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Silicon Graphics Adds New Tools, Analytic Abilities in Upgraded Version of MineSet


MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--Silicon Graphics here has released MineSet 2.0, the latest upgrade to its MineSet suite of analytic and visual data mining tools that are widely used in bioinformatics. Among the new features in version 2.0 are Splatviz, a tool that enables users to display scatterplots for data sets with large numbers of points; a drill-through function that allows direct data selection from graphic images as input for further analysis; enhanced analytic capabilities that expand MineSet's value to users; new data handling facilities; Statviz, a statistical reporting tool; a utility that allows the exchange of files between MineSet and SAS; and a facility for launching visualization from web browsers.

Juli Nash, Silicon Graphics' biology market manager, told BioInform that the company sees many opportunities for new version of MineSet in the bioinformatics market. "We see both software opportunities in the MineSet tools, as well as hardware opportunities in the server clients that are required to handle the utilization and the data mining," she commented. "This market has changed dramatically in the last year in adopting these kinds of tools. MineSet has been picked up very aggressively by the bioinformatics community. We know it's in place in at least five major pharmaceuticals and one of our major distributors is Incyte Pharmaceuticals." Incyte offers software that specifically adapts MineSet -- which is not optimized to any particular application -- to the bioinformatics market and integrates it with its own bioinformatics databases.

Users of the current version of MineSet who also have a Silicon Graphics support contract will receive the upgrade at no charge, according to Mark Olson, the MineSet product manager. Those without support contracts will have to pay an upgrade charge of $5,000. The product is now commercially available, he added.

In other news from Silicon Graphics, the Wall Street Journal reported last week that the company will break from its tradition of Unix-based hardware and launch a workstation line based on Intel chips and Microsoft's Windows NT platform. William Kelly, senior vice-president for corporate operations, said the new workstations will incorporate Silicon Graphics' graphics-generating software and some of the hardware subsystems used in its current high-speed graphical computing equipment. The new line will probably become available in the second half of 1998, he added. "Our goal is to be the number one engineering-workstation company, and you can't do that without having an NT product," Kelly observed.

Nash acknowledged that many bioinformatics users will welcome the new, low-end hardware offering. "We have, throughout all of our industries, seen a great strength in the NT solution at the desktop," she commented. "My experience with bioinformatics is that yes, there are, at the desktop, primarily PC's and Macintoshes. We expect the NT workstations to be a constant part of our marketplace." However, the company's primary focus will remain on Unix-based workstations and servers, Nash emphasized.

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