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Hp&cs: an Expert System Configurator for the IBM 9370

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000034874D
Original Publication Date: 1989-May-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Jan-27
Document File: 5 page(s) / 62K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Arnold, V: AUTHOR [+9]

Abstract

HP&CS (Hardware Placement and Connection Service) is a knowledge based expert system configurator for the IBM 9370 system. HP&CS is executed when placing an initial order for a system or when upgrading an installed system to add required quantities of the prerequisite components, to assure that the system can be assembled as ordered, and to allow the marketing representative to quote an accurate price to the customer. This is a critical function because it identifies the hardware content of the sales contract which is signed between IBM and the customer. HP&CS is also executed in the 9370 manufacturing locations to validate the orders received from the field and to generate the location, connection, and hierarchy data required to assemble the systems. HP&CS is run at two unique points in the order cycle.

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Hp&cs: an Expert System Configurator for the IBM 9370

HP&CS (Hardware Placement and Connection Service) is a knowledge based expert system configurator for the IBM 9370 system. HP&CS is executed when placing an initial order for a system or when upgrading an installed system to add required quantities of the prerequisite components, to assure that the system can be assembled as ordered, and to allow the marketing representative to quote an accurate price to the customer. This is a critical function because it identifies the hardware content of the sales contract which is signed between IBM and the customer. HP&CS is also executed in the 9370 manufacturing locations to validate the orders received from the field and to generate the location, connection, and hierarchy data required to assemble the systems. HP&CS is run at two unique points in the order cycle. When run as a marketing tool, it is called from CF9370 which supports ordering the 9370. The structure of HP&CS in this interactive VM environment is shown in the figure. HP&CS is also run in the manufacturing environment where it executes as a batch job under the MVS operating system and processes a concatenated file of input orders passed from the plant order processing system.

In the batch MVS mode, each of the functional pieces of HP&CS (shown in the figure) is executed as a separate job step which performs its described function consecutively against the full set of input orders. Layer 1: The User Interface The user interface layer of the 9370 configurator asks the necessary questions to determine what is to be ordered (initial order) or added and/or removed (upgraded order). It generates a list of machine types, models, and features to HP&CS to describe the function being proposed (processor model, DASD, tape drives, memory capacity, and communication lines). It also provides a description of the customer's existing configuration (if an upgrade is being ordered) and a processing instruction for actions being requested. When HP&CS has completed processing, it passes a completed order back to the user interface layer (Layer 1). Layer 1 will calculate and display a priced order to the user and allow automatic entry of the order into the IBM product ordering systems.

Layer 2: Interpret Inputs/Create Outputs Layer 2 consists of programs which run in the user's virtual machine. It is a system-independent, table driven function that interprets the machine types, models, and features for an order into a set of functional components recognized by the rules base. Layer 2 interrogates the processing instruction passes from Layer 1, determines the action(s) being requested, and then calls one or all of the disconnected service machines which make up Layer 3 to request a specific configuration subtask. When all requested Layer 3 subsystems have completed, Layer 2 passes error, warning, and informational messages back to the user layer and creates an output order list. The list contain...