Resources for Project Work

Table of Contents

Literature

Roughly in order of preference, these are the search engines recommended for locating scientific articles in Computer Science: DBLP (first link above) has the following useful possibilities:
Author
Works well for author search. It handles partial information very well. However, if you over-specify, you do not get anything. Thus, do not specify a full middle name, for instance, just because you know it, if the author may publish just using the middle initial.
CompleteSearch
Works well for searching on keyword from the title of papers.
It is normally best to get a copy of a properly published version of a paper. If this is not possible, arXiv may have it. And if the paper is very new, arXiv may be the only option. For published papers, if it appears both as a journal and a conference version, go for the journal version. However, publication venues vary greatly in quality from venues of practically no quality (poorly written, uninteresting, incorrect, or manipulated papers) to fantastic quality. The reputation of the venue and familiarity with the authors and/or their affiliations can help, but a lot of experience is required to quality check scientific contributions. Talk to your advisor!

Typesetting

If you want to use LaTeX, here are some useful advice and links. First of all, consider using pdfLaTeX which handles graphics better.
  • Many packages are included in the standard distributions, but otherwise you can download from CTAN.
  • The UK TeX FAQ is a good collection of FAQ.
  • Lars Madsen has an introduction to LaTeX in Danish: Introduktion til LaTeX.
  • A good way to organize bibliographies is to use the BibTeX program which comes with the LaTeX distributions. Many of the search engines provide references in the BibTeX format.
  • For computer presentations, it is advantageous to use a package dedicated to that purpose. One option is to use the beamer class for pdfLaTeX.
  • For strongly math-related typesetting, see AMS-LaTeX and the Short Math Guide contained there.

Graphics

If you use pdfLaTeX, you can use the graphicx package and then include jpeg, png, and pdf files directly. Files in these formats can be generated from most common drawing programs.
  • For data plotting in two or three dimensions, gnuplot is quite effective. You can also use R.
  • For more advanced graphics with LaTeX, there is an entire issue of the PracTeX journal devoted to the topic.
  • For line drawings, some recommend the pdflatex package called pgf hat comes with the beamer package mentioned above. It supposedly has a good user interface via the package tikz and a comprehensive manual. However, you can get quite far just using LaTeX, so this is for more advanced use.

Program Listings

When printing program source code, test output, etc., it is important to make it as readable as possible (by setting keywords and variables in different fonts, for instance). It is also nice to include line numbers for reference. This can be accomplished using, for example,

  • a2ps -Pprinter_name --line-numbers=1 --tabsize=3 -g --header="Printed by NN" file.c
where, in this example, it is a C program. However, a2ps recognizes many programming languages.

Alternatively, one can incorporate the source code into a LaTeX document. The package listings is nice for inclusion of programs into LaTeX. See the example files showing how to handle programs, output listings, and even defining nice output for programming languages not known by the package in advance. The example program is a C program, but the package also recognizes other languages, including java.