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Joe Butler

A prototype EDEN-like environment that facilitates the replication and association of definitive constructs

This is a brief and rather cryptic abstract that is hard to evaluate because it gives no explicit indication of what is going to be ventured. It is tempting to write after your final statement of intent:

"I propose to prototype a miniature environment separate from EDEN which reflects its primary functionality while supporting the association of observables and replication of constructs similar to the that which Object Orientation provides."

But how?

My comments really have to be comments about what you will need to do to develop your paper and modelling study on this theme. Though you haven't indicated the weighting, I imagine that you have a relatively ambitious implementation task in mind and that the main emphasis will be on the "modelling study" aspect. You haven't mentioned other thinking that has been done on related themes - notably J-P Dupont's MSc-by-research report which you have in draft, possibly Allan Wong's PhD thesis and Nick Pope's PhD thesis, but of course you should relate what you have in mind to these proposals also if possible.

I think the other aspect to focus on is trying to bring your writing up to the standard that would be expected of a conference publication. This is not easy even for postgraduates, and is especially difficult before you have had experience of writing a substantial report. Obviously this short proposal has been written informally and without too much concern for how much it communicates to the reader beyond a broad idea. Writing an abstract for a paper is in general one of the more difficult writing tasks where you need to be particularly informative, precise and concise all at the same time. This typically demands much care and crafting with attention to detail. In reading your abstract, there are several points where questions arise that you would need to address in a 'real' abstract. For instance: I understand the "replication of definitive constructs", but what does "the association of definitive constructs" refer to? If you mean associating observables into object-like structures, this is unlikely to be what comes across to the reader. I can understand why you speak of "definitive notations as offering an alternative programming paradigm" (cf. the way we once cast our ideas in terms of 'definitive programming'), but it is important that your writing clearly reflects the nuanced way in which definitive programming relates to EM as it has been exposed in the module. For instance, objects in the traditional sense are best seen as the products of EM activity that leads to the realisation of a program-like context. Bear in mind that because you have been so much involved in developing the tools it can be that much harder to see things from the broader perspective of the EM model-builder.

One thing I like about your writing is the evidence of imagination and colour that your choice of vocabulary conveys. This is a quality not always appreciated in scientific paper writing, but certainly has its place in writing about EM. You do need to take particular care when introducing colourful words that they are in all respects appropriate though: for me the following words/phrases have rich connotations but - for different reasons - don't work in their context "sympathise", "miniature" and "the domain of Empirical Modelling". The answer may well be to take more time and care over the selection of such words and think around the possible interpretations they have. Finding new words to express ideas can be most helpful, but they have to be well-chosen.