Author Archives: Nick Higham

Handbook of Writing for the Mathematical Sciences, Third Edition

The third edition of Handbook of Writing for the Mathematical Sciences was published by SIAM in January 2020. It is SIAM’s fourth best selling book of all time if sales for the first edition (1993) and second edition (1998) are … Continue reading

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Accurately Computing the Softmax Function

The softmax function takes as input an -vector and returns a vector with elements The elements of are all between and and they sum to 1, so can be regarded as a vector of probabilities. Softmax is a key function … Continue reading

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Top Five Posts of 2019

According to the WordPress statistics, this blog received over 39,000 visitors and 65,000 views in 2019. These are the five most-viewed posts published during the year. Who Invented the Matrix Condition Number? Numerical Algorithms for High-Performance Computational Science: Highlights of … Continue reading

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Lists in LaTeX with the enumitem Package

provides the enumerate and itemize environments for numbered and itemized (usually bulleted) lists, respectively. Various package are available that provide more customizable list environments. While preparing the third edition of Handbook of Writing for the Mathematical Sciences I came across … Continue reading

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A Mathematician Looks at the Collins English Dictionary

I have several dictionaries on my shelf, among which is a well-thumbed Collins English Dictionary (third edition, 1991). Earlier this year I acquired the thirteenth edition (2018). At 26.5cm high, 20cm wide, and 6.5cm deep, and weighing approximately 2.5kg, it’s … Continue reading

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Better LaTeX Tables with Booktabs

One of the joys of is that it makes it so easy to typeset tables. I’ve created many tables and I’ve always taken care to fine-tune them, most often by inserting commands of the form \rule{0cm}{8pt} to stop superscripts hitting … Continue reading

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What’s New in MATLAB R2019a and R2019b?

I didn’t have time earlier this year to write about the first MATLAB release of 2019, so in this post I will discuss R2019a and R2019b together. As usual in this series, I concentrate on the features most relevant to … Continue reading

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Happy 80th Birthday Cleve!

Today is the 80th birthday of Cleve Moler. Most readers will know Cleve as the inventor of MATLAB. MATLAB was originally a Fortran program that Cleve wrote to give students easier access to the EISPACK and LINPACK libraries. Cleve and … Continue reading

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The Argonne Tapes

A few weeks ago, I was in contact with Chris Paige, an emeritus Professor of Computer Science at McGill University, Montreal. I mentioned that Sven Hammarling and I are collecting information and memorabilia about the numerical analyst James Hardy Wilkinson … Continue reading

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Numerical Algorithms for High-Performance Computational Science: Highlights of the Meeting

Word cloud from abstracts. The Royal Society discussion meeting Numerical Algorithms for High-Performance Computational Science, which I organized with Jack Dongarra and Laura Grigori, was held in London, April 8-9, 2019. The meeting had 16 invited speakers and 23 contributed … Continue reading

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