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HyperChem 8 has the capability of being a graphics and GUI provider (including the displaying of results) for a number of third party software packages. These packages may include other ab initio and semi-empirical packages such as GAMESS and MOPAC2007. Included with HyperChem 8 is the copyrighted source code for a number of these interfaces. A standard menu item in HyperChem, "Third-Party Interfaces" executes a standard HyperChem Command Language (HCL) script installed with the product. This script has the pre-defined name, thirdparty.scr. This script can be modified by users to add other third-party applications but comes included with a variety of evolving interfaces. These interfaces uses the elegant "open architecture" features of HyperChem that allow software outside HyperChem to interact and read/write information to/from HyperChem. The interface software is copyrighted "Open Source" software that any HyperChem user can modify to improve the interface or to create a new interface to his/her own software. The interfaces generally allow a user, for example, to run a GAMESS job from within HyperChem, and get back the results for display. The first level of interface, that is included to begin with in HyperChem 8, allows a user to display optimized structures, vibrational spectra and animations of normal modes plus 3D renderings of orbitals, electron densities, and electrostatic potentials. It is to be expected that these interfaces evolve to become richer as users and members of Hypercube, Inc. contribute to their capability.
HyperChem has traditionally operated in a purely interactive mode where a calculation (a back end, e.g. HyperNewton) is connected in a "live fashion" to HyperChem (the front end). This has been the case even when the back end resided on another machine on the network. This is not a terrible limitation since once can run many HyperChem front ends simultaneously if one likes. With HyperChem 8, however, one now has the choice of running a calculation interactively or in Batch mode. In Batch mode the computation is severed and carries on by itself while HyperChem is free to read in a new molecule or continue on in any way it pleases, including spawning more batched jobs. The back ends have been instructed by the front end that they are indeed batch processes and instead of sending their results live to the front end, they create a *.ext file that can be read at any later time into the HyperChem front end to display the results just as if the calculation was run interactively.