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March 3, 1988

TEXMAC MICROEXPLORER: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE FOR THE MASSES…

By CBR Staff Writer

The microExplorer represents a significant milestone in the integration of symbolic and conventional computing, declared Texas Instruments president and chief executive Jerry Junkins at the Dallas launch of the new artificial intelligence workstation (CI No 878). The machine takes advantage of the fact that Apple Computer Inc’s Macintosh II computer is built around Texas Instruments’ NuBus to support the Texas 32-bit Lisp microprocessor as a co-processor to the 68020 in the Macintosh, crashing the entry price into high-performance symbolic computing. We believe that this kind of cost-effective delivery vehicle will facilitate the widespread deployment of expert systems and other artificial intelligence applications, said Junkins: Texas is looking for the machine to increase the market for artificial intelligence systems by 500% to 1,000%. The MicroExplorer will bear both Apple and Texas logos, and will be marketed by the Texas Data Systems Group with encouragement from Apple – and Ferranti Computer Systems, selling the Inference Corp Automated Reasoning Tool in Europe, is thrilled at the prospects opened up by the new machine. The co-processor supports up to 12Mb of main memory and plugs into a single NuBus slot so that existing Macintosh users can upgrade – for about $14,000. Texas Instruments has developed software that enables MacDOS and the Explorer operating system to run concurrent ly, to run co operatively, and to exchange data. A runtime version of the Explorer environment is included with the board or system, and full development software is available. The base system with 2Mb Mac II, a 40Mb disk and 4Mb on the Lisp co-processor costs around $21,000 – Computer Systems News was a bit optimistic about the pricing. A version with 21 mono screen, 4Mb Explorer memory, three 80Mb disks and development software sells for $37,500. European deliveries start late in the second quarter. No value was given for the value-added reseller contract signed by Texas with Apple, but it is one of the biggest such pacts yet on the Mac.

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