at: http://people.math.carleton.ca/~rhfischl

This site was last revised on 2023.07.12

You can contact me at roger---AT---herz-fischler.ca

A list of my publications, copies of some of my articles etc.

Genealogical Research


Didactic Mathematical Material


OCTAVE is the open-source equivalent of MATLAB and was developed at the University of Wisconsin starting the late 1980s (OCTAVE was the name of a chemical engineering professor, OCTAVE Levenspiel; nothing to do with music). They are constructed in different ways, but the basic OCTAVE commands are the same as those of MATLAB and OCTAVE will run programs written for MATLAB. In my opinion OCTAVE is a better language for students to learn because of the programming structure; whereas MATLAB ends loops, etc. with the same command "end", OCTAVE uses "for ... endfor", etc.

The following manual is a sixty page introduction, especially written for Student Linux, to using OCTAVE for solving linear and polynomial equations, statistics, data analysis, an introduction to programming, graphing, "tossing coins on a computer" (simulation), etc. A special feature (section 01) is "A sample OCTAVE session" which allows the student to rapidly learning the essential features (diaries, variable ...) of using OCTAVE. Suggested excercises are included in each section and OCTAVE sessions and programs are commented.
This booklet may be freely distributed for educational purposes.

An Introduction to Octave for High School and University Students

An Octave program and a mathematical "trick"

  • "Pick a number, any number"   A mathematical "trick" to impress your class or audience. To see why it works see sections 06A and 15A of An Introduction to Octave for High School and University Students above.

  • Octave code for "pick a number''

    A Guide to Matlab: fifth edition

    I wrote this manual for students in modelling, linear algebra, probability etc. Various editions appeared between 1994 and 2004. I am putting it on the web in the hope that it will prove useful to others. It may be freely distributed for educational purposes.

    This manual takes the approach, "If you want to do this, these are the commands". All commands are illustrated by examples and programs especially written for this text.

    Table of Contents

    Text (222 pages in PDF format)

    How To Guides for Linux

    Detailed guides for some Linux software: managing files, text editors, PDF viewing etc.

    Do It Yourself Tex

    A set of forms, macro files, examples etc. for typesetting in pure XeTeX.

    Access to the directory

    Shell files which may prove helpful in connection with Do It Yourself Tex.


    With Graphviz one describes nodes and the relationship---if there are any---between them (via "edges") and the software does the rest.

    • Graphviz Organization. The site has a gallery and documentation.

    • The graphviz software is made up of several commands which can be used to generate graphs. For hierarchical graphs, where there are specified directions between nodes, the "dot" command is probably what one should start with. This is what I used to draw my own genealogical graphs.

    • Another use that I make of graphviz is to make a diagram of the characters in a book or film. Here is the diagram and the code for the film Atanarjuat /The Fast Runner which is based on an Inuit legend. It is considered by some critics to be the greatest Canadian film of all time.

    • A graph showing the various rulers of England from Henry VIII to George I and the code.

    • For other situations, both for directed and undirected graphs, there are other commands, in particular the aptly named "neato". The command "circo" can also prove useful. There are also commands for graphing huge systems. Here are some examples using dot, neato and circo.

    • I first learned about Graphviz from the Mathematical Genealogy Project.


      My view is that research is research, no matter the field. My Genealogical Research took as long to complete as my other books. It was just as interesting and as difficult.
      Note the binary system used to clearly identify each ancestor.

    You can contact me at rhfischl--AT--math.carleton.ca