Ph.D. Computer Science

In 2018 I graduated at UNISA with a PhD in computer science. The title of my thesis is “Skoner en kleiner vertaalgeheues” (English: “Smaller and cleaner translation memories”). This research was my way of contributing to the ecosystem of translation tools (of which I’m also a developer and a user).

First I investigated the state of translation memory evaluation, and realised that certain methodological problems needed to be solved before I can make a concrete contribution. Evaluation is after all very important in the field of natural language processing. I used statistical regression to motivate for my proposed evaluation method. The practical contribution of the work is in my method using machine learning to clean translation memories of erroneous entries. I show the value this brings to translation memory systems, but also in neural machine translation.

My supervisors were prof. Laurette Pretorius and dr. Paul Buitelaar.

M.Sc. Computer Science

I graduated my master’s degree cum laude [1] in 2004 with a thesis on the parallelisation of a solution to two discrete optimisation problems. The title is “The column subtraction method for the traveling salesman problem”. Although this degree was awarded by the University of Johannesburg, I oddly enough was only ever registered at the Rand Afrikaans university for the degree! (The name changed between me submitting and my graduation.)

My supervisor was prof. THC Smith.

B.Sc. (Honours) Computer Science

I graduated my honours [1] degree cum laude in 2002 at the Rand Afrikaans University (RAU, now known as the University of Johannesburg). The degree comprised multiple semester courses including a semester long project.

Some of the selective modules covered information security, networking, forensics, compiler construction, optimisation, real-time 3D graphics, and parallel programming. The other requirements for the degree was a project, and a course on the ethical, legal and audit aspects of information technology. For my project I implemented a system for plagiarism detection in undergraduate programming assignments.

B.Sc. Information Technology

My bachelor’s degree [1] with computer science and informatics as majors was a three year degree as is common in South Africa. I additionally completed applied mathematics at third year level. I graduated cum laude in 2001 from the Rand Afrikaans University (RAU, now known as the University of Johannesburg).

[1] A few notes about South African universities: A bachelor’s degree is usually three years of coursework. The fourth year is regarded as a separate degree in these cases. To pass a degree cum laude (with honours) is the only and highest honourable distinction possible. A PhD is only awarded or not awarded — no honourable distinction such as cum laude is ever awarded.