You can append ' &' (ampersand) at the end of the command for executing the command and immediately return the exit status to MATLAB.
For example, you can use the following command:
[~,~] = system('cd /home/eddien && xfoil < foily.inp > xfoil.out &');pause(2);
And if you wanted to wait for a couple of seconds before returning back to the code you can use 'pause' command.
After that, you can get the control back to the MATLAB command prompt or the script/function.
For receiving the process ID after creating the process, append the above command with 'echo $!'. For example,
[status,cmdout] = system('cd /home/eddien && xfoil < foily.inp > xfoil.out & echo $!');pause(2);
The process ID of the above spawned process will be stored in the variable 'cmdout'.
If you wanted to kill the spawned process (launched using system command), then you need to use the kill command. For example,
>> system(['kill ' cmdout]);