## Notes on a Conversation with Donald Knuth

So I had the privilege of seeing Donald Knuth speak at UBC a few days ago. I was excited to see one of the eccentric Computing Science legends in real life.

The talk was in an interesting format. Knuth was in front of a relatively small theater, and simply answered any questions that were presented to him from the crowd. It was thus a spread of different questions and topics presented to him.

I took a few notes during the talk and I summarize the topics and Knuth’s responses here.

Knuth on writing:

• translate to have less jargon
• pays people to find errors in his books
• write to have errors, that is, be precise and falsifiable (e.g. “13% improvement”, where this 13% can be verified)
• have the history of discoveries with references
• write about things that will be important 50 years from now
• –> e.g. methods that are useful for many different applications
• –> e.g. data structures, satisfiability problems

## Here’s how to change the size of a LaTeX equation in WordPress

First of all, here’s how you write an equation in LaTeX. Directly in your wordpress blog editor, under the “Text” tab, simply type in the following…
$latex x^2$

This will give you an equation that looks like this:
$x^2$

As it looks small and ugly, you might ask yourself, “self, how can I make the latex equation larger in my WordPress blog?”.
Continue reading “How to change the size of a LaTeX equation in wordpress”

## How to use the Springer LNCS LaTeX template

Here’s how to use the LaTeX template from Springer for a Computer Science conference publication. The template and relevant files are found at this page: Information for Authors of Computer Science Publications

I remember this being pretty confusing the first time I looked at how to do this. The necessary files are in different zip packages and there’s no minimally working example. So here’s a simple example on how to compile your first $\LaTeX$ document for Springer’s LNCS publications.
Continue reading “How to use the Springer LNCS LaTeX template”

## LaTeX – how to programmatically change the path of your figures

Scenario: You want to programmatically define where your figures are in your latex document without going through and manually editing all your paths. You have a folder called "figs" that contains all your figures, but this folder might move.

# Here’s how to programmatically change the path of where your images are located

Or more specifically programmatically change where the "figs" folder is located

The basic idea: You can define a variable in latex that stores the path to your images and then include this variable when you set your image path.
Continue reading “LaTeX – how to programmatically change the path of your figures”

## How to add a BibTeX entry to LaTeX

This assumes,

2. you are using Texmaker (if you’re not, you probably should be)

It seems to me you must go through a series of arcane steps to be able to add a reference to your BibTeX bibliography and get it to work in your $\LaTeX$ file.

Here’s the steps and their order that have worked for me. I have included my a few comments that hopefully help to give you a sense what is going on.

## LaTeX – Detexify ~ a shout out

[latexpage]
Here’s how to easily find symbols in LaTeX.

Okay the most handiness (is that really a word?) little web app that I’ve come across since starting work in $\LaTeX$ is this little tool found here.
http://detexify.kirelabs.org/classify.html

$\text{detextify}^2$ has seriously saved me hours of my life.

This beautiful app lets you draw any symbol into a box, then it will return the corresponding $\LaTeX$ command. So freakin’ handy! And it works. That obscure symbol you saw in some paper $\zeta$, and you can’t think of the Greek name of the top of your head? Simple! Just draw it in and bam, $\text{detextify}^2$ throws the command back (\zeta in case you are wondering).

I use this all the time when I’m writing anything sort of equations in LaTeX. A definite must know about.

Hope this saves you countless sleepless nights.

## LaTeX – bold vectors and arrow vectors

Lately I’m writing a lot of papers in $\LaTeX$ and every once and a while something comes up that drives me crazy trying to figure out.

Here’s how to easily switch between a bold vector $\boldsymbol{x}$ and an arrow vector $\vec{x}$.

  % Minimal latex example: % Shows how to switch between bold and arrow vectors.   % Specifies the type of document you have. \documentclass{article}   % Used for the boldsymbol. \usepackage{amsmath}   % Comment this out to represent vectors with an arrow on top. % Uncomment this to represent vectors as bold symbols. \renewcommand{\vec}[1]{\boldsymbol{#1}}   % Start of the document. \begin{document}   % Your content. My lovely vector: $\vec{x}$   % End of the document. \end{document}