Latex is a typesetting program that was created by computer scientist and mathematician Donald Knuth in 1983. Donald Knuth has many achievements in computer science, including creating the methodology of ‘literate programming’ which encourages programmers to think of their code as a work of literature, not just a program to be run on a machine. The creation of Tex influenced and was influenced by literate programming.
Latex is best known for typesetting mathematical equations but also offers precise control over the typesetting of the entire document. Latex main competitors are “What You See is What You Get” (WYSIWYG) editors such as Microsoft Word and Adobe InDesign. In contrast to WYSIWYG editors, Latex allows you typeset equations quickly using plain text. Latex is used widely in academia in fields including math, computer science, physics, chemistry, linguistics, political science, and music. Latex has been integrated into many other systems including WordPress and Gmail, usually to facilitate math typesetting.
People are often unsure how to pronounce Latex. The name is a shortening of Lamport Tex and can be pronounced as LAY-tekh or LAH-tekh.