As reported briefly late last month (CI No 1,002), one-year-old Whetstone, London N-based Software Generation International Ltd has announced the addition of Aion Corp’s Aion Development System, ADS, expert system shell, to its existing range of IBM compatible system building tools. Designed to provide programmers with a rule-based development basis for complex applications across a […]
As reported briefly late last month (CI No 1,002), one-year-old Whetstone, London N-based Software Generation International Ltd has announced the addition of Aion Corp’s Aion Development System, ADS, expert system shell, to its existing range of IBM compatible system building tools. Designed to provide programmers with a rule-based development basis for complex applications across a range of IBM environments, the product comprises two components; the Application Building System for building a knowledge base, and the Application Execution System, which combines an inference engine with a set of programs for knowledge base interpretation and distribution. Software’s technical director Phil Rowe describes the building system as a full expert system, offering window-type technology, object cross-references, inference editing options, and full audit trail facilities to enable the user to change his mind, or store consultations. The building component also offers in-built graphics, reports, functions, and the capacity to add words to a system vocabulary. Meanwhile, under the AES execution system, users are provided with a high performance, backward and forward chaining inference engine, full record management, and customisable interfaces. The product can either be run as a separate consultative system on an MS-DOS micro, with developments transmitted to – and executed from – the mainframe, or it can reside on the mainframe, and be called in by developers working at individual terminals. Expert system philosophy Post-announcement, Software took the opportunity to outline its own particular brand of expert system philosophy, to which, it argued, the Aion product fully conforms. Expert systems, according to managing director Vic Morris, should not be viewed as stand-alone technology, but as mainstream productivity aids, with the potential to slot in alongside a company’s existing commercial software – a view which he claims is now manifesting itself as a detectable trend throughout the commercial applications development world. By using inference-based products in this way, he argued, commercial users were finding themselves in a position to address a whole new range of applications, previously considered too complex to build, and too expensive to maintain. The company already acts as the sole UK outlet for Rockville, Maryland-based Sage Software, and forged a significant Sage-based product deal with Learmonth & Burchett Management Systems Plc earlier this year (CI No 851). It also has a distributorship agreement with Micro Focus Plc, which recently joined up with Sage to introduce a workbench, based on Micro Focus’ Cobol (CI Nos 966, 997). Software Generation has no immediate plans to introduce that workbench, but said that any deal of that kind would probab-bly be arranged directly with Micro Focus in the UK. Doubling the workforce to 22, moving to a site closer to the M25 motorway, and achieving a UKP2m turnover are, however, definitely in the plan for the end of the company’s current fiscal year in April.