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If you are a participant in New Mexico Tech's Student Research Symposium, this document will help you build your Extended Abstract using the LaTeX document preparation system. Refer to the SRS web site for general information. If you would prefer to use MS-Word, there are templates for that system on the site.
LaTeX (usually pronounced “lah-tech” or “lay-tech”) was designed by Leslie Lamport, a student of Dr. Donald Knuth, a noted computer scientist and mathematician, and based on Knuth's TeX system.
LaTeX makes it easy to produce publications with attractive, readable mathematical content. LaTeX also streamlines the process of accumulating and citing bibliographic references. You can use EndNote or Google Scholar to find suitable references.
The end product of your work will be a PDF file. You will need access to the pdflatex application, which is available for free for all current platforms.
If you are learning LaTeX, here are some useful resources.
The Wikipedia page for LaTeX has links to free software and many tutorials and reference works. In particular, we recommend the TeX Live distribution (see under “Versions” on the Wikipedia page); it's free, easy to install and use, and runs on Windows, Macs, and Linux systems. It includes TeXWorks, an integrated development tool for LaTeX.
The Writing Center in Fitch 13 has a copy of Helmut Kopka's Guide to LaTeX (Addison-Wesley, 2004, ISBN 0-321-17385-6). This book is a complete reference to LaTeX; if you are going to do much work in LaTeX, we recommend that you get your own copy.
If you prefer to learn from examples, the Tech Computer Center (TCC) occasionally runs a LaTeX “boot camp” with six one-hour sessions. This course is intended for those writing a thesis or dissertation, but it is also a general introduction to LaTeX. The online notes show the input and output files for each session, and contain numerous examples of special characters, math, tables, figures, and a bibliography.