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Glasgow's Joking Computer

By PhysOrg.com

December 16, 2009

A computer that is capable of using simple language rules and a large vocabulary to generate cracker-style jokes, based on puns, is the subject of a new exhibit at the Glasgow Science Center in Scotland.

The Joking Computer uses software initially developed to help children with disabilities such as cerebral palsy improve their language skills and create new jokes to tell their friends and family. Aberdeen University's Judith Masthoff says the Joking Computer offers an enjoyable experience that might encourage some children to choose a career in computer science.

Aberdeen University scientists developed the Joking Computer, and the software resulted from a partnership between the universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, and Dundee. The Joking Computer, which was funded by an award from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, will be exhibited next year in science workshops and festivals throughout the United Kingdom.

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