users without sudo privileges to set nice values of less than 0. nice values range from -20(highest) to 19(lowest). The default nice value is 0 (normal priority).

Here is my question about this on unix.SE. Control Groups might be something else that one may want to look at.