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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24726

Title: Interactive Visualizations of Natural Language
Authors: Collins, Christopher
Advisor: Penn, Gerald
Carpendale, Sheelagh
Department: Computer Science
Keywords: visualization
natural language processing
information visualization
machine translation
Issue Date: 6-Aug-2010
Abstract: While linguistic skill is a hallmark of humanity, the increasing volume of linguistic data each of us faces is causing individual and societal problems — ‘information overload’ is a commonly discussed condition. Tasks such as finding the most appropriate information online, understanding the contents of a personal email repository, and translating documents from another language are now commonplace. These tasks need not cause stress and feelings of overload: the human intellectual capacity is not the problem. Rather, the computational interfaces to linguistic data are problematic — there exists a Linguistic Visualization Divide in the current state-of-the-art. Through five design studies, this dissertation combines sophisticated natural language processing algorithms with information visualization techniques grounded in evidence of human visuospatial capabilities. The first design study, Uncertainty Lattices, augments real-time computermediated communication, such as cross-language instant messaging chat and automatic speech recognition. By providing explicit indications of algorithmic confidence, the visualization enables informed decisions about the quality of computational outputs. Two design studies explore the space of content analysis. DocuBurst is an interactive visualization of document content, which spatially organizes words using an expert-created ontology. Broadening from single documents to document collections, Parallel Tag Clouds combine keyword extraction and coordinated visualizations to provide comparative overviews across subsets of a faceted text corpus. Finally, two studies address visualization for natural language processing research. The Bubble Sets visualization draws secondary set relations around arbitrary collections of items, such as a linguistic parse tree. From this design study we propose a theory of spatial rights to consider when assigning visual encodings to data. Expanding considerations of spatial rights, we present a formalism to organize the variety of approaches to coordinated and linked visualization, and introduce VisLink, a new method to relate and explore multiple 2d visualizations in 3d space. Intervisualization connections allow for cross-visualization queries and support high level comparison between visualizations. From the design studies we distill challenges common to visualizing language data, including maintaining legibility, supporting detailed reading, addressing data scale challenges, and managing problems arising from semantic ambiguity.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24726
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Computer Science - Doctoral theses

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