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early dasher

History of Dasher

Who's who

  • Dasher is brought to you by the Inference Group, led by David MacKay, who is a Reader in the Department of Physics and cofounder of the information technology company, Transversal. David created the first Dasher prototype in 1997.
  • David Ward developed the research version of Dasher from 1998 to 2002; for his PhD, David turned Dasher into a working software system, created numerous enhancements to it, and conducted experiments to quantify how well it works. David now works for Spiral Software, Cambridge.
  • Alan Blackwell, a lecturer in the Computer Laboratory, helped us design the experiments.
  • Phil Cowans and Tim Hospedales have also made contributions, especially to the eyetracking work.
  • During Summer 2002, the Open Source software package is being prepared for release by Iain Murray. Iain is about to start a PhD in computational neuroscience at UCL.
  • From Summer 2002, we hope the Dasher project will be joined by experts from the free software community, to contribute further enhancements and carry out the ports to a wider variety of computer platforms.
  • We hope to secure support for a project manager to manage this Open Source project and ensure that it is a success.
Dasher on ipaq

Versions of Dasher

The principal working versions of Dasher are as follows:
Version 1.*.* - C and tcl - for linux and windows desktops.
Uses ppm as the language model. Driven by mouse.
written by David Ward.
Version 1.*.* supports several European languages and Japanese (Hiragana). English version can support capital letters and lower case. This version's language model can be instructed both by loading an example input file and by loading a dictionary of valid spellings.
C - for pocket PC
Driven by stylus on touch-screen.
written by David Ward.
This version includes capital letters, numbers, and a number of punctuation characters. Only English is supported.
Version 2.*.* - C - for linux and windows desktops
Version 2.*.* supports English, upper and lower case, punctuation and numbers. It will be released as Open Source, as version 3, in late Summer 2002.
dasher + Eye-tracker
Driven by mouse that is controlled by eyetracker.
written by David Ward.
Daishoya (JDasher)
Japanese-language version of Dasher (Hiragana) - included in the C and tcl version
tcl - Original prototype
Demonstrates the relationship to arithmetic coding; includes a crude bigram language model.
written by David MacKay.
Runs on all platforms that support tcl (linux, windows, some browsers).

A more detailed history of Dasher is available on request from David MacKay.

We've also got links to other groups working in the same field.

The Inference Group is supported by the Gatsby Foundation
and by a partnership award from IBM Zurich Research Laboratory
David MacKay
Site last modified Fri Oct 1 10:33:19 BST 2010