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International Journal of Man-Machine Studies 9

Editors:B. R. Gaines; D. R. Hill
Dates:1977
Volume:9
Publisher:Academic Press
Standard No:ISSN 0020-7373; TA 167 A1 I5
Papers:40
Links:Table of Contents
  1. IJMMS 1977 Volume 9 Issue 1
  2. IJMMS 1977 Volume 9 Issue 2
  3. IJMMS 1977 Volume 9 Issue 3
  4. IJMMS 1977 Volume 9 Issue 4
  5. IJMMS 1977 Volume 9 Issue 5
  6. IJMMS 1977 Volume 9 Issue 6

IJMMS 1977 Volume 9 Issue 1

The Fuzzy Decade: A Bibliography of Fuzzy Systems and Closely Related Topics BIBA 1-68
  B. R. Gaines; L. J. Kohout
The main part of the paper consists of a bibliography of some 1150 items, each keyword-indexed with some 750 being classified as concerned with fuzzy system theory and its applications. The remaining items are concerned with closely related topics in many-valued logic, linguistics, the philosophy of vagueness, etc. These background references are annotated in an initial section that outlines the relationship of fuzzy system theory to other developments and provide pointers to various possible fruitful interrelationships. Topics covered include: the philosophy and logic of impression and vagueness; other non-standard logics; foundations of set theory; probability theory; fuzzication of mathematical systems; linguistics and psychology; and applications.
A Study of Patients' Attitudes to Computer Interrogation BIBA 69-86
  R. W. Lucas
In the evaluation of techniques for the automatic acquisition of medical history data, the attitudes of patients, the "users", are of the utmost importance. While patients' opinions have been sought in several studies, there has previously been no objective measurements of attitudes in this field.
   In the present paper, the development and evaluation of two scales for the measurement of patients attitudes are described, one being of the traditional "Thurstone" type based on attitude statements, and the other being a Semantic Differential scale. A reliability coefficient of 0.90 was obtained for the "Thurstone" scale, and the results from this and the Semantic Differential were found to correlate well with each other (r = 0.70), supporting the validity of the measures.
   In a study of 75 patients, each was interrogated by computer and then asked to take home a questionnaire containing the attitude scales to complete and return anonymously through the post. Of the 67 patients who returned their questionnaires, 82% had favorable attitudes toward computer interrogation, and 49% had more favorable attitudes toward medical interviews with a computer than toward medical interviews with a doctor. Male patients had more favorable attitudes than female patients; younger patients were more favorable toward the computer than older patients; and manual workers were more favorable toward the computer than non-manual workers.
Role of Mental Representation in Learning a Programming Language BIBA 87-105
  J.-M. Hoc
A theoretical framework has been defined to elucidate the problems raised in the training of analyst-programmers, and a beginning made in validating it in a preliminary experiment. This experiment enabled it to be shown that a programming language is progressively interiorized by a subject in the form of a "Systeme de Representation et de Traitement" (S.R.T.) or "Representation and Processing System", in which the experienced programmer can analyse problems. Prior to this, however, he must have made his analysis in other S.R.T.s that are more or less compatible with the programming language concerned. Nineteen subjects of various level of training were made to construct a COBOL flowchart of a Metro ticket-machine control problem. An analysis of errors was made and the strategies used described with the aid of 22 variables in order to determine the three principal steps involved in learning a programming language.
Scope Marking in Computer Conditionals -- A Psychological Evaluation BIBA 107-118
  M. E. Sime; T. R. G. Green; D. J. Guest
In a previous paper the authors reported that it was easier for non-programmers to learn to use nested conditional constructions than jumping, or branch-to-label, constructions; however, as only single situations were studied, conclusions were necessarily restricted. The present study extends the comparison to the more general case where nesting requires "scope markers" to disambiguate the syntax. The results showed that if the scope markers were simply the begin and end of ALGOL 60 (abbreviated NEST-BE) then the advantage of nesting over jumping was weakened, but if the scope markers carried redundant information about the conditional tested (NEST-INE) performance was excellent, particularly at debugging. It seems necessary to distinguish sequence information in a program, which describes the order in which things are done, from taxon information, which describes the conditions under which a given action is performed. Conventional programming languages obscure the taxon information. The advantage of nesting over jumping, we speculate, is in clarifying the sequence information by redundant re-coding in spatial terms; the added advantage of NEST-INE over NEST-BE is that it clarifies the taxon information. It is because debugging requires taxon information that NEST-INE is so much superior. On this view one would expect that in decision table and production system languages, where the taxon information is explicit but the sequence information is obscured, the reverse phenomena should occur. Because debugging requires sequence information as well as taxon information, a device that clarified the sequence would greatly improve such languages.
Reducing Programming Errors in Nested Conditionals by Prescribing a Writing Procedure BIBA 119-126
  M. E. Sime; A. T. Arblaster; T. R. G. Green
Ways to reduce careless programming errors were investigated. Non-programmers learnt to write nested conditional programs in one of three conditions: an Automatic syntax condition, in which syntactic errors were impossible because programs were made up from whole syntactic constructions rather than from single words; a Procedural condition, in which programs were written word by word as usual, but a well-defined procedure was prescribed to help subjects write nested conditionals correctly; and a Plain condition resembling standard programming tuition, in which subjects were told the structure of the language but were given no guide to help in writing. Significantly more error-free programs were written in the Procedural condition than in the Plain condition, showing that explicit procedures can improve programming success, at least in these conditions. In the Automatic condition the success rate was still higher, showing that the procedure we used could still be improved. These results, and the outcomes of further analyses, bear on recommendations by the "structured programming" school to follow explicit procedures when writing programs, and also on previous work on the design of easily-used programming languages.

IJMMS 1977 Volume 9 Issue 2

What's in a Concept: Structural Foundations for Semantic Networks BIBA 127-152
  Ronald J. Brachman
Semantic networks constitute one of the many attempts to capture human knowledge in an abstraction suitable for processing by computer program. While semantic nets enjoy widespread popularity, they seem never to live up to their author's expectations of expressive power and ease of construction. This paper examines the fundamentals of network notation, in order to understand why the "formalism" has not been the panacea it was once hoped to be. We focus here on "concepts" -- what net-authors think they are, and how network nodes might represent them. The simplistic view of concept nodes as representing extensional sets is examined, and found wanting in several respects.
   In an effort to solve the foundational problems exposed, we emphasize the importance of considering an "epistemological foundation" on which to consistently build representations for complex concepts. A level of representation above that of completely uniform nodes and links, but below the level of conceptual knowledge itself, seems to be the key to using previously learned concepts to interpret and structure new ones. A particular foundation is proposed here, based on the notion of a set of functional roles bound together by a structuring interrelationship. Procedures for using this foundation to automatically build instances and conceptual modifications are presented. In addition, the intentional nature of such a representation and its implications are discussed.
A System for Primitive Natural Language Acquisition BIBAK 153-206
  Larry R. Harris
Natural language acquisition deals with two very difficult problems in artificial intelligence: computer learning and natural language processing. This system focuses on the problems involved in the acquisition of primitive linguistic capability. That is when words are first correlated to concepts and when the ordering of the words of utterance first become important. With these beginnings the techniques developed herein eventually acquire the capability to deal with nested dependent clauses. This work is of interest in the field of computer learning in as much as it provides an example of an adaptive system that, rather than tuning numeric weights, actually varies its primary structural element, namely the grammar that defines its current language. This work is of interest in the field of natural language processing in as much as it requires the development of a parsing algorithm robust enough to deal with grammars and dictionaries that vary with time. The ability to automatically extend the grammar to include new sentence forms is also requisite for language acquisition.
Keywords: Artificial intelligence, Computer learning, Natural language, Language acquisition, Grammatical inference
Machine Understanding of Natural Language BIBA 207-222
  T. R. Addis
The development of machine understanding of natural language is briefly traced from the early years of machine translation to today's question answering and translation systems. This survey of some of the modern techniques and ideas shows them, although superficially different to be fundamentally similar.
Interaction between Stochastic Automata and Random Environment BIBA 223-231
  G. Langholz
Stochastic automata models capable of exhibiting unconditional learning behaviour are proposed and their behaviour analysed when operating in a stationary random environment about which they have no a priori knowledge. The automaton expected expected penalty is used as a performance index to assess its capability to acquire information pertaining to the unknown features of the environment. The optimization of the performance index provides a measure of the learning capacity of the automaton. The interaction between an automaton and a random media is also considered in the context of the two-armed bandit problem. Computer simulation results show that automata structures discussed in this paper compare well with two-armed bandit models.
A New Approach to Traffic Behaviour: III. Steering Behaviour and the Butterfly Catastrophe BIBA 233-254
  Naomichi Furutani
Steering behaviour of a car on both straight and curved roads is studied by use of the butterfly catastrophe. Adopting the same method with regard to model framework and introduction of psychological aspects with Part I, the main psychological state (w-sense) and four kinds of psychological factor which affect the w-sense are defined. The w-sense is interpreted as a dynamic sense of lateral location on the road associated with steering behaviour. The desire of steering operation is explained by a psychological balance between the driving goal and the current driving state. The steering behaviour model is made combining the submodels of two kinds of world (implicit and explicit) and the interfacial field.
   In the case of the straight road, two types of steering are defined according to the property of the driving goal; severe steering and easy steering. A simulation of zigzag behaviour on a straight road is done by use of the obtained model.
   In the case of the curved road, the curved-stable run and the driving programme at the entrance of the curved road are discussed.

IJMMS 1977 Volume 9 Issue 3

Procedural Systemic Grammars BIBA 255-286
  Michael C. McCord
A formalism PSGL for writing natural language grammars has been developed, along with a computer system for interpreting it and parsing sentences. PSGL combines ideas from augmented transition network theory, systemic grammar, and Chomsky's recent trace theory, in a way that allows one to write compact and linguistically apt grammars.
Profile of a University Computer User Community BIBA 287-313
  Gregory Haralambopoulos; George Nagy
The data recorded over a one-year period on the permanently mounted system monitor tape at the University of Nebraska is analyzed with a view to determine prominent computer user characteristics. The users are divided into distinct categories according to their patterns of computer resource utilization.
The Representation of Personal Relationships: An Automated System BIBA 315-335
  David J. Mulhall
This paper outlines the technical details of a psychological instrument called the Personal Relations Index (PRI). The instrument produces a graphical representation of any two-person relationship as seen by one member of the interaction. Several stages are involved.
   (1) During a free discussion the respondent is asked to describe himself and the other person in the context of their relationship. These descriptions include attitudes, feelings or behavioural states which are referred to as elements.
   (2) The elements are fed into a computer which produces a questionnaire unique to the respondent. In answering the questionnaire the respondent imposes order on his impressions by indicating how he is most likely to react to each of the other person's elements and how the other person is most likely to react to his (the respondent's) elements.
   (3) A graphical representation showing the dynamic interaction between the elements and therefore the two people, is constructed by interconnecting each element with its most likely outcome(s).
   (4) This graphical representation is presented to the respondents in a readily comprehensible form and enables them to understand their own problem situation and hence aids them in resolving it.
   (5) Successive graphical representations of later states of affairs are also fed back to the respondents so that the improvements (in what is a complex dynamic situation) are apparent to them.
   The logic of the method, the syntactical structure of the questionnaire and the process of automation are described. Details of the graphs and their properties are given which emphasize the capacity of the PRI to accommodate great variability. Operational definitions and evidence of both validity and reliability are given. The penultimate section of the paper presents three examples of the use of the PRI. The paper concludes with a discussion of the feasibility of implementing the PRI in the clinical setting, details of ongoing work, and the suggestion that automated techniques provide the means of producing idiographic psychological assessments.
An Experiment on the Perception of Intonational Features BIBA 337-347
  David R. Hill; N. A. Reid
An experiment was run in which listeners heard pairs of nonsense words exhibiting the same segmental structure, but differing in the form of pitch variation imposed. In each pair, the first word bore a pitch rise over 100 ms superimposed upon a generally declining pitch frequency, while the second word carried a similar variation, but with the rise occurring later. Listeners made a forced choice response of "SAME" or "DIFFERENT". The null hypothesis, that listeners' ability to discriminate pairs as different would be independent of the mean position of the pitch rises, was rejected with great confidence and, subject to several caveats, the conclusion was drawn that position of pitch rise, under the conditions of the experiment, was perceived categorically, one category being early in the syllable and the other late. There was some evidence for the existence of two further categories. The generalization and extension of the work will provide a continuing challenge.
An Unobtrusive Computer Monitor for Multi-Step Problem Solving BIBA 349-362
  Jack T. Baldwin; Laurent Siklossy
This paper describes a procedural means for designing computer-assisted instructional (CAI) systems called Unobtrusive Problem Solving Monitors (UPSM'S) which
  • (1) monitor students solving multi-step problems and
  • (2) offer useful, pertinent advice to the student based on the prior student
        input history. These systems represent a conceptual advance over earlier types of systems in that they allow students to enter intermediate results of their problem solving activity, yet also allow them to discover and correct any errors in these results without unsolicited prompting from the system. At the same time, they can offer specific advice generated from a student's intermediate results whenever requested. These features allows students to obtain the benefits of problem solving in an unhindered, unguided fashion, yet allow them to request help when it is needed.
       This paper also outlines a prototype UPSM system that has been implemented in the area of plane geometry. This implementation incorporates a problem solver that solves portions of the problems under consideration while generating structured, verbalized descriptions of the solution process which are used as sources of incremental advice for the student. Because the problem solver attempts to extend lines of reasoning started by the student, the advice that is generated allows the geometry UPSM to adapt its responses to a variety of student input histories.
  • A Markov Model Acoustic Phonetic Component for Automatic Speech Recognition BIBA 363-373
      C. C. Tappert
    A Markov-model acoustic-phonetic component is constructed for the synthesis of standard acoustic representations of connected speech. The primary building blocks are phones with Markov models structured so that phone length, spectral power and fundamental frequency are parametrically controlled. The model generates acoustic parameter outputs at 10-ms time steps. The acoustic-phonetic component permits matching between actual acoustic data and internally modeled acoustic data, and can be employed in various ways -- to label speech automatically, as a phone decoder to obtain estimated phone strings, and in speech recognizers which match at the acoustic level.

    IJMMS 1977 Volume 9 Issue 4

    Multiple Objective Decision-Making Using Fuzzy Sets BIBA 375-382
      R. R. Ager
    One of the most useful aspects of fuzzy set theory is its ability to represent multi-objective decision problems involving vague or fuzzy objectives. This paper presents a model for solving multi-objective decision problems when the objectives are of varying degrees of importance. This is done by assigning to each objective a power indicative of its importance and then raising each fuzzy set to its appropriate power. These powers are obtained by getting the eigenvector of the maximum eigenvalue of a matrix of paired comparisons of the objectives.
    On the Nature of Some Logical Paradoxes BIBA 383-398
      V. Pinkava
    The paper makes explicit the nature of some logical paradoxes by representing them in the form of logical nets, or simple finite automata expressed in the structural language as logical nets, both binary and non-classic multivalued ones. In this representation the structure of the problems turning eventually into paradoxes is expressed by the structure of the respective logical nets and the course of reasoning about the problems by the behaviour of these nets. All the nets in question have memory, this standing for the fact that they depend on self-reference. It is shown, however, that this is not the only sufficient and necessary condition for a problem of this class to turn into a paradox.
    Transition Diagram-Based CAI/HELP Systems BIBA 399-413
      Stefan Feyock
    The creation of CAI material is generally a formidable task, since all possible branching paths, corresponding to all possible user inputs both correct and incorrect, must be anticipated and receive an appropriate response. A system which can be given only the set of correct paths through the material and which can automatically generate appropriate responses to user errors and requests for assistance would greatly simplify this task. We have found that if the material to be presented can be represented as a transition diagram, then much of the process of providing error feedback and assistance can be automated. In addition, transition diagrams have been found capable of modeling a wide enough class of concepts to be useful for many applications.
    On Generation of Inductive Hypotheses BIBA 415-438
      Petr Hajek; Tomas Havranek
    A logic of discovery developed as a theoretical background of certain methods of mechanized formation of inductive hypotheses is surveyed. In the first part a logic of induction is developed, based on formal notions of observational and theoretical calculi and inductive inference rules. A logic of suggestion is presented in the second part, and GUHA methods of mechanized formation of hypotheses are formally investigated. Logical, statistical and computational aspects are emphasized.
    Processing Sociological Data by the GUHA Method -- An Example BIBA 439-447
      Tomas Havranek; Milos Chyba; Dan Pokorny
    Applicability of the GUHA method of mechanized hypothesis formation (General Unary Hypothesis Automaton) in data analysis is tested by processing of concrete sociological data. For the sake of comparison some usual statistical methods are applied to the same data sample. The advantages of the joint use of mechanized hypothesis formation systems and statistical programs in data analysis are briefly discussed.
    The Telephone Enquiry Service: A Man-Machine System using Synthetic Speech BIBA 449-464
      I. H. Witten; P. H. C. Madams
    The Telephone Enquiry Service is a computer system which allows interactive information retrieval from an ordinary touch-tone telephone. For input, the caller employs the touch-tone keypad, and the computer replies with a synthetic voice response. The service has been in fairly continuous operation for around one year, using a small time-shared computer in conjunction with an internal 200-line telephone exchange, and has been widely used by people with no special interest in synthetic speech.
       An unusual feature of the system is that the speech is generated by rule from a phonetic representation. A satellite computer, acting as a peripheral to the main machine, performs this task in real time, and controls the parameters of an analogue speech synthesizer. This constitutes an extremely economical and flexible method of speech storage, whose only real disadvantage is the low quality of articulation of the output. A major conclusion of the work is that even low-quality speech is acceptable to casual users, if the service is sufficiently interesting and useful to them.
    Measuring Computer Program Quality and Comprehension BIBAK 465-478
      B. Shneiderman
    Judging the relative quality of computer programs and a programmer's comprehension of a given program has proven to be a difficult task. Ability to debug, modify, hand simulate execution or respond to questions about the program all have their weaknesses as comprehension metrics. This paper offers experimental evidence which supports the use of memorization/recall tasks as a further basis for judging program quality and programmer comprehension. A syntactic/semantic model of programmer behavior is presented to provide a basis for this hypothesis.
    Keywords: Programming, Programming languages, Cognitive psychology, Programmer behavior, Programming experiments, Memorization, Recall, Modification, Commenting, Program design, Structured programming
    Limited Vocabulary Natural Language Dialogue BIBA 479-501
      Michael J. Kelly; Alphonse Chapanis
    Two-person teams of subjects worked at realistic problem-solving tasks by communicating through a teletypewriter system. One third of the teams had to limit their vocabulary to words on lists of 300 words, one-third were required to use words on lists of 500 words, and one third of the teams worked with no vocabulary restrictions. Each team solved a different problem on each of three successive days. Dependent measures were taken on four classes of variables: (1) time to solve the problem, (2) measures of overt behavior, (3) measures of verbal output, and (4) errors made by subjects who used the restricted vocabularies. The main finding of the experiment was that subjects who worked with the restricted vocabularies interacted and solved problems as successfully as their counterparts who worked with no vocabulary restrictions. The results indicate that, at least for the kinds of problems tested here, it is possible to develop vocabularies of limited size that can be used effectively in man-computer communications.

    Book Review

    A Response to Donald Michie BIB 503-505
      J. Weizenbaum

    IJMMS 1977 Volume 9 Issue 5

    Editorial BIB 507
      B. R. Gaines; D. R. Hill
    Behavioral Issues in the Use of Interactive Systems BIBA 509-536
      Lance A. Miller; John C., Jr. Thomas
    This paper identifies behavioral issues related to the use of interactive computers primarily by persons who are not computer professionals, so-called "general users". This is not an exhaustive literature survey but instead provides: (1) a structure for discussing issues of interactive computing, and (2) the author's best estimate of important behavioral problems, with suggestions for solutions. The discussion is limited in this paper to general issues which do not take into account the user's particular task. The two major topics are System Characteristics (performance, facilities and on-line information), and Interface Characteristics (dialogue style, displays and graphics, other input/output media).
    Hendrix's Model for Simultaneous Actions and Continuous Processes: An Introduction and Implementation BIBA 537-581
      John D. Lowrance; Daniel P. Friedman
    This paper presents a self-contained introduction and implementation description to a simulation system for modeling simultaneous actions and continuous processes (Hendrix, 1973). The essence of the system is described by a portion of its abstract:
  • - A new methodology for the construction of world models is presented. The
       central feature of this methodology is a mechanism which makes possible the
       modeling of (1) simultaneous, interactive processes, (2) processes
       characterized by a continuum of gradual change, (3) involuntarily activated
       processes (such as the growing grass) and (4) time as a continuous
       phenomena. and by a recent review, Gaines (1975):
  • - This is a fascinating paper that will be of interest outside the "artificial
       intelligence" (AI) context in which it is written, from those concerned with
       simulating and controlling multi-element systems to those interested in
       operational definitions of concepts such as "causality." Three robot world models are incrementally developed, each introducing a new modeling concept. World models, including a robot world (with sample output), electrical world, and a Turing world are also presented. The interactive operating environment presented permits the user to inspect and alter the run-time structure. A detailed account of the implementation is presented.
  • CAI with a Restricted Vocabulary BIBA 583-592
      Norman F. Salt
    Text compression techniques can be applied to computer assisted instruction (CAI) text to reduce both computer storage requirements and volume of transmission between the computer and student terminals. One of the more efficient text compression algorithms requires a large dictionary containing all the words in the text. Unfortunately, the use of a large dictionary is not feasible with many current CAI systems. This study investigates some implications of authoring CAI text using words from a short dictionary established prior to writing the text. A dictionary of approximately one thousand words was defined. Author subjects wrote two sets of CAI text: one in natural English and one using words from the short dictionary. The natural English text was compressible to about two-thirds of the normal computer storage requirements; the restricted English, to less than one-third. There was no significant difference in the instructional value of the different types of text.
    On the Problem of Computer-Aided Structure Identification: Some Experimental Observations and Resulting Guidelines BIBA 593-628
      George J. Klir; Hugo J. J. Uyttenhove
    This paper summarizes an approach to the problem of structure identification which was previously suggested by the authors and elaborated into a fully computerized procedure (Klir, 1976; Klir & Uyttenhove, 1976a, b). A structure system is viewed as a set of coupled relations (probabilistic, in the general case) which are projections of an overall relation. The term "structure identification" refers to the problem of finding, at each level of structure refinement, structure systems which conform best to the given relation. Results of some new simulation experiments regarding the structure identification procedure are described and discussed in the paper. These results are supposed to help the user (modeller) to interpret the various parameters associated with the procedure properly. The use of the experimental results is illustrated by examples taken from the areas of computer performance evaluation and social research.

    Book Reviews

    "Semantics: Theories of Meaning in Generative Grammar," by Janet Dean Fodor BIB 629-634
      Yorick Wilks
    "The Language of Thought," by J. A. Fodor BIB 629-634
      Pat Hayes

    IJMMS 1977 Volume 9 Issue 6

    An Interactive Aid for Musicians BIBA 635-651
      W. H. Tucker; R. H. T. Bates; Susan D. Frykberg; R. J. Howarth; W. K. Kennedy; M. R. Lamb; R. G. Vaughan
    An interactive aid for musicians is described, together with is applications to music teaching, music composition, real-time performance and music typesetting. The system permits the input of sounded music and its subsequent playback using an electronic organ. Facilities for transcription, display and editing are provided using a graphical display unit. A digital synthesizer is incorporated for sophisticated sound generation. Problems encountered with transcription, display and editing of sounded music are identified. A performance-oriented music notation is described, and compared with conventional music notation. The requirements of both notations are assessed with respect to the transcription, display and editing tasks. The value of an interactive rather than fully automatic system is emphasized. Software and data-base organization of a transcription system permitting the display and editing of both notations is described. Results are presented of practical uses of the system.
    Conversational Text Input for Modifying Graphics Facial Images BIBA 653-667
      Michael L. Rhodes; Allen Klinger
    This paper reports on a text interpretation program for a minicomputer with 8K memory to facilitate modifying line drawings of faces. An interactive language is described that allows conversational dialogues between the user and image modification routines. We present an implementation that retains context during a dialogue and makes possible relational adjustments of facial features. Imprecise feature judgements issued by the user are used to modify images. Ambiguities encountered by the program are resolved by interrogating short term memory buffers and hash table data. Language and hardware features are combined by data structures that interface display processor instructions and requests generated by the interpreted text. Updating these structures is discussed in terms of relationships between structure elements.
    Medical Computing and the User BIBA 669-686
      John Fox
    It is argued that human-factors research could contribute to the successful development of medical computer technology, but that an initiative will be required from the human-factors professions. The paper attempts to contribute to such an initiative by surveying the current state of medical computing and by providing an overview of the broad classes of problems that can be created for the user when the new techniques are introduced.
    Analyses of Patient-Oriented, Equipment-Bound Activities in the Hospital BIBA 687-696
      U. Gessner; R. Welter; H. Kuenzli; B. Horisberger; E. Ulich
    A method of collecting information on the states of complex man-machine systems, such as the patient-nurse-machine systems in hospitals, is presented. The technique, termed photogrammetric work sampling (PWS), involves collection and analysis of many photographic records of a work area, taken consecutively and, in the simplest case, at equal time intervals. Analysis of such series of pictures allows for definition of activities, interactions, patterns of activities and their spatial and temporal distributions. Clearly, quantitative analyses of frequencies of states of the systems are equally well done. Technical details of the PWS method, its accuracy, and statistical tools are discussed, together with a few examples of application. In particular, it is shown how many man-hours nurses of an intensive care ward put in at the bedside as a function of the amount of apparatus at the bedside. The PWS method is economical. It may be used to study personnel deployment, activities, utilization of spatial areas, equipment etc. Results should be useful for planning, studies in the areas of industrial psychology and human engineering, teaching, management and organization.
    User Oriented Data Base Query with the ROBOT Natural Language Query System BIBA 697-713
      L. R. Harris
    Now that large data bases of valuable information are in existence, we must face the problem of putting this information in the hands of the end user. This is not a task to be taken lightly, since it is a very difficult problem due to the mismatch between the user's conceptualization of the data and its actual structure. By analyzing this problem in some detail we argue that this mismatch must be consciously resolved in a single process, and that the use of natural language instead of an artificial query language is the only means by which this can be done.
       The technical feasibility of this approach is demonstrated by the ROBOT natural language query processor. Actual dialogs and end user experiences are used to show the resulting increase in end user orientation. The impact of natural language processing on the various DBMS architectures is also discussed.
    Exploring, Modelling and Controlling Discrete Sequential Environments BIBA 715-735
      Ian H. Witten
    Consider the problem of learning to control a system whose structure is unknown, and inaccessible except through input-output experiments. The process of interfacing with it can be broken down into three (overlapping) phases. Firstly, input sequences must be synthesized with force the system to exhibit interesting behaviour -- the exploration problem. Secondly, the input-output behaviour of the system must be modelled. Finally, one must learn how to control the system by generating sequences of inputs which drive it into desirable states. The purpose of each of the three phases is to facilitate control of the system -- prudent exploration accelerates modelling, successful modelling assists control.
       This paper discusses these three components of the learning control problem, and derives results and techniques that bear on each of them. It shows how problem-solving behaviour can be treated in a system-theoretic way, highlighting the epistemological problems faced by automata when trying to do the sort of tasks which people accomplish every day. The basic methodology of exploration/modelling/control is advocated as a practical way to break up the learning control problem, and interesting theoretical results are presented for each of the three components.
    Towards a Theory of the Cognitive Processes in Computer Programming BIBA 737-751
      Ruven Brooks
    While only in the past ten years have large numbers of people been engaged in computer programming, a small body of studies on this activity have already been accumulated. These studies are, however, largely atheoretical. The work described here as its goal the creation of an information processing theory sufficient to describe the findings of these studies. The theory postulates understanding, method-finding, and coding processes in writing programs, and presents an explicit model for the coding process.

    Book Review

    "Speech Recognition," edited by D. Raj Reddy BIB 753-756
      D. Levinson