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Authors: Witten, Ian H.
Keywords: Computer Science
Issue Date: 1-Jan-1982
Abstract: Typical dialogues with interactive computer systems contain a great deal of redundancy. Consider the string of characters typed by the user as a behaviour sequence which is presented to the system. It will usually have some repetition because of minor user errors. If the dialogue is with a command interpreter there will be redundancy due to frequent use of a small subset of the possible commands, re-typing of command names and incorrectly given arguments, and so on. If English text is being entered there will be the statistical redundancy of the language. Program text is usually even more redundant because of the restricted set of keywords and identifier names. This paper describes the operation and sketches the design and construction of a terminal interface to an operating system (Unix (1)) which is intended to aid the interactive user by reducing the amount he has to type. It works by predicting the entries that he is about to make. Predictions are displayed in reverse video on the VDU terminal, and the user has the option of accepting correct predictions as though he had typed them himself. Incorrect predictions can be eradicated by simply typing over them; thus the user may ignore the predictions and continue typing normally if he does not wish to disturb his keying rhythm. In all cases the display looks as though he had typed the whole entry himself.
Appears in Collections:Witten, Ian

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