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Technology / AI and automation


In a major product diversification, Unix supermicro specialist Plexus Computers Inc, San Jose, California is today scheduled to introduce a system that brings together its Unix machines with AT-alike workstations under MS-DOS 3.1 and MS-Windows, the Informix relational database on juke-box optical as well as magnetic disk drives, and scanners, optical character readers and facsimile machines using the Group III and IV compression alogorithms. First customer for the mixed mode database system – called Extended Data Processing or XDP – is the US West Direct unit that handles Yellow Pages directories for all the telephone operating companies in the US West Inc group; the US West contract is worth $2.5m, and will pay for itself in 12 months according to the phone company. The processor used can be a new Plexus P/95 system, based on the 25MHz 68020 and VMEbus, supporting 48Mb memory and up to 128 users or the existing P/75 based on the 12.5MHz 68020 for production work, or the low-end 68010-based P/55 for development work. The optical juke-box systems come from Cygnet Systems Inc according to Computerworld; source of the other bought-in parts has not been disclosed. The linking software was developed jointly by Plexus and Informix; the system is tied together via Ethernet. In the UK, the XDP system will start at UKP60,000 with a P/55 processor, rising to UKP750,000, and the company says it has received 30 inquiries in the UK alone, typically regarding multiple installations. In the US, the P/95 costs $57,200 with 4Mb, 16 ports, 142Mb disk and cartridge tape. A typical production XDP costs $150,000 to $200,000 with four stations, a scanner, software and a laser printer.

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