Nishadi De Silva

University of Southampton, Southampton, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (10)0 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Collaborative writing is the process by which more than one author contributes to the content of a document. Although, multi-synchronous collaboration is very efficient in reducing task completion time, it is well known for producing documents of poor-quality content. Most existing collaborative writing environments do not really check the logical arrangement of documents portions (i.e. sentences, paragraphs,...). They rely on authors to verify the content quality of the document. This imposes a severe overhead on the authors to achieve efficient collaboration. To address this issue, we use semantic web technologies and a discourse theory called Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST) with the aim to reduce the overhead of consistency checking. We develop OntoReST, an ontology based on RST that helps detect incoherent texts automatically. OntoReST also provides authors with valuable information about the semantic structure of texts which contributes towards enhancing documents content quality.
    01/2009;
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    Peter Henderson, Nishadi De Silva
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    ABSTRACT: The documentation of an architecture is as important as the architecture itself. Tasked with communicating the structure and behaviour of a system and its constituent components to various stakeholders, the documentation is not trivial to produce. It becomes even harder in open, modular systems where components can be replaced and reused in each progressive build. How should documenta-tion for such systems be produced and how can it be made to easily evolve along with the system it describes? We propose that there is a close mapping between the system architecture and its documentation. We describe a rela-tional model for the architecture of open systems, paying close attention to the property that certain components can be reused or replaced. We then use ideas from storytelling and a discourse theory called Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST) to propose a narrative-based approach to architec-ture documentation; giving both a generic narrative tem-plate for component descriptions and a RST-based rela-tional model for the document architecture. We show how the two models (system and documentation) map onto each other and use this mapping to demonstrate how document fragments can be stored, automatically extracted and col-lated to closely reflect the system’s architecture.
    01/2008;
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    ABSTRACT: During collaborative writing each author works on a copy of the shared document. These copies are then merged to produce the final document. This asynchronous work is supported by several collaborative writing tools. While these tools are excellent at merging and detecting syntactic conflicts, they are not able to easily recognise semantic inconsistencies. This hinders the coherence of the document because while each individual copy might be well constructed, they may not be after the merge. To address this, we investigate the combination of the Rhetorical Structure Theory with Operational Transformation approach. In this paper, we define a data model, a set of operations to manipulate the RST structures and a set of transformation functions. A validity checker alerts the authors to areas in the text with possible semantic lapses in the merged documents.
    Collaborative Computing: Networking, Applications and Worksharing, 2007. CollaborateCom 2007. International Conference on; 12/2007
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    Nishadi De Silva
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    ABSTRACT: Document coherence is often harder to achieve in collaborative writing owing to a lack of group consensus and misaligned contributions by the co-authors. By ‘coherence’ we refer to the feature of a text that makes it easy to read and understand. This can be linked to the implicit story that a document conveys to its reader. Despite being an integral aspect of a successful document, software support for coherence is minimal. Collaborative writing tools do ensure syntactic consistency but this still does not guarantee coherence. Other approaches such as agreeing on an outline at the start can improve the document but outlines too have their shortcomings. Previously, we introduced a technique called narrative-based writing to fill these gaps and built a prototype of a tool that allows co-authors to engage in this method. The purpose of this paper is to present an example of how a team of authors can make use of this narrative-based technique and tool, and show how the corresponding document evolves.
    ICEIS 2007 - Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems, Volume SAIC, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal, June 12-16, 2007; 01/2007
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    Nishadi De Silva, Peter Henderson
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    ABSTRACT: Narrative-based writing is a technique that was developed to address the lack of support for document coherence. The technique depends on the production of a story-like executive summary of the document called a DN (Document Narrative). This is then analysed using a discourse theory called Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST) which helps further to correct any lapses in coherence in the DN before proceeding to use it to write the document. Previous papers have described the technique briefly, alongside discussions of the ongoing software development to incorporate narrative support in writing tools. It has now become apparent that the technique itself needs to be explained in greater detail. This is the purpose of this paper. Here, narrative-based writing and the reasoning behind it is described. This is followed by a description of a user experiment conducted in May 2006 to evaluate narrative-based writing and discover areas in which it could be improved. The positive feedback from the volunteers has motivated us to continue to refine and simplify the technique.
    01/2007;
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    Peter Henderson, Nishadi De Silva
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    ABSTRACT: Narratives have been used in the past to enhance technical documents such as research proposals by implementing a single-user writing tool called CANS (Computer-Aided Narrative Support). This study has now been extended to collaborative writing (CW); another area that can greatly benefit from a narrative-based writing tool. Before implementing such an asynchronous, multi-user system, however, it was imperative to do a concrete design for it. Therefore, after studying existing CW tools and strategies, a concise business process (BP) model was designed to describe the process of narrative-based CW. This paper introduces narrative-based CW for technical authors, the BP model for it and discusses the benefits of such an implementation on particular areas of research, such as the development of Grid applications.
    01/2006;
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    Nishadi De Silva, Peter Henderson
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    ABSTRACT: Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) is an area that requires a lot of technical documents and an important feature of a well-written document is a coherent narrative. Even though computer software has helped authors in many other aspects of writing, support for document narratives is almost non-existent. Therefore, we introduce CANS (Computer-Aided Narrative Support), a tool that uses Rhetorical Structure Theory to enhance the narrative of a document. From this narrative, the tool generates questions to prompt the author for the content of the document. CANS also allows the author to explore alternative narratives for a document. A catalogue of predefined narrative structures for popular types of documents is provided too. Our tool is still in its rudimentary stages but sufficiently complete to be demonstrated.
    01/2005;
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    Nishadi De Silva
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    ABSTRACT: In the last couple of years, many e-Science infrastructures have begun to offer production services to e-Scientists with an increasing number of applications that require access to different kinds of computational resources. Within Europe two rather different multi-national e-Science infrastructures evolved over time namely Distributed European Infrastructure for Supercomputing Applications (DEISA) and Enabling Grids for E-SciencE (EGEE). DEISA provides access to massively parallel systems such as supercomputers that are well suited for scientific applications that require many interactions between their typically high numbers of CPUs. EGEE on the other hand provides access to a world-wide Grid of university clusters and PC pools that are well suited for farming applications that require less or even no interactions between the distributed CPUs. While DEISA uses the HPC-driven Grid technology UNICORE, EGEE is based on the gLite Grid middleware optimized for farming jobs. Both have less adoption of open standards and therefore both systems are technically non-interoperable, which means that no e-Scientist can easily leverage the DEISA and EGEE infrastructure with one suitable client environment for scientific applications. This paper argues that future interoperability of such large e-Science infrastructures is required to improve e-Science in general and to increase the real scientific impact of world-wide Grids in particular. We discuss the interoperability achieved by the OMII-Europe project that fundamentally improved the interoperability between UNICORE and gLite by using open standards. We also outline one specific scientific scenario of the WISDOM initiative that actually benefits from the recently established interoperability.
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    Nishadi De Silva, Hala Skaf-Molli
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    ABSTRACT: During collaborative writing, shared documents are replicated on geographically distant sites. Each user works on an individual copy. This results in divergent copies. Merging techniques such as those proposed by the Operational Transformation (OT) approach reconcile the differences among the replicas and ensure their convergence. Although the merging techniques resolve conflicting syntax, they do not help preserve coherence which is an important aspect of an effective document. Therefore, we investigate the use of ideas from narrative-based writing to improve the coherence of the document during collaborative editing. Narrative-based writing is a new technique for planning documents that enhances the implicit story conveyed by a document to the readers; thereby improving coherence. This paper presents a discussion of this investigation.

Publication Stats

54 Citations

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Institutions

  • 2007
    • University of Southampton
      • Faculty of Physical and Applied Sciences
      Southampton, England, United Kingdom
    • University of Lorraine
      Nancy, Lorraine, France
    • National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control
      Le Chesney, Île-de-France, France