LaTeX (“lay”-”tech”) is a system for efficiently producing complex, beautiful documents built on the TeX language created by Donald Knuth. LaTeX has a steep learning curve and can seem quite quirky and obscure, but nearly everyone who invests the effort in learning to use it eventually concludes that it is a far better way of producing documents (especially ones that include any mathematics) than any of the alternatives. LaTeX is a universal programming language, so in addition to typesetting documents can perform any computation.
To make it easier to get started using LaTeX, we will provide a .tex template for each problem set. You can do the problem set by filling in your answers in the template. You are not required to typeset your assignments in this class, and we will accept readable handwritten submissions. But, it is highly recommended, especially for those of you will expect to be producing documents that involve math beyond just this class, to learn to use LaTeX.
To use LaTeX, you need to first install a LaTeX distribution. We recommend using MiKTeX.
LaTeX provides a command line interface. There are also several open source IDEs available for LaTeX:
- TeXnic Center — probably the best and easiest to use IDE for Windows
- TeXShop — IDE for Mac OS X
- LaTeX on Ubuntu
Probably the easiest way to learn most of what you need for this class is to look at the provided template. Most of the things you will want to typeset in your answers appear in the questions already. There are many LaTeX tutorials and help guides on the web. A longer introduction is here.
If you encounter any problems, or find any useful resources, please post them as comments here.