Computer Science (PhD), U Texas, 1968-71

I studied in the Ph.D. program in Computer Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin, for three years, 1968-71.

Early research

My early research was in formal logic and linguistics. I applied those frameworks in artificial intelligence, especially computer natural language understanding.

I was fortunate to have a University Fellowship during that time, but also worked on Robert Simmons’s natural language understanding project and taught introduction to programming.


My dissertation (1971) was The logical structure underlying temporal references in natural language.

The frequent use of temporal references makes a correct exhibition of their underlying structure vital to a full understanding of natural language. Such an understanding is important in teaching and translating, indeed in all uses of natural languages. In addition, understanding language better should aid in the design of computer programs which process natural languages.

From the abstract

As a logician, Norman Martin made sense as my dissertation adviser. But since Robert Simmons had been my academic adviser and a significant part of the dissertation was the presentation of the Chronos natural language understanding system, he effectively served as a co-adviser.

Terry Pratt and Michael Richter served as the other committee members. I learned much later that I was Michael’s first PhD student and appeared on his academic stammbaum, which was realized as a 3D sculpture.