I work in an area of research is called "natural language processing." The goal is to write software that can understand and process natural human language. A good example of natural language processing is Google news (http://news.google.com). This site is built on software that reads newspaper articles and groups the articles that are about the same topic.

My thesis worked towards extending natural language processing from written text to speech, such as classroom lectures. In particular, I focus on the hand gestures that people make when they speak. I wrote a set of computer programs that process the meaning of these hand gestures in combination with the speech. One such program was able to divide a long classroom lecture into shorter "chapters." One of the main contributions of my thesis was to show that hand gestures give useful clues about how to do this.