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Authors: Mo, Dan Hua
Keywords: Computer Science
Issue Date: 1-May-1990
Abstract: It is frustrating to perform highly repetitive editing tasks manually and their execution should be automated for the benefit of computer users. Repetitive editing can be accomplished by writing a program; however, programming is beyond the scope of many end users. This thesis describes how ideas for programming by example can be applied to the repetitive editing task problem. Rather than having users program a task, a programming-by-example system requires them to specify examples of how to perform it and synthesizes from these a program that performs the task. It is argued that a prototype of the procedure, possibly including variables, conditionals and loops, should be constructed from a single editing trace. The generalization of constraints for editing actions and the introduction of additional variables and control structures can be accomplished during subsequent executions of the prototype procedure, and the search for generalizations is limited by the built-in text editing knowledge. Interactive debugging is proposed to combat the unreliability of the procedure taught by example. A text editing learning system, TELS, was designed and implemented. Performance on selected tasks is evaluated empirically and analytically. It is shown to be able to learn procedures that include variables and control structures. The original technical contribution that the thesis makes is that the system provides facilities for interactive debugging of programs taught by example. The principal shortcoming of the work is that the system has not yet been tested with actual untrained users.
Appears in Collections:Technical Reports

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