Tech. Writing Texts (summary)

Tech. Writing Texts (summary)

Post by Kirk Pru » Sat, 19 Feb 1994 02:41:10

A week ago I asked for recommendations for texts on
technical/math/CS writing. The responses that I received
are summarized below:


Handbook of Writing for the Mathematical Sciences, N. J. Higham, SIAM Press.

How to Read and Do Proofs, D. Solow, Wiley.

There's a nice little article that appeared in some math society monthly,
but I can't lay my hands on it.  It described math writing from the point
of view that equations are sentences, and need to make sense when transcribed
to English.  Consequences include things like "respect the equal-sign".
It's hard to convey the spirit.  If I run across it, I'll send you a citation.

                Matthew Saltzman
                Clemson University Math Sciences


Mathematical Writing, by Donald Knuth (MAA Notes Number 14) is good
for graduate students, but probably at too high a level for
undergraduates. I would dearly love to have something suitable for


I haven't done an exhaustive study, but I'd recommend the MAA book
_Mathematical Writing_ by Knuth, Larrabee, and Roberts.  It's made
up of transcripts from a course Knuth gave at Stanford--easy reading
and informative.  I especially liked the guest lecture by Ullman in
which he describes how he writes books.

I would also have the students read the article _How to Write Mathematics_
by Halmos.  It's reprinted in a book with the same name by S*rod,
Halmos, et al.

For reference--on reserve at the library, say--I'd suggest Higham's
_Handbook of Writing for the Mathematical Sciences_ (SIAM, 1993) and,
of course, Strunk and White.

Rett Bull
Computer Science Program
Pomona College


    Mathematical Writing
    D. E. Knuth, T.  Larrabee and P. M. Roberts
    Dept. of C. S.
    Stanford university
    Report NO. STAN-CS-88-1193

This text was written in 88 and I'm not shure if it is still in print. Last
year I still could order a copy at the CS library.


You might consider "Handbook of Writing for the Mathematical Sciences"
by Nicholas J. Higham, SIAM press.  It's only $12.00 per copy in
classroom quantities.  

The book is aimed at students who will be writing papers, theses,
and the like. The includes material on usage, mathematical formulas,
tables, TeX and LaTeX, the publishing process, and doing presentations.  

This is *not* a book about writing reference manuals.

If I was faced with the writing requirement for CS students, I'd probably
handle it by requiring them to take a course in writing reference
manuals, since so many of them will end up doing at some point
in their career.  However, if you need a course that will be taught
by CS faculty in which students will write term papers, this book
might well serve your purpose.  


I can highly recommend the small book by Don Knuth available as a tech rpt
from Stanford and also through one of the professional organizations I think,
perhaps the AMS.  It's class notes from a course on technical writing;
the first few lessons are especially useful just by themselves.  
There's also a useful book called Handbook of Writing for the Mathematical
Sciences, published by SIAM Press in Philadelphia.  I don't have the author's
name handy.  Also Ian Parberry's article on how to present papers in
theoretical CS is relevant for giving talks in CS in general.

Prof. Jeff Vitter, Chair                      
Department of Computer Science
Duke University  



1. Tech/Math Writing Text

I'm looking for a text on technical/mathematical/CS writing that
would be appropriate as a supplementary text for an undergraduate
course on algorithms.  (Our college has added a requirement that
all undergraduates must take a writing course in their major.)
Any suggestions would be appreciated. If there is significant
response I will summarize and post.

Thanks in advance for all replies,

Kirk Pruhs

2. error setting up MSN after turn-off (W98se)

3. Parallel algorithms texts - summary

4. Event ID 1265 - Can't Replicate With Child Domain

5. summary of replies to Data Structures and Algorithms text request

6. Opinion on the Canon BJC-4000 Inkjet printer

7. Tech Info & Tech Info Request: ULA delay in +2A/+3

8. Slide Scanners

9. Cache write dirty and write cleans

10. Tech question: +D/MF128

11. FA: QLs, Printers, Tech manuals, etc.

12. I/F 1 tech book..?

13. Tech support sites