Artificial-intelligence "software assistants" aimed at preventing computers from crashing at the turn of the century have been developed by US company Software Revolution, easing the task of reprogramming and testing millions of lines of suspect code in the time left until 2000.

The Revolution 2000 suite developed by Software Revolution is a set of generic tools which can be used with any programming language with relatively little adaptation, with the primary aim of dramatically cutting testing and verification time.

Although not all year 2000 software problems are amenable to automatic detection, the tools can be used to identify the majority of contexts in which the date-change is used in code by using pattern-recognition techniques. A re-write engine is then applied to regenerate date-change resistant code.

One of the tools, the verification and testing assistant, allows identification of specific danger areas for physical system testing, dramatically cutting the time needed to test equipment.

Software Revolution's adaptation tools are on limited release to the US Federal Aviation Administration and US Air Force. "We are currently negotiating with Lockheed Martin to supply an assembly language version," says Trevor Bonjour, vice-president of the company. The company has versions for the Ada, C, Cobol and Fortran programming languages and is working on other common languages such as Jovial.

With the initial proof-of-concept stage due to end on 31 December, Bonjour expects to secure a further $800,000 from the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency for "Phase II".

Source: Flight International