# Doing My Math Homework…

Well, it was bound to happen some day… Recently, a new quarter began, and with it new classes. One of said classes is a boolean algebra class, which means lots of fancy math runes to be drawn on pieces of dead trees. One problem though; homework in this class needs to be submitted as a .pdf online. Crap.

I’ve written about this sort of thing before, however, I also remember that being a gigantic hassle. Not to mention the fact that boolean algebra involves drawing logic gates, which is outside the scope of that. I decided it was high time I get onboard the LaTex train.

## One Problem…

What problem? Learning LaTeX sounds like a *huge hassle*. I have enough problems without spending God knows how long learning a new markup language just to submit what would take 20 minutes to write on a piece of paper. In short: I don’t got *time* for that! Luckily for us, we have tools for this sort of thing.

Last month I wrote about giving Emacs a shot. So far, things have been going well. In fact, one tool that Emacs is known for, org-mode, is actually suited particularly well for this problem. I’ll spare you the basics, and just link to the excellent David O'Toole Org tutorial. If you are unfamiliar with org-mode, I suggest you go give it a read before continuing here.

…back? Good. Among the many things that org-mode is good for, it can be used to produce different kinds of output. Among them are html and our good friend LaTeX.

## Document Structure

Let me assign some homework to myself, and we’ll work through it!

```
Show that AB + B'C + AC = AB + B'C without
directly applying the Consensus Theorem
```

As you can imagine, AB + B’C + AC = AB + B’C because some fancy Consensus Theorem says so. Our task is to *do stuff* until the left-hand-side turns into the right-hand-side. And to do it *in LaTeX*!

First, we need to set up our document structure. Create a new file called homework.org, and create a heading:

`* Show using boolean algebra:`

This will create a new heading. Now, we need to do some boilerplate first. Add the following to the top of your file:

`#+OPTIONS: toc:nil`

This will prevent org-mode from creating a table of contents for your homework. I think a table of contents is silly for something with only a few pages, but it sure looks neat! Next, our equations will be automatically numbered, but we want them numbered by section. Add the following below the options line:

`\numberwithin{equation}{section}`

Now, let’s do some LaTeX. org-mode allows us to do inline LaTeX, and it will use it in the final document. Let’s add an equation block:

```
* Show using boolean algebra:
\begin{equation}
AB + \overline{B}C + AC = AB + \overline{B}C
\end{equation}
```

If you save, then press: `C-c C-e`

, then `l o`

, your default .pdf reader should launch with a fancy new page that looks something like this:

Let’s do some more math! You can write comments inside of your heading, and they will be part of that section:

```
Apply identity law and complement law:
\begin{equation}
AB + \overline{B}C + AC(B + \overline{B})
\end{equation}
Apply distributive law:
\begin{equation}
AB + \overline{B}C + ACB + AC\overline{B}
\end{equation}
```

Re-export your new document and you should see something like this:

You may have noticed that we are basically done. Let’s write our answer down along with a fancy box so the professor knows it’s the answer:

```
\begin{equation}
\boxed{AB + \overline{B}C}
\end{equation}
```

And we’re done! If you export your document you should see:

## I thought you didn’t want to learn LaTex…

I know, there’s a whole lot of LaTeX in there. But it could be worse, let’s take a look at the source file that org-mode creates:

```
% Created 2015-01-26 Mon 18:26
\documentclass[11pt]{article}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage{fixltx2e}
\usepackage{graphicx}
\usepackage{longtable}
\usepackage{float}
\usepackage{wrapfig}
\usepackage{rotating}
\usepackage[normalem]{ulem}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\usepackage{textcomp}
\usepackage{marvosym}
\usepackage{wasysym}
\usepackage{amssymb}
\usepackage{hyperref}
\tolerance=1000
\author{Chris Tetreault}
\date{\today}
\title{homework}
\hypersetup{
pdfkeywords={},
pdfsubject={},
pdfcreator={Emacs 24.3.1 (Org mode 8.2.10)}}
\begin{document}
\maketitle
\numberwithin{equation}{section}
\section{Show using boolean algebra:}
\label{sec-1}
\begin{equation}
AB + \overline{B}C + AC = AB + \overline{B}C
\end{equation}
Apply identity law and complement law:
\begin{equation}
AB + \overline{B}C + AC(B + \overline{B})
\end{equation}
Apply distributive law:
\begin{equation}
AB + \overline{B}C + ACB + AC\overline{B}
\end{equation}
\begin{equation}
AB(1 + C) + \overline{B}C(1 + A)
\end{equation}
LHS now equals RHS, yay!
\begin{equation}
\boxed{AB + \overline{B}C}
\end{equation}
% Emacs 24.3.1 (Org mode 8.2.10)
\end{document}
```

Yeah… Doesn’t seem so bad now. Thanks to org-mode, we can use just enough LaTeX to do what we need to do, and not have to worry about all that boilerplate!