Managing a bibliographic database

All researchers need to maintain a database of papers they have read, cited, or simply noted for later reference. For those of us using LaTeX, the database is in the BibTeX format and is stored as a simple text file (a bib file) that can be edited usin…

Finding LaTeX symbols

All LaTeX users will sometimes need a symbol for which they don’t know the command. If you use WinEdt, there is a neat drop-down menu of some common symbols that can be helpful, but it is necessarily limited. What do you do when you want the male…

Mathematical genealogy

Having a PhD student is like having a child. I have had many such “children” graduate, and have another few “on the way”. (See here for my offspring.)
Going in the other direction, here is my family tree (or one branch of it), c…

Searching the research literature

Most students seem to go to Google first. This is not a good strategy. Google Scholar is much better as it filters out all the junk. Scopus is another engine that aims to do a similar thing. It is better organized but not so complete. ISI WOK is also n…

Clive Granger (1934-2009)

Sir Clive Granger has died at the age of 74. There are some nice obituaries in the New York Times and the Daily Telegraph. Also, his Wikipedia page has some good information. I met Clive on several occasions and he was “a scholar and a gentleman&…

Akram’s story

Muhammad Akram was my PhD student a few years ago, and has remained a good friend since he moved on. Here is an interview he recently gave about moving to Australia. Thanks, Akram, for the kind words about me!

Accessing journal articles online

When searching for research articles online, I often find that the article is unavailable unless I go through the Monash library website, especially when working from home. Here are two solutions to the problem
Within Google scholar, go to “Scho…

Statistician: the dream job

So what is the ultimate job? According to Hal Varian, chief economist at Google, it is being a statistician (see this interview)
Here he is on YouTube with a longer comment:
Statistics – Dream Job of the next decade
From a keynote presentation to the…

Time series packages on R

There is now an official CRAN Task View for Time Series. This will replace my earlier list of time series packages for R, and provide a more visible and useful entry point for people wanting to use R for time series analysis. If I have missed anything …

LaTeX tips

While reading students’ theses and papers recently, I came across various examples of poor latex-ing that I thought would be useful to catalogue.
Don’t set both width and height when using \includegraphics. It distorts the figure. Instead,…

Tracking changes in LaTeX files

When I write a paper, it usually goes through many versions before being submitted to a journal. I keep track of the different versions by renaming the file when I’m about to make major changes, or when I receive a new version from a coauthor. Th…

Tracking changes in text files

A common issue that arises with text files (e.g., R code) is to identify changes that have been made between versions. I usually number my R files as file1.R, file2.R, etc. (with “file” replaced by something more meaningful),with the number…

Supervision award

Last night I received the Vice-Chancellor’s postgraduate supervision award at a function at Government House. I am deeply honoured that my students thought to nominate me for the award. I think I was as surprised as anyone to win, and some people…

LaTeX books

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Time management

I am frequently asked how I manage my time, and how I manage to get so much done. I don’t know that my approach is right for everyone, but in case it helps here are some comments on how I work.
One of the main traps that people fall into is to do…

LaTeX workshop

I gave a one-day LaTeX workshop today.
Here is the blurb:
LaTeX is an extremely powerful markup language for creating structured documents. It is particularly well-suited for documents containing mathematics, but can be used for any document. Those wh…