A Standard for Scientific Publishing
In 1978, at Stanford University, Professor Donald E. Knuth developed the TeX typesetting/formatting system. Since that time, TeX has become the worldwide standard for publishing scientific documents, and the DVI format (the end result of a document created using TeX) has become a standard document format throughout the world.
For example, thousands of scientific papers and articles, from many different countries, are posted on the Internet for viewing by anyone with an Internet account. A large majority of these papers are posted as DVI files. Though the DVI format tends to be most popular among the scientific and mathematics community, there are also other types of documents posted in this format.
What is TeX?
TeX provides the average computer user with a means of achieving high-quality typeset documents, with the precision and beauty of those produced by traditional photo-typesetters.
Today, TeX still represents the state-of-the-art in computer typesetting.
It is particularly valuable where the document, article, or book to be
produced contains a lot of mathematics, and where the user is concerned
about typographic quality. TeX software offers both writers and publishers
the opportunity to produce technical text in an attractive form, with the
speed and efficiency of a computer system.
The "TeX system" involves the process of creating a text input file containing TeX formatting commands. Popular TeX macros, like LaTeX or AMS-TeX, are often used to facilitate more complex formatting. The input file is then read by the TeX program which "typesets" it according to a set of formatting specifications that exist in a pre-made format file. TeX interprets all of the special formatting commands in the input file, and produces a DVI file as the final result of the typesetting process. You can then preview the DVI file and print it with your printer, or send it to your publisher for printing at a later time.