Henriette’s Interpretation Support System (ISS), which forms the basis of her thesis “Building an Interpretation Support System to aid the reading of Ancient Documents”.
Yesterday was a nail-biting day for me, as I headed over to Oxford to meet Henriette Roued-Cunliffe, one of my PhD students who I supervise with Professor Alan Bowman, to find out the outcome of her doctoral viva. (For those who dont know, the 3 or 4 year process of writing up a 100,000 word PhD, or D.Phil as they call it in Oxford, is examined by a face-to-face grilling with two examiners where you are expected to show you are a worthy intellectual combatant).
We had arranged to meet at 5pm (her viva started at 2pm) but there was no sign… 5.30 came and went… then the time edged towards 6… Doctoral vivas in Oxford are usually around 2 hours, so we started to get worried. But then Henriette arrived, slightly dazed but happy – the viva had started late due to one of the examiners being held up in traffic, and the examiners wanted to be thorough and let the viva take its course. But the strange thing about doctoral vivas in Oxford is that they are not allowed to tell you in the exam how you have done! So it wasn’t until all the paperwork was filed after that we got the news – around 7pm by now – that Henriette has passed with corrections (which is the best you can hope for!) Hurrah! Champagne all round!
You can read about Henriette’s doctoral work, “Building an Interpretation Support System to aid the reading of Ancient Documents”, here.
The aim is that the expert reading an ancient document should be able to use the ISS for the things which humans find difficult, which are things like:
- Remembering complicated reasoning
- Searching huge datasets
- Accessing other experts knowledge
- Enable cooperation between experts on a single document
Henriette demonstrates that this can be used to help experts search through different hypotheses and record the interpretation process of reading an Ancient text, whilst consulting and reusing existing information sources from other projects.