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Experiments With Caché Lead to Virtual Science Lab

Object-based technology gives new flexibility to e-learning


Eton UK—April 16, 2002—How do you learn science without a laboratory? An innovative new Internet-based application using Caché post-relational database technology from InterSystems is enabling students to do just this – at anytime and at their own pace.

Late Nite Labs Ltd has just deployed its first virtual science laboratory at Bar Ilan University, Tel Aviv. “Of course, nothing replaces a student’s experience in a real lab,” says David Jaffe, CEO and founder, “but this virtual lab allows for more active learning to take place than ever before.”

Jaffe explained how Caché’s object methodology allows users to create and manage the lab, track and recreate live actions such as pouring one solution into another, and perform chemical reactions and real-time measurements.

“One of the most important innovations of this application lies in the distillation of general scientific laws and models into a generic simulation platform,” Jaffe said. “While several academic programs are testing laboratory simulations for teaching chemistry, none have the power and flexibility that comes from using this approach. Caché has enabled us to build object classes and methods that are reusable for many scientific disciplines. The programmable Flash interface controls user events, but all the simulation logic lies within Caché”

The virtual lab user interface is built with a Macromedia Flash™, so that all an instructor or student needs is a Web browser and the Flash plug in. It presents all necessary tools, such as chemicals, glassware, and instruments above a lab “bench” where all experiments take place. As these are dragged down to the bench, a new instance of each object is created.

Instructors can log into a lab manager function that provides management tools for creating, editing, copying, and deleting lab exercises. The application provides a collection of ready-to-use labs, but instructors can also customise these or create completely new ones.

“This is a unique use of a database platform as a simulation engine with mathematical models running in real time,” said Jaffe.

“This application shows the true flexibility and potential of object-based technology – and Caché in particular,” says InterSystems UK country manager, Graham Frost. “The idea of e-learning is currently attracting considerable interest across both academic and business circles. This Late Nite Labs application offers such a realistic and visual way of learning, and is both easy to use and to manage, that I can foresee significant demand worldwide.”

About InterSystems
Headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., InterSystems Corporation (www.InterSystems.com) is the leading provider of high-performance database systems for Web applications, with over four million users worldwide. InterSystems’ flagship product, CACHÉ, is a post-relational database with a multidimensional data and application server offering ultra-fast and massively scalable objects and SQL. CACHÉ features breakthrough rapid development technology for building objects and object applications.

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Trademark Notes:  Caché is a trademark of InterSystems Corporation.  Other trademarks belong to their respective owners.

Editorial Contacts
Josie Pearson
WhiteOaks
01252 727313
josiep@whiteoaks.co.uk