I thank my adviser, David Gries, for his help and guidance in turning a collection of useful ideas into a practicable thesis. His insight into defining a language for audio formatting proved crucial in realizing my ultimate goal of producing a system that does for audio documents what systems like (LA)TEX have achieved in the world of printed documents. I also acknowledge the help and support of the other members of my committee, John Hopcroft, Dan Huttenlocher, Dexter Kozen, Keith Dennis and John Guckenheimer.

My former office-mate, M. S. Krishnamoorthy (RPI), was the first to spot the potential presented by my prototype, TE XTA LK. He, along with John Hopcroft, Keith Dennis and Brian Kernighan (ATT), encouraged me to take up the problem of producing audio renderings from electronic markup source for my dissertation. Tim Teitelbaum and Anne Neirynck helped in the initial phase when I was defining the problem. Bruce Donald was my adviser during the first phase of the project. We had many useful discussions, and I am grateful to him for convincing me to implement my system in Lisp-CLOS. Bruce Donald and CSRVL (Computer Science Robotics and Vision Lab) supported my work with a research assistantship and equipment.

My summer experience at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) helped me crystalize many ideas. Dennis Arnon of Xerox PARC pointed out the importance of working with document logical structure. Xerox Corp. also supported my work with an equipment grant in spring 1992. Jim Davis (Cornell DRI) advised me on lexical choice when producing spoken mathematics, helped improve my Lisp programming skills, and also contributed some Lisp code used to communicate with the speech synthesizer.

Intel Corp. supported my work with a one-year fellowship for the academic year 1992-93 and a research grant for fall 93. I acknowledge the help and support of my Intel mentor, Murali Veeramoney, and the other members of his group. Jim Larson (Intel Architecture Labs) helped me crystalize some of my ideas on user-interface design during the many stimulating discussions we had over the summer of 1993.

I implemented AS TE R and wrote this thesis using an Intel-486 PC from CSRVL running IBM Screen Reader. I thank the Center for Applied Mathematics (CAM) for opening up the world of computing to me by acquiring an Accent speech synthesizer and IBM Screen Reader —Screen Reader, designed by Jim Thatcher (IBM Watson Research Center), is one of the most robust screen-reading programs available today. I acknowledge the support of our systems administrators for their untiring help in my efforts to adapt my setup to use the software available.

I also thank the USENET community for their support in helping configure the various pieces of software that I use. The Emacs editor and Screen, a public-domain window manager for ASCII terminals, have together provided a powerful computing environment that has enabled me to be fully productive. Lack of online documentation for Lisp was overcome with help from the USENET (comp.lang.lisp) community. I also thank Nelson Beebee for his invaluable help on (LA)TEX throughout the writing of this thesis. I thank the authors and publishers of the texts listed in Table B on page 225 for providing me online access to the electronic sources —these proved invaluable both as online references as well as test material for AS TE R.

Taking classes at Cornell was an enjoyable experience, and I thank all the faculty for their help. Every effort was made to provide online lecture notes —AS TE R was motivated by the availability of online notes for CS681 taught by Dexter Kozen. Talking books from Recording for the Blind (RFB) proved invaluable. I was also ably assisted by a dedicated group of readers. Anindya Basu, Bill Barry (ORST), Jim Davis, Harsh Kaul and Matthai Phillipose proof-read this thesis and suggested many useful improvements. I also thank Holly Mingins, Dolores Pendell (CAM) and the rest of the administrative staff of the CS department for their help and support. I thank Bert Adams of the Cornell Physical Education program for helping me stay fit during the last four years and Mike Dillon (NYSCBVH) for orienting me around the Cornell campus.

Finally, I thank my family for their love and support throughout.

 Foreword By Prof. David Gries