Friday 17th May 2013 – Dr John Levine

Dr John Levine – University of Strathclyde, joint work with Dr Mark Dunlop

Evolving QWERTY

Abstract
The QWERTY keyboard is a fossilised design. It was introduced in 1873 as a way of stopping the hammers on early typewriters from jamming. Although this is clearly no longer a problem, the QWERTY keyboard is still used as the standard layout on virtually all computers, tablets and smartphones. The lack of optimality in this design becomes even more pronounced on modern touchscreen devices, where finger travel and autocorrect accuracy become important. We propose to evolve the layout of the QWERTY keyboard so that (a) text entry on touchscreen devices is faster and more accurate and (b) the evolved keyboard is as similar as it can be to QWERTY, to maintain a high degree of familiarity for QWERTY users. We use a simple multi-objective local search procedure to optimise our keyboards for familiarity, speed and accuracy.

Bio
John Levine is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Strathclyde. He leads the Strathclyde AI and Games research group and has interests in AI Planning, Optimisation, Evolutionary Computation and Machine Learning.

Research Article CHI 2012
Multidimensional Pareto Optimization of Touchscreen Keyboards for Speed, Familiarity and Improved Spell Checking ( download pdf ).

School of Computing Science & Digital Media, Robert Gordon University, St Andrew Street, Aberdeen, Lecture Room A23, 14:10 – 15:10.

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School of Computing Science and Digital Media, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland
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