MCI billing center located in PerrymanPerryman, in Harford...


March 29, 1993|By Steve Auerweck | Steve Auerweck,Staff Writer

MCI billing center located in Perryman

Perryman, in Harford County, is now the home for MCI Communications Corp.'s Eastern billing and revenue-processing center.

MCI touts the facility as one of the most technologically advanced in the country and trots out an array of mind-boggling computer facts to back that up. For example:

* Four IBM ES9000/900 computers can handle 960 million instructions a second, "equal to the processing power of some 48,000 standard personal computers."

* Thirteen robotic tape silos can hold more than 5,000 tapes each, and can retrieve and file a tape in less than 20 seconds.

XTC * The 3 trillion characters of storage capacity on its disks could hold 80,000 sets of encyclopedias, a 40-mile-high stack.

While MCI notes that the center, which was dedicated last week, brings its investment in Harford County to more than $100 million, it is so highly automated that only about 20 people are needed to operate the equipment.

AppleSearch system had roots in Rockville

A full-text retrieval system unveiled by Apple Computer Inc. last week at the CeBIT Computer Fair in Germany has its roots in Rockville.

The AppleSearch system, designed to index large collections of documents for query by content, is built around core technology licensed from Personal Library Software, a 35-person Rockville firm that's been in the business for about a decade.

The Apple version of the software will track a multitude of letters, memos, reports, etc., allowing workers to retrieve them by terms that appear somewhere in the text.

PLS specializes in "intelligent" software that offers a variety of routes into stored data. One might simply look for key phrases or, as PLS' Betty Coyle put it, "use language as we are accustomed to using it." That means, she said, that a question such as "what is the political situation in the Soviet Union today" would produce a reasonable list of likely documents.

The search program uses "relevance ranking" that should present the most useful references first.

Apple's package will come in two parts -- server software, designed to run on the more powerful Macintosh computers such as the Quadra series or the Workgroup Servers released last week, and client software, which lets users set up their queries. It should be available in the third quarter.

PLS' Personal Librarian products run on Macintosh, Microsoft Windows, UNIX and VMS computers.

Deborah Senay, sales manager, says the company's software was recently picked as the search engine for Dow Jones News Retrieval, which has a 150-billion-character data base.

Software stores news on DowVision service

Federal Filings Inc., a Dow Jones Information Services subsidiary in Washington, is selling a Windows-based software package that filters, stores and displays business news broadcast on the DowVision service.

NewsManager for Windows can clip items of interest, and display flash alerts when a user is working in other programs.

It also lets users search through 90 days' worth of data on the computer's hard disk.

Ex-Comsat president heads new company

Joel R. Alper, who retired as president of Comsat Systems Division earlier this year after the division was merged into Comsat Laboratories, is heading a new company, Mobile Datacom Corp. Clarksburg-based Mobile Datacom will offer satellite-based mobile positioning and data communications services.

The company's services will work through compact and hand-held terminals throughout the continental United States and Alaska, and in coastal waters.

"We are confident we're in the right place at the right time with unique service capabilities providing near real-time, one- and two- way nonvoice communications at low rates," Mr. Alper said in a statement.

Goddard among first to buy Cray system

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt will be among the first buyers of the Cray C98 supercomputer, introduced by Cray Research Inc. last week.

The system will be installed in the second half of the year at the NASA Center for Computational Sciences at Goddard. It will be used for projects including global climate change studies, atmospheric/oceanic modeling and astrophysics.

A Cray spokesman said that a person plinking one problem a second into a calculator would take 500 years to do a second's worth of work for the C98.

Internet Talk Radio to make its debut

Publisher O'Reilly & Associates Inc. of Sebastopol, Calif., has teamed up with Sun Microsystems Inc. to further muddle the definition of media.

The two have formed Internet Talk Radio, which will produce programs that will be digitized and beamed through the nation's data highways, for playback through computer speakers.

The first effort, a 30-minute, 15-megabyte interview show with notable Internet figures, is dubbed "Geek of the Week."

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