The E Equational Theorem Prover

Virtual MCSE FAQ

This page answers frequently asked questions about VMCSE.
  1. What is VMCSE?

    VMCSE (short for Virtual Microsoft Certified Service Engineer) is a web-enabled client-server solution offering help-desk support for personal computers.

    The back end of VMCSE is a highly developed probabilistic expert systems for dealing with support problems for Microsoft Windows products. The program takes a novel approach in that it tries to directly simulate the thought processes usually taking place within a human expert.

    The idea and the first specification of VMCSE has been developed by a group of experts in the field. Original plans for VMCSE suggested a hardware solution to the problem. However, recent advances in the art of software engineering as well as more powerful computers and a better understanding of real MCSEs have enabled us to implement VMCSE completely in software.

  2. Can VMCSE help with other computer problems?

    VMCSE currently is restricted to offer support for the server and desktop operating systems sold by Microsoft.

  3. You are also working on PIT. Is PIT used as an inference engine for VMCSE?

    No. PIT is a very powerful and general tool. In principle, PIT could be used to simulate VMCSE. However, for the specialized task of simulating an MCSE, we were able to implement a much more efficient reasoning engine.

  4. You are also working on E, a theorem prover for first order logic. What is the relationship between E and VMCSE?

    E is currently only useful for reasoning about deterministic, reproducable systems, and hence not suitable for dealing with Microsoft Windows.

  5. What is the difference between VMCSE 1.0, VMCSE 2.X, and VMCSE 3.0?

    VMCSE 2.0 maintained full functional compatibility with VMCSE 1.0. In particular, the back end technology has not changed significantly. However, the front end has been redesigned and moved to the new SASP technology (see below).

    VMCSE 3.0 is another reimplementation, moving to a client-centric solution and modern SAJAX. While much lighter on the server, answer quality is at least as good as for the older versions. VMCSE 3.0 also adds support for Windows 2003 Server.

  6. What was the difference between VMCSE 2.0 und VMCSE 2.1?

    VMCSE 2.1 maintained full functional compatibility with VMCSE 2.0. However, we have extended the backend component architecture to also deal with the newly released Microsoft Windows XP. We are glad that cutting edge AI technology meets cutting edge operating system technology!

  7. The VMCSE web pages are using SASP technology. What is this?

    ASP (Active Server Pages) is a Microsoft extension to HTML that allows the easy inclusion of active content into web pages. However, careful profiling revealed that most web pages never need the full power of ASP. Nevertheless, these web pages pay the full performance penalty that comes with ASP.

    SASP (Static Active Server Pages) is an extension of ASP that is specialized for serving static web pages. This has a variety of advantages over general ASP:

    The most recent version of VMCSE uses SASP only for the FAQ.

  8. But if SASP is for static pages, how do you serve the dynamic content?

    VMCSE up to 2.1 used Active Windows Komponents (AWK), a cutting-edge technology that allows the creation of arbitrary active content. AWK is connected to the SASP pages using the Component Guidance Interface CGI.

    These technologies have been in use within Microsoft, however, the are not yet offered as a product to the general public.

    VMCSE 3.0 moved to Synchronous AJAX (SAJAX for short) to implement a more client-centric design.

  9. Can I get the source code to VMCSE?

    Unfortunately, VMCSE is a proprietary solution. We cannot currently afford to reveal the secrets embedded in the back end. However, we are looking for sponsors who buy out our technology in order to donate it to the public.

  10. Are there ports of VMCSE to other platforms?

    Currently, there is a port of VMCSE 2.0 to the PALM platform. Here is a link to the product page. This port has been donated by James Wilkinson and is not supported by us (except morally).

  11. Is Microsoft directly involved with the project?

    At the moment, no. However, as stated above, we are quite ready to accept contributions from almost anybody.