In addition to an array of mathematical topics, we will learn to use a few of the most important technologies used in mathematical research and practice.

Sage and python

The most important technology in this class is Sage, a computer algebra system and programming language. While you are welcome to use any language you prefer, I recommend Sage because it is free to use online. When getting started, check out the guided tour or the introductory video series. There is also a nice web site for the nuts and bolts of Python at learnpython. You can start using Sage very quickly by logging into using your google mail account.


LaTeX and its TeX ancestor has been the primary tool for the dissemination of mathematics for 35 years, even though it has changed very little in that time. This long reign will likely come to a slow but sure end, as LaTeX is finally being replaced by more portable and web-aware technologies. Still, it is important for us all to master the LaTeX system, since the language it provides for expressing mathematics will certainly be the standard for many years to come.

A couple of references that I find very useful: The (not so) short introduction to LaTeX, the NASA guide to LaTeX commands, and The comprehensive LaTeX symbol list.


Beamer is a LaTeX documentclass designed especially for creating fancy powerpoint-style presentations. The output is a pdf file that you can click through page-by-page while you speak. In the code, you simply enclose each slide within \begin{frame}{My Title} and \end{frame}. Inside, simply use the LaTeX commands that you are used to. The ultimate Beamer reference is the full user guide, but this may contain too much information… you could also have a look at this short intro (and its source).

And more!

  • Blog-reading with MathBlogging
  • Typesetting on the web with MathJax
  • Blogging with WordPress
  • … and even more?