The Joking Computer
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The online version of the Joking Computer is now available.

Wendy Moncur


I grew up in Wimbledon, London, and worked in the City of London as a computer programmer from the age of 17. When I was 21, I moved to Scotland. I worked in the Computing industry as a database designer in Edinburgh for quite a long time.

I have also tried doing quite a few other jobs, like running a youth hostel and teaching childbirth education classes, but I always end up going back to Computing. I did a Masters degree with a project on how to make computers more secure.

My job on the Joking Computer project is to find out if children like the Joking Computer, and find it fun to use. I also run workshops with children, teaching them how we can make computers behave as if they have a sense of humour. Getting children interested in how computers work is a great part of my job.

I am also very busy finishing my PhD in Computer Science. Doing a PhD involves asking interesting questions, finding out the answers, and then writing a book (called a thesis) about what you found out. I have been investigating how to design computers for the parents of babies that are really ill in hospital, to make it easier for them to keep in touch with family and friends, and to encourage their family and friends to give them any help that they need.

My PhD is part of the BabyTalk project: see "Other Computational Linguistics projects" in this website for more details.

People will get to call me Doctor Moncur when I finish my PhD, although I won’t be a medical doctor!

Ill baby

Wendy and James kayaking

I like being a computer scientist for lots of reasons. It is never boring. I even get the chance to go to some great places to meet up with other computer scientists. In the last 3 years, I have been to California, Boston and Washington DC in the USA, and to Italy, Finland and Greece.

When I am not working as a computer scientist, I like to go camping with my kids, Phoebe and James. I also like to go hill-walking and kayaking. I have climbed over 200 of the highest mountains in Scotland, in winter and summer. Scotland is a brilliant place to live, as there are opportunities for adventure on your doorstep.

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