LPA was formed in 1980 to exploit the results emerging from the logic programming research team of Prof. Bob Kowalski at Imperial College, London, which, among others, included Brian D Steel, Clive Spenser and Diane Reeve, all of whom remain with the company to this day. Since then, LPA has continued to develop and market advanced software tools and is now firmly established as one of the world's leading supplier of commercial software products and solutions in the areas of Expert Systems and Artificial Intelligence.
LPA's initial product was micro-PROLOG, written by Frank McCabe, and which was the world's first Prolog system for micro-computers. It was very popular and sold several thousands of licences. LPA's current software range includes advanced Prolog compiler systems designed and implemented by Brian, together with the Flex expert system toolkit, Prolog++, the Flint fuzzy logic toolkit, ProWeb Server and various GUI and data mining tools, written by assorted members of the LPA team and maintained and updated by Alan Westwood. These are available on Windows and the Web, and allow developers to build, test and deliver both complete applications or embeddable, intelligent components.
In 1993, LPA licensed Flex to ICL as part of their ProcessWise range of process modelling tools. ProcessWise WorkBench was used by many large institutions including Barclays Bank, Northern Telecom and Greater Manchester Police. In 1995, the Open University adopted Flex as the basis for the course, "T396: Artificial Intelligence for Technology". This popular course, which runs until 2006, aims to teach Artificial intelligence and Knowledge-based systems and introduces the concepts and applications of rules, handling uncertainty (including Bayesian updating, certainty theory and fuzzy logic), object-oriented systems and intelligent agents.
Also in 1993, LPA began STAR, a 3 year DTI-funded collaborative research project with ICRF and LHASA UK in the area of risk analysis and carcinogenicity. It's aim was to design a computer system that could take a mixture of different toxicological and related data types which were of varying degrees of accuracy and draw conclusions about the hazard or risk that it represented.
In 1996, the DTI awarded LPA a Smart award to develop ScaffoldIT (Patent Pending), a tool for building Web-based applications. As a spin-off to this, LPA developed the LPA ProWeb Server to support the development of intelligent web sites. In 1998, LPA was awarded a follow-on grant to further develop ScaffoldIT as a tool for assembling complex personalised documents like policy schedules, legal contracts, complex proposals over the Web. ScaffoldIT is marketed by Business Integrity Ltd. as part of its DealBuilder product range which has been adopted by many of the world's leading law firms.
In 1998 released DataMite, a Windows-based data mining tool and an associated toolkit. In 1999, LPA released its Agent toolkit and associated TCP/IP library. In February 2000, LPA commenced work on Forfait, Forest Fire Risk and Hazard Assessment: A Holistic Approach, funded under the CEC Information Society Technologies Programme.
In 2000, LPA started 2 new projects both funded under the DTI Management of Information program. Frisc aims to harness the best experts' skills in fraud detection, and in seeing anomalous claims and new fraud variants, in order to enable insurers to regain control of claims costs. Rems-ST aims to develop counter-measures to retail staff theft, by harnessing industry expertise with leading-edge AI technology, knowledge management techniques, and internet services.
In 2002, LPA released WebFlex, a web-based version of their popular expert system toolkit, Flex. This is currently being used to deliver on-line expert systems and advise within many different projects. In 2004, LPA annouced a new graphical charting tool, VisiRule, which lets people draw their decision support systems, rather than have to write the code themselves.
In 2005, the original TCP/IP library and Agent Toolkit were abandoned, to be replaced by Chimera, a highly efficient and versatile agent development and deployment system, built on newly implemented, native TCP/IP routines in the Prolog compiler.
LPA customers include: InferMed - who have developed AREZZO a leading-edge decision support tool, used to provide decision support to front line clinical specialists; IMS - who have developed XLSIOR, a reinsurance application; Lateral Systems Ltd - who developed Underwriter's WorkBench; Valdis Krebs Associates - who have developed InFlow, a powerful social network analysis package.
One of the largest expert systems applications has been produced in conjunction with, IBiS for the NHS Pensions Agency. NHSPA is an agency of the Department of Health with responsibility for handling all of the NHS pension requirements. To do this, IBiS and LPA have helped develop, port and maintain a suite of major applications and related systems which are in daily usage by up to several hundred staff. Since their inception in 1989, Charms and related systems have handled over 10 million benefit award, estimate and associated calculations.
Other notable LPA customers include: ABB, Applied-intelligence-Atelier, AT&T, Boeing, BP, BT, Dutch Navy, EMSI, GEC, GTE, Hynomics, KnowGravity, Philips, Praxis, PRI, Roche, Siemens, SRL, Telcordia, US Army, and US West.
LPA software is also very popular in education throughout the world and forms the basis for many courses in AI, Expert Systems, Knowledge Representation, Decision Support Systems and, of course, Prolog.