Introducing the team – Matt

IMG_6262Computer systems that write in English have come a long way in the last 20 years. Now the most advanced computer systems can do things like write summaries of a hospital patient’s progress for the attention of the nurse coming on duty. In this example, until computers took up the burden of writing, the nurses had to spend time writing that they could have spent nursing: soon they will be able to spend all their time on the nursing. When computers write in human languages like English for the attention of people, we would like them to write in a way that is clear, concise, and understandable. The computer scientists who build the programs that do the writing have some say on how the writing is done: however we still do not know how to find out whether people do find the writing clear and intelligible. In my work on sentence processing I use an eye tracking machine to show how people’s eyes move through sentences as they read them. Methods like this are used to find out how sentence processing works, and these methods can tell us if readers find a sentence easy or difficult to read. I hope to adapt eye tracking methods so that they can tell us which of several ways to write a sentence for the best effect when it comes to writing sentences about plans.

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