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International Journal of Man-Machine Studies 14

Editors:B. R. Gaines; D. R. Hill
Dates:1981
Volume:14
Publisher:Academic Press
Standard No:ISSN 0020-7373; TA 167 A1 I5
Papers:36
Links:Table of Contents
  1. IJMMS 1981 Volume 14 Issue 1
  2. IJMMS 1981 Volume 14 Issue 2
  3. IJMMS 1981 Volume 14 Issue 3
  4. IJMMS 1981 Volume 14 Issue 4

IJMMS 1981 Volume 14 Issue 1

Editorial BIB 1
  B. R. Gaines; D. R. Hill
Recollections of Chris Evans BIB 3-4
  E. L. Albasiny; D. W. Davies
Recollections of Chris Evans BIB 5-7
  E. A. Newman
Recollections of Chris Evans BIB 9
  Brian Shackel
Recollections of Chris Evans BIB 11
  Cliff McKnight
An Approach to the Automatic Recognition of Speech BIBA 13-27
  B. E. Pay; C. R. Evans
This paper describes some techniques employed at the National Physical Laboratory in developing a practical system capable of recognizing human speech. The system, which is currently being evaluated in an extended series of trials, is capable of performing two main tasks: (1) recognizing key words embedded in continuous speech and (2) segmenting and recognizing continuous speech such as strings of numerals.
MAVIS -- A Microprocessor Driven Audio/Visual Information System for the Handicapped BIBA 29-37
  Julia Howlett; C. R. Evans; N. Bevan; T. J. Folkard; R. F. Penn
MAVIS uses a microprocessor to extend as widely as possible the activities that a handicapped person can carry out. Users can read, write, modify and store information, and interact creatively with their environment. It is designed for use at home, in education and as a tool to enable a handicapped person to carry out a job. A Mark II version has been constructed which is housed in a briefcase and connects to a standard television receiver. Other attachments can be added as required by the handicap of the owner and the purpose of use.
MICKIE -- A Microcomputer for Medical Interviewing BIBA 39-47
  Nigel Bevan; Peter Pobgee; Shirley Somerville
The National Physical Laboratory has developed a microprocessor system for interviewing patients to obtain their medical histories. The doctor specifies the interview in the form of a numbered flowchart. When presented to the patient this emulates a friendly doctor asking questions requiring simple YES or NO answers. The system is easy to use, and collects accurate information.
Computer Interrogation in Medical Practice BIBA 49-57
  W. I. Card; R. W. Lucas
This paper describes the way in which originally Chris Evans (C.R.E.) worked with one of us (W.I.C.) to examine the possibility of using computer interrogation in this country; the position which the technique has reached today; and the possible future we envisage for it.
   Computer interrogation has to be distinguished from history taking by the doctor since the computer is denied nearly all the non-verbal information available from the patient, and since the questions available to the computer must be pre-defined and relatively small in number. The development of this technique has required study of the patient-computer interface, while its performance has been assessed by measurement of its accuracy, its acceptability to the patient and its cost. The power of the computer is only exploited when, within a limited field of disease, data are collected by questioning the patient which make diagnostic inference possible and hence the identification of the most likely disease. Computer interrogation is not yet fully exploited either technically by, for example, the presentation of questions in audio mode, or mathematically, in the identification of the most powerful sets of questions to be asked. The extension of the technique to questioning in, for example, Urdu or Punjabi is largely unexplored. We can envisage a therapeutic role for the computer whereby the patient, perhaps an alcoholic, gains valuable self-knowledge from the interview. The computer is not a rival to the doctor but a partner, and our duty is to develop a partnership which uses the great qualities of each to the full.
Is There an Optimum Speed for Presenting Text on a VDU? BIBA 59-76
  Nigel Bevan
When a computer generates text for a Visual Display Unit, it is usually presented at the fastest speed available. The experiments described in this paper investigate the effect of different presentation speeds on performance in a learning task. It was found that performance deteriorated at speeds similar to, or faster than reading speed. If understanding and retention of textual material is important, the optimum presentation speed is in the range 10-15 characters per second.
Towards a Computer Interview Acceptable to the Naive User BIBA 77-90
  V. Spiliotopoulos; B. Shackel
This paper reports an analysis and three experiments in the field of man-computer interviewing.
   To explore the importance of the linguistic format of the questions in a computer interview, four history-taking interviewing programs were analysed. These programs had already been used successfully in a computer system to carry out friendly and natural interviews. In this analysis the major variations in phraseology were found to be represented by two variables, namely Encouragement and Chattiness.
   Three experiments are then described aiming to test the usefulness of these two variables in a man-computer interviewing situation and to compare this with the man-man interviewing situation.
   The conclusions from these experiments are: (a) during a computer interview context-free Encouragement and Chattiness, used randomly and to a moderate extent, seem to provide an optimum format for acceptability, but (b) in human interviews random Encouragement and Chattiness seem to have no effect on people's acceptance, while the random Encouragement might even have a negative effect.
The Natural History of Humanity: Past, Present and Future BIB 91-122
  Tom Stonier
Perceptual Transformations in Vision and Hearing BIBA 123-132
  Richard M. Warren
This paper presents a history and comparison of the illusions occurring with three types of unchanging patterns of stimulation: (1) visually ambiguous figures; (2) stabilized retinal images; (3) repeated spoken words. Photographs are presented showing that perceptually unstable ambiguous figures of considerable complexity and subtlety were constructed as mosaics in classical times. It is suggested that the ancient practice of scrying may be related to changes observed with stabilized retinal images. While illusory changes heard when listening to a recording of a repeated word have been compared with changes occurring with ambiguous figures and with stabilized retinal images, it is argued that such comparisons have been misleading. While these three illusions have in common the replacement of one perceptual form by another with continued stimulation, the types of perceptual reorganization corresponding to these changes are specific for each of these illusions, and can provide information concerning the nature of special strategies used with the different stimuli. Examples are given of how verbal transformations can reveal mechanisms used for processing of speech. Finally, some comparisons are made concerning the usefulness of studying illusions in man and in machines.
The Technology of Interaction -- Dialogue Programming Rules BIBA 133-150
  Brian R. Gaines
The availability of low-cost interactive computing for commercial applications makes it attractive to give end-users direct access to computers in a "conversational" mode. The need to minimize typing by the user leads to the conversational dialogues consisting of a series of "prompts" and responses. Such dialogue sequences are now being programmed into a wide range of systems, but there are currently available only limited guidelines on appropriate programming techniques. This paper expresses the view that the programming of interactive dialogue is an important technology for software engineering in its own right. It develops systematically a set of "rules" for dialogue programming and discusses them in terms of user psychology. It is hoped that this definitive approach will lead to additions, extensions, and refinements, to these rules, eventually generating a recognized technology for dialogue engineering.
Management and Self-Management: The Objective-Subjective Dimensions BIBA 151-167
  Mike Robinson
A distinction is made between the way the Law of Requisite Variety applies to systems involving human beings and systems that do not. It is claimed that a proper interpretation of the Law for human systems involves the use of auxiliary concepts, some of which have yet to be clarified. The auxiliary concepts are implicit in the theoretical work of Beer and his associates, but become explicit in practice. Two of these concepts are agreement and participation, which are almost always tacit rather than explicit. Human systems are only viable when they involve agreement and participation, and this is not accidental but tied to the nature of variety itself.
   It is argued that the full development and exploration of these concepts (and others allied to them) will foreshadow a new paradigm for management science, the material basis for which now exists in current computing technology.

IJMMS 1981 Volume 14 Issue 2

Outline of a Fuzzy Logic Approach to Information Retrieval BIBA 169-178
  Tadeusz Radecki
An information retrieval method based on fuzzy logic is presented. The method described takes into account in a straightforward way the varying importance of descriptors which reflect the content of the information system documents as well as the varying formal relevance grades of documents in relation to a given query. The use of the simple operations of fuzzy logic allows retrieval of documents with the highest grades of formal relevance (in a given information system).
A Taxonomy of Systems Science BIBA 179-191
  J. P. van Gigch; N. J. T. A. Kramer
A taxonomy of Systems Science is proposed based upon criteria by which the validity of results is evaluated and by which the systems conceptualization is defined. Based on this classification, four main categories of General Systems Theory are postulated, their characteristics outlined and scholars of each branch named. The problems which Systems Science attempts to solve and the ideal of a unity of science are discussed.
An Interactive Computer Program for Multiobjective Decision Making by the Sequential Proxy Optimization Technique BIBA 193-213
  Masatoshi Sakawa
A new interactive multiobjective decision making technique, which is called the sequential proxy optimization technique (SPOT), has been proposed by the author. Using this technique, the preferred solution for the decision maker can be derived efficiently from among a Pareto optimal solution set by assessing his marginal rates of substitution and maximizing the local proxy preference functions sequentially.
   In this paper, based on the algorithm of SPOT, a computer program for multiobjective decision making with interactive procedures is presented and called ISPOT. The program is especially designed to facilitate the interactive processes for computer-aided decision making. After a brief description of the theoretical framework of SPOT, the computer program ISPOT is presented. The commands in this program and major prompt messages are also explained. An illustrative numerical example for the interactive processes is demonstrated and numerous insights are obtained.
Speed and Accuracy in Scanning as a Function of Combinations of Text and Background Colors BIBA 215-222
  Kjell Ohlsson; Lars-Goran Nilsson; Jerker Ronnberg
An experiment is reported which employed a method of scanning matrices of letters for specific targets. The color of the letters and the color of the background varied. Scanning time was one dependent variable and accuracy in detecting the correct number of targets in each matrix was another. The results showed a relatively close correspondence between scanning time and the rating data of the same color combinations in an earlier study. With respect to accuracy, the present experiment showed that the overall error rate was extremely low.
Personal Construct Psychology in Education and Learning BIBA 223-232
  Maureen L. Pope; Mildred L. G. Shaw
Recently educational technology has undergone a change of emphasis in the methods and means of teaching: from mass instruction through individualized instruction to group learning. This re-orientation parallels developments within education itself of the three stages of dependent, independent and interdependent learning. This paper discusses the contribution which can be made to this development by personal construct psychology, and in particular the practical role in it of the PEGASUS and SOCIOGRIDS programs for construct elicitation and analysis.

Book Review

"Microcomputers in Secondary Education," edited by Donovan Tagg BIB 233-234
  Mildred L. G. Shaw

IJMMS 1981 Volume 14 Issue 3

Editorial BIB 235-236
  David Hale
The Black Box Inside the Glass Box: Presenting Computing Concepts to Novices BIBA 237-249
  Benedict du Boulay; Tim O'Shea; John Monk
Simplicity and visibility are two important characteristics of programming languages for novices. Novices start programming with very little idea of the properties of the notional machine implied by the language they are learning. To help them learn these properties, the notional machine should be simple. That is, it should consist of a small number of parts that interact in ways that can be easily understood, possibly by analogy to other mechanisms with which the novice is more familiar. A notional machine is the idealized model of the computer implied by the constructs of the programming language. Visibility is concerned with methods for viewing selected parts and processes of this notional machine in action. We introduce the term "commentary" which is the system's dynamic characterization of the notional machine, expressed in either text or pictures on the user's terminal. We examine the simplicity and visibility of three systems, each designed to provide programming experience to different populations of novices.
A Longitudinal Study of Computer-User Behaviour in a Batch Environment BIBA 251-268
  T. Lang; K. Lang; R. Auld
This article describes a study of the way in which university staff and research students make use of the central university computing service in the course of their day-to-day work. A sample of computer users was selected, stratified according to their academic discipline, the length of time for which they had been computing, and the rate at which they ran jobs on the computer. These users were asked to fill in a questionnaire reporting on the results of every computer job they had run.
   It was found that three-quarters of all jobs were intended as "production", rather than developing new programs or finding the cause of errors. Slightly over half of the jobs involved the use of the users' own programs rather than of pre-supplied program packages.
   Just over a half of all jobs were completely successful, whilst one in five were a total failure. Users were more successful when they ran program packages than when they ran their own programs. Overall, computer-novices were more successful at what they attempted. Users experienced in computing appeared to be more ambitious in what they were attempting, and made greater use of their own programs; their proportion of successful jobs was hence lower than for the computer novices. There was also some evidence that users from the physical sciences were more successful than users from the social sciences, medicine and the humanities (but this effect was less significant than the split between computer novices and experts).
   Upon analysing their output, users believed that 70% of their errors had been definitely located, whilst 6% remained totally obscure and needed further runs on the computer. Just less than a third of all errors were classified as trivial, whilst about one in ten involved an error in concept. Many of the trivial errors were located in the users' data rather than in their programs.
   Slightly more errors were attributed to problems in the users' own discipline than to the use of the computer itself. Users tended to accept nearly all the blame for errors, except that 3% were attributed to misleading documentation.
Support for Users of Operating Systems and Applications Software BIBA 269-282
  K. Lang; T. Lang; R. Auld
Computer-users in universities need computing facilities to aid them in their research and teaching; they are not computer professionals nor, for them, is the writing of programs an end in itself. To enable them to make good use of the facilities, guidance is provided in the form of documentation, courses, face-to-face advice and computer-based HELP systems. A study of the attitudes of users in eight British universities to computing, and particularly to guidance services for operating systems and applications software, is described.
   The overall evaluation of the guidance given was extremely favourable, although approval ratings for documentation were lower than for face-to-face advice for all kinds of software. Very few users had attended any kind of formal course, apart from those who had studied computing as undergraduates.
   As far as diagnostic advice was concerned, in general users chose as their first source of help either their colleagues or members of computer centre staff in about equal proportions. This was subject to variation depending on both the discipline of the user and the nature of the software concerned. As a general rule, users were more likely to turn to the computer centre for help in areas where the software was not in widespread use among their colleagues. This contrasts with the widely-held view that advisory services are used disproportionately by those in the social sciences, humanities and medicine. Areas needing further study include the role of the group in aiding problem-solving, and the identification of methods of guidance most appropriate to particular problem areas.
Desirable Software Features for Psychophysiological Computing BIBA 283-295
  C. H. Sharp
The methodology of static analysis was used to examine a suite of programs for psychophysiological data processing, with a view to specifying useful features for a specialized computer language. Obtained results showed that facilities often ignored in conventional solutions were important. The need for advanced data structures, similar to Pascal, could be shown, but equally the requirement for compatible data operators, capable of transforming arrays and structures, was demonstrated. Input/output was of major importance, and not only at the language level. A clear definition of terminal, record and random access I/O was needed, and some control of the interface to the operating system and machine environment was also desirable. Traditional emphasis on control structures in languages was shown to be misdirected, as the simplest of FORTRAN control statements produced a well structured program. And finally, it was shown that good systems design in a sympathetic software environment could reduce assembly language coding requirements, whilst preserving the execution speed of machine code. Altogether, the results of the static analysis recommend that any language for psychophysiological computing be firmly based on an ecological survey of data processing requirements.
The User Interface of the Data Analysis Package: Some Lines of Development BIBA 297-316
  Stephen K. Tagg
The general purpose data analysis package is characterized by its user-oriented interface. This paper discusses the nature of the social research package user, and examines features of the conversational package SCSS to point out the important lines of package development. A discussion of these developments covers the areas of data structure flexibility, facilities for model manipulation and testing, self-documentation, adaptability to both expert and novice package users, as well as the facilities of table, graphics and statistics generation systems. Not all of these developments are equally feasible, because they put possibly conflicting pressures on the form of the user interface. The continuing number of users of data analysis packages will continue to make this an interesting area of user-interface development.
Special Purpose Languages for Behavioural Experiments BIBA 317-339
  David Hale
Many special purpose computer languages have been written by psychologists to aid their experimentation. This paper examines some of these languages and considers why they were written, how they were implemented, what special features they offered, and why few have been "acceptable" enough to achieve widespread use. Languages were written to allow process input/output for the experiment, accurate timing, appropriate data structures, asynchronous data storage, operational conveniences such as multiple subject experimentation, conversational or concurrent program development, and suitability for novice users. Widespread use has eluded most languages because of implementation on idiosyncratic hardware, limitations in the language, and too much "single author dependence" giving lack of documentation, support and hence acceptability. It is argued that advances in low cost hardware, with the inevitable spread of computer controlled experimentation particularly amongst novices, and use of modern software development tools, might make the development of new special purpose languages more cost/effective. Alternatively, psychologists should make use of real-time languages developed outside psychology but augmented for easy use by psychologists. To ensure acceptability such languages must not only solve experimental problems but also have good "support".
State Notation Programming Languages in Psychology BIBA 341-354
  Julian C. Leslie
State notation is a method of representing the procedures used in psychological experimentation concisely and unambiguously. It has formed the basis of three high-level computer programming languages (ACT, SKED and SCAT) which have been developed for on-line experimental control systems. These languages are extremely powerful tools for programming procedures involving digital inputs and outputs. The power of minicomputers enables time-sharing systems to be used to run a number of complex experiments simultaneously (typically between 10 and 16). All three languages were developed for the experimental analysis of behaviour, but have also been used in a wide range of studies of human experimental psychology and in studies involving concomitant measurement of behaviour and physiology. The languages and associated hardware are less well able to deal with studies involving either very high temporal resolution or large quantities of verbal or other symbolic material. However, because state notation languages embody a conceptual structure that closely resembles that of much psychological experimentation, they are particularly easy for psychologists to learn and use effectively. For this reason, and because of the laboriousness of developing new programs for special applications, it is most efficient to have a state notation language generally available and to resort to other approaches only when it becomes unduly cumbersome.
Real-Time Programming Languages BIBA 355-369
  Roger Henry
Real-time programs share one or more of the following characteristics: control of external equipment, response to external events, the timing of intervals and the sharing of processing time between multiple tasks. Real-time languages are designed to ease the job of coding, maintaining and documenting such programs.
   Two traditional contenders in the U.K. have been CORAL 66 and RTL/2. Both were developed to meet genuine applied needs and, despite many differences, they share one surprising feature -- the lack of in-built real-time statements. The main aim of the designers was to choose language features that allow the generation of efficient code. Real-time functions are implemented by standard procedures that interface to a run-time operating system. In contrast, other languages have developed as a result of academic interest in the problems of parallel processing. Examples include Concurrent Pascal and Modula which provides general multiprogramming facilities at the language level. It is also possible to bind to hardware interrupts and manipulate hardware device registers directly from within the language. A confluence of these traditions has emerged under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Defence which has sponsored the development of a new high-order language for real-time programming now known as Ada.
Modula and a Vision Laboratory BIBA 371-386
  Colin Runciman
A short description of Modula, the high-level language for real-time parallel programming, concentrates on its distinctive features as compared with Pascal; in particular the process, signal and three types of module are considered.
   VRW, a vision laboratory control program written in Modula is introduced. Its complete module and process structure is presented in support of the argument that Modula allows a most attractive program architecture which matches that of the laboratory and the experimental control problem. Detailed fragments of VRW are presented to illustrate the capabilities of Modula with special attention to device handling.
   Further benefits of the Modula discipline such as the inherent confidence possible in solutions and the merits of the module as a unit for software construction are discussed. In examining means of control over the use of machine-store, scalar types and, more particularly, the timing of events, weaknesses in Modula are noted and discussed. But these do not prevent the conclusion that it is a most capable and attractive language for laboratory control.
Program Development and Running on Host/Target Systems BIB 387-394
  Andrew Arblaster

IJMMS 1981 Volume 14 Issue 4

Control of Movement and Protection Structures BIB 397-422
  Ladislav J. Kohout
Synthesis of the Devanagari Orthography BIBA 423-435
  J. B. Millar; W. W. Glover
The problem of acceptance of an orthography by newly literate tribespeople in Nepal has been overcome by the use of computational techniques. A table-driven context-sensitive conversion algorithm is interposed between a typewriter keyboard and an arbitrary font printing system. The familiar man-machine interface, the typewriter keyboard, is retained for the preparation of documents but the character set available is carefully designed and expanded to provide an acceptable document.
   The major application of this technique is in early experiments in the design of written material in a literacy programme and in the preparation of literacy material. Further applications have been found in the preparation of language teaching material for students of languages using the Devanagari script and the preparation and production of research reports in the script, or incorporating the script, without the use of specialized printing equipment.
Measurement of Muscle Fibre Diameter by Computer-Aided Image Analysis BIBA 437-447
  D. G. Altman; K. A. Paton; G. Slavin; A. C. Taylor; P. Ward
We describe an experiment to measure widths of muscle fibres by four methods, one manual and three based on interactive computer graphics using an image analyser. In all cases the width is defined as the length of a line associated with the fibre. This line may be defined by the observer directly or deduced by the computer from the fibre outline defined by the observer.
   Interactive computer graphics allow the speed to be increased fivefold with no loss in reproducibility in return for a small investment in software development. The speed might be further increased, perhaps tenfold, by the use of computerized image analysis based on densitometry but the number of analyses required per annum is not sufficient to justify the larger investment in software development that this would entail. The cost might be further decreased by the use of a simpler computer system.
Using the State Space to Record the Behavioural Effects of Symmetry in the Tower of Hanoi Problem and an Isomorph BIBA 449-460
  George F. Luger; Michael Steen
The state space of a problem has offered a powerful technique for representing problems and describing the behaviour of problem solving subjects. In this study the effects of symmetry within the structure of a problem on the behaviour of subjects solving that problem is presented through three experiments. The first two experiments are fairly direct tests of symmetry effects in the Tower of Hanoi problem and an isomorph. The third experiment provides an indirect test of the use of symmetry by a problem task with no obvious symmetry, but containing symmetric subproblem tasks. The discussion focuses on the results of the symmetry tests as well as on the state space method for characterizing symmetry effects.
The ZOG Approach to Man-Machine Communication BIBA 461-488
  G. Robertson; D. McCracken; A. Newell
ZOG is a rapid response, large network, menu selection system used for man-machine communication. The philosophy behind this style of communication was first developed by the PROMIS (Problem Oriented Medical Information System) Laboratory of the University of Vermont. ZOG has been used in a number of task domains to help explore the limits and potential benefits of the communication philosophy. This paper discusses the basic ideas in ZOG, describes the architecture of a system implemented to carry out that exploration, and discusses our initial experience.