Advanced Program Design with C++ Assignment #3



COMP 345 Advanced Program Design with C++

Assignment #3

Task 3: “Essay Generator” (9%). Develop a C++ program that can write an English essay on a given
topic, provided with a set of source documents. For example, it will be possible to give your program a set
of newspaper articles, and ask it to write an essay in 500 words on a topic like: “What countries are or
have been involved in land or water boundary disputes with each other over oil resources or exploration?
How have disputes been resolved, or towards what kind of resolution are the countries moving? What other
factors affect the disputes?”
For this task, your program has to be able to:
1. Index a set of text files, provided in the same form as in Assignments #1 & #2;
2. Read an essay topic (like in the example above) from another text file;
3. Generate an essay with a specific length (e.g., 500 words) using the indexed documents as source
Some example documents, with corresponding query topics, are available for download on Moodle. You
must include your program’s output for these in your assignment submission.
Document indexing. Instead of building a document-term matrix like for Assignments #1 & #2, you
now have to create a sentence-term matrix. For this, you will have to add code that detects the end of a
sentence in a document, for example, by looking for ”.”, ”?”, or ”!” followed by a space or newline. In other
words, you now treat each sentence like a “mini-document” containing only this single sentence.
Processing the query. Rather than taking a query from a user, like in Assignment #2, your query now
is the topic that you read from the provided question file. This topic is then converted into a query vector
~q like before.
Essay generation. You generate the essay by querying your (normalized!) index with the topic query
vector ~q, using the same similarity function as described in Assignment #2. As a result, you will get a
ranked list of sentences. You can now generate the essay for the question based on the top-ranked sentences,
such that the length of all result sentences combined is shorter or equal to the requested length (e.g., ≤ 500
words). For the output (essay) this ranked list of sentences is then sorted: first by document, and then by
its original position in the document, so that sentences appear in their original order.1
Congratulations, you now have your very own automatic summarization system. It is generating a special
kind of summary, called a focused summary, which answers a specific question of a user, given a set of
documents.2 And if you can make your program smarter, maybe someone will even buy it. . .
1That is, if s1 appeared before s2 in a document, it is printed before s2 in the summary, even if s2 has a higher rank than s1.
2There have been international competitions on developing systems solving this problem, see for example the DUC/TAC
competitions organized by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which were partially supported
by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), see e.g. and
In 2013, Yahoo! bought the “Summly” summarization app developed by 17-year-old Nick D’Aloisio for US $30 million.
COMP 345 Fall 2017 Assignment #3
Coding guidelines. Develop your program according to the following specification:
a) For all classes, make sure you properly separate your system into header (.h) and implementation (.cpp)
files. Put each class into its own translation unit. You are free in the choice of an IDE, but your code must
be standard, cross-platform C++ code.
b) Document all your classes and functions with Doxygen.
c) For your classes, follow object-oriented design principles as discussed in the course; in particular make
data members private unless you have a good reason not to; use friend functions where appropriate to
access private members; access private members in derived classes through protected functions, and make
proper use of inheritance (e.g., use virtual functions for polymorphism and do not override non-virtual
functions in publicly derived classes).
d) Write three separate main programs, using the same classes (see e) below): a new summarizer.cpp for
Task 3, as well as updated versions of indexing.cpp (renamed) that implements Task 1 from Assignment 1
and googler.cpp for the search Task 2 (you will have to demo all three main programs).
e) Design your new code around the following classes and methods (classes that are not mentioned work as
defined for Assignment #2):
Class index item: Introduce a new abstract base class (ABC) index item that has two subclasses:
document (works as defined for Assignment #2) and sentence. Class sentence has an additional
private field pos, which is the start position of the sentence (character offset) within its document.
Provide an accessor function getPos. It also overrides size to return the number of words in the
sentence. Move code that is common to both subclasses into the base class.
Class abstract tokenizer: Introduce a new abstract base class abstract tokenizer with two subclasses:
word tokenizer and sentence tokenizer. The word tokenizer works like the tokenizer in Assignment #2, splitting the input into words. The sentence tokenizer splits its input text into sentences.
Pay attention to abbreviations in texts: for example, “Dr. Witte teaches COMP 345” must not be
split into two sentences!
Class indexer also becomes an abstract base class. Subclasses are document indexer and sentence indexer.
The document indexer works like defined in Assignment #2, indexing and querying complete documents. The sentence indexer splits documents into sentences while building the index and queries
the resulting sentence-term matrix. Change the operator[] to return an *index item, i.e., a pointer
to an index item. Override the query function for the sentence indexer, so that the second int
argument now defines the maximum total words in the returned sentences (e.g., when you set it to 500
words, it will return as many top-ranked sentences as possible to fit in the total length of 500 words).
Class query result: A query result is now a tuple of (*index item, score).
You code must make use of polymorphism, where appropriate. For all these classes, overload the inserter
(operator<<) to provide meaningful debug output. You can add additional classes if you like, but these
must not duplicate the functionality of the classes above. As for Assignment #2, you are responsible for
coming up with an object-oriented design that makes good use of these classes, so that they collaboratively
solve the stated tasks (e.g., using the mentioned CRC method).


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