Tech-Speak: Programming Your Own Computer

Can you have a conversation with your computer?

Can you have a conversation with your computer?

Do you ever wish computer programming could be made easy – so that even those of us who are technologically challenged could write a program tailored to our current need? Although it may seem we can now talk to computers with voice recognition software, such as Apple’s Siri, in reality the conversation we are having is only one-sided.

These systems may seem reliable insofar as getting a computer to quickly generate much-needed information. However, they are actually pre-programmed to perform those operations and so what we are really asking them to do is to “spit out” prior knowledge.

As a step toward a more futuristic approach to computer programming – one in which people who are not familiar with computer code can program computers, Regina Barzilay and colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have talked a computer into writing new software.

The team focused on writing software that reads the input given to a computer. By generating this code automatically, programmers were free to write the parts of software that require more creativity. Barzilay's team developed a technique in which a task described in “natural” language automatically generated the computer code necessary to check for that input and subsequently carry it out. By extracting noun phrases their system builds code accordingly.

Of course code that checks input is at the heart of web forms, spreadsheets, and databases. The challenge, however, is to specify what kind of input is allowed. Barzilay's team tested their system with 106 natural-language descriptions of different input formats, all of which were taken from ACM International Collegiate Programming Contests. They found that their system could automatically generate correct software for over 70 percent of these descriptions. This developing technology is not intended to replace the need for programmers, rather help with specific programming tasks.

For now, though, directly interfacing with your computer and “talking it into” creating a program for you is still a futuristic goal. Natural language is not always precise or clear, and all languages contain some double-meanings for words or phrases.

Though you currently may be unable to verbally communicate with your computer, Provident Technology can directly interface and “talk” to your company’s computer systems through the three primary components of our Managed Service Plan.

Let Provident Technology do the talking - and put the world at your fingertips!

Let Provident Technology do the talking - and put the world at your fingertips!

Our MSP offers end user support for hardware and software problems – many of which can be diagnosed remotely. Using our custom monitoring software, Provident Technology provides remote monitoring and patch management. Anti-virus client software is monitored, and can be updated from a central location. Clients may also extend their managed services to include Microsoft Exchange Hosting, Enterprise-level Spam and Anti-Virus Email Filtering, and Fully Compliant Email Archiving.

Contact Provident Technology today to learn how easy it is to keep your computer current and secure – and let us do the talking!