Acton, Massachusetts-based Bechtel Software Inc has launched itself into the expert systems market by merging its development and sales activities with the Bechtel AI Institute in San Francisco. The Institute was set up in 1986 by the Bechtel Group to conduct in-house research, development, and the promotion of expert systems technology. It also offers a number of training and consultancy services, and markets and supports the Nexpert/Object rule and object-based expert system shell, developed by Neuron Data of Palo Alto, California. The product runs across a range of machines including IBM ATs, PS/2s, and compatibles, Apple Mac IIs, DEC VAXstations, Apollo Computer and Sun Microsystems Unix workstations, the IBM RT, and Hewlett Packard’s HP9000 family. Bechtel Software’s president John Lucas says the move will eventually enable the company to offer its customers affordable knowledge-based systems, and stay on the cutting-edge of technology. Two-year-old Bechtel Software markets and distributes a number of project management and computer-aided design software products, and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bechtel Group. In the UK, the Nexpert/Object shell is marketed by its London-based subsidiary Bechtel Ltd; prices for the micro versions start at UKP4,000, and at UKP7,500 for the DEC-VAX, IBM RT or Unix workstation equivalent.
In the US, Bechtel Software has also added a Unix version of its Panorama Plans and Schedules module from its 14-module Synergy project control system, developed for use with Oracle Corp’s Oracle relational database manager. The Unix version, initially for Hewlett-Packard HP9000s, joins the DEC VMS, MS-DOS and Prime Computer Primos versions of Paranorama. The new version enables HP9000 users to equip themselves with project management tools, without needing to go to the expense of adopting a new operating system. Customised reorts, containing various graphs and charts displayed in user-defined colours and textures, can be created interactively with the Panorama graphics options, claims Bechtel, which did not give any prices.