Stephen Wan, June 2010
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One of the joys of completion is to look over the journey past and remember all the friends and family who have helped and supported me along this long but fulfilling road.
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Professor Robert Dale, Dr. Mark Dras, and Dr. CÚcile Paris, who are not only mentors but dear friends. I could not have asked for better role models, each inspirational, supportive, and patient. I could not be prouder of my academic roots and hope that I can in turn pass on the research values and the dreams that they have given to me.
I would also like to thank my examiners, Professor Kathleen McKeown, Associate Professor Tim Baldwin, and Dr. Vibhu Mittal, who provided encouraging and constructive feedback. It is no easy task, reviewing a thesis, and I am grateful for their thoughtful and detailed comments. To the many anonymous reviewers at the various NLP conferences, thank you for helping to shape and guide the direction of the work with your careful and instructive comments.
This thesis was
co-funded by Macquarie University and CSIRO, and I would like to thank both
organisations for their generous support. As a member of both CSIRO and
Macquarie University, I have been surrounded by wonderful colleagues; both
communities have provided a rich and fertile environment to study and explore new ideas. At CSIRO, I would like to thank lab leaders, Dr. Ross Wilkinson, Dr. Darrell Williamson and Dr. Dimitrios Georgakopoulos, who have both been extremely supportive in allowing me to participate in lab activities whilst pursuing my PhD studies. Life at CSIRO is ever fluid, and, in the course of it all, the i2tech team members have dependably made CSIRO a warm and inviting place to work; to them, thank you. My other affiliation is with the Centre for Language Technology (CLT) at Macquarie University, a group with distinctive personality: amicable, gentle and yet thorough in offering suggestions and comments on works in progress. To my colleagues at the CLT, thank you.
To the staff and
students at Columbia University's NLP group (2003), and at Edinburgh
University's NLP group (2005), I am grateful for the chance to visit and be a
part of the lab. Thank you for welcoming me as a friend and helping to develop
the ideas in this thesis.
I would not have contemplated this road if not for my parents, Paul and Kay, who instilled within me a love of creative pursuits, science and language, all of which finds a place in this thesis. To my parents, thank you. My siblings, Susan and Sam, have also been the best of friends along this journey: Susan, who encouraged me to look forward to more than just the students' lot in wine selection; and Sam, who wisely advised against dabbling in World Of Warcraft in the final stretch of the thesis write-up. This thesis would also not be possible without the love and support of my Sydney-based family, Sei-soke, Sei-sum, and Bobbie, who gave me a home away from home.
To my dear comrades in the Markists group, thank you for making our "readings" the weekly event to look forward to. JP, Jette, Simon (thanks for the BLEU evaluation code!), Mary, Luiz, and Pawel (dzienkuje!), Marc, Elena, and Andrew (thanks for being such a dear friend and an awesome officemate), thanks for being there to listen, drink, and console. Thank you to the many friends in the various households that have sheltered me over the years. You have been like surrogate families, bearing the brunt of the frustrations, and sharing in the joy of the successes. Will, the crew at 85B, Hilma, Conrad, Shalini, Kanesan, Craig and Trish (and Sully), Bernt, Mari, Alex, Juani, Shane and Kate, Scott and Ali, thank you for banding together over music, ramen, and life; thank you for just being there for me.
And last, but not least, to Astrid, who shares my passions, thank you for rekindling dreams.