IEEE Computer Volume 16 Number 5 -- NEW APPLICATIONS & RECENT RESEARCH
Original Publication Date: 1983-May-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-11
Software Patent Institute
Demetrios Michalopoulos: AUTHOR [+2]
NEW APPLICATIONS & RECENT RESEARCH * On site system helps decontaminate Three Mile Island * Physicians 'play doctor' on simulation system
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NEW APPLICATIONS & RECENT RESEARCH
New Applications Editor: Demetrios Michalopoulos
California State University, Fullerton
On site system helps decontaminate Three Mile Island
Decontaminating and defueling the damaged unit at the Three Mile Island nuclear generating plant is a massive project without precedent. The prime contractor for the task, Bechtel National, is using one of Digital Equipment Corporation's first VAX-11/730 systems to help plan and manage work that is expected to span the next three to four years.
The single-cabinet VAX system, installed in August 1982, is housed in one of the four Bechtel trailers near TMl's southern pair of cooling towers. Nearly all project planning is being coordinated from this site.
Bechtel is running VAX/VMS and Mapps management planning software developed by Structural Programming, Inc. Mapps runs on PDP-I I and VAX systems and is jointly marketed by DEC and SPI.
According to D. Dean Ritter, project planning manager for the Decontamination and Restoration Department of Bechtel, the VAX system is needed at the jobsite because a prcject that requires changes as often as this one does has to be planned by people intimately involved in the daily site activities.
W. Randolph Musick, Jr., a senior engineer at Bechtel who was charged with selecting the system, explains what he was looking for. "We felt that the engineer must be able to interface directly with the system, without going through the customary computer technician. The engineer is the person with the most knowledge, so a system that lets him do the work himself can supply management with the most timely information. Mapps removes the middle-man because it is so userfriendly. I was producing useful results the very first time I sat at the terminal -- all without opening any documentation."
Several competing systems were evaluated before Mapps was selected. Compared with other interactive management systems, Mapps provides the same power with greater growth potential and better management graphics -- all at a lower price, Musick maintains. VAX computers were determined best for Mapps because of the graphics support and because the system has enough power for
A smaller computer than the VAX-I 1/730 would have forced Bechtel engineers to program much more narrowly, and would have limited them to short-term planning. With Mapps on the VAX, engineers can plan up to 10 years if necessary. With over 130M bytes of disk storage, the 730 will allow engineers to include more and more project detail.
The VAX-11/730 is small an...