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Technology / AI and automation


AICorp of Waltham, Massachusetts has a new graphic user interface facilty to be used with its Knowledge Base Management System, KBMS/PC. There are two tools incorporated in this, one specifically for the applications developer and the other for the user. Using OS/2 Presentation Manager, Developer Graphics is a graphics tool for design, development and analysis of KBMS applications. Included is a graphical editor, used in conjunction with a mouse, which enables developers to view its objects and their relationships throughout their development process. It can also be used to view the structure of existing databases, such as IBM’s DB2, and shows the inter-relation among sets of rules. The user orientated Active Objects facility uses object-oriented programming techniques to link knowledge base rules with graphics. Icons and graphics are now applicable to expert systems and instead of entering text, a mouse-driven graphics interface is used to interact with the underlying application. Coupled with a Co-operative Processing capability, to be announced soon, developers will be able to deliver KBMS applications with personal computer-based graphic user interfaces and still access mainframe processing and database records. The company visualises a network-based data processing environment for the next decade and hopes to launch a system whereby information can be accessed from anywhere within a network, whether it be mainframe, personal computer or VAX, and eventually many different machines, without specifying where the information is. This will mean that companies can use particular types of networked computers for specific tasks and the information produced will be available without the need to know its location. AICorp’s ambition for the future is to increase portability in knowledge-based systems. It has recently entered the DEC VAX/VMS market with the KBMS/VAX Knowledge Base Management System and has signed a joint marketing agreement with Oracle Corp – it says that Oracle was attracted by the fact that AICorp’s products are compatible with DB2. AICorp’s mission is to apply artificial intelligence to commercial applications to be used mainly in the data proccessing industry, using the technology to develop practical business solutions where normal procedural methods are uneconomical. Knowledge-based systems use knowledge, encoded in the form of rules and facts to describe a problem, and apply inferencing techniques to the knowledge to search for a solution. The KBMS/PC for OS/2 with Developer Graphics will be available in the UK first quarter of next year, the company promises that versions for additional window management environments will be available at a later date, and the system will be priced at UKP5,500 for development licence and UKP365 for each run-time licence, with the Active Object and Developer Graphics provided at no additional charge. AICorp Europe, which is unus5aely locally financed – by Schroder Ventures – rather than being a wholly-owned subsidiary of the US parent (CI No 1,181), presently has nine Knowledge Base Management Systems in the UK, and hopes to see this rise 30% to 50% by the end of 1990. – Elvadia Tolputt

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