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France Telecom

Recife Computer-Aided Network Management

Recife, a Decision Support System (DSS) built as an internal tool by France Telecom, manages and routes all demands for new digital and video connections in the Greater Paris network.

France Telecom is one of the world's leading telecommunication service providers, operating principally in France and Europe. At present, France Telecom has approximately 34 million fixed telephone lines, including 3 million ISDN channels. It is also France's largest mobile phone service provider with approximately 12 million subscribers.

In the past, applications similar to Recife were written in Fortran or Cobol and were difficult to use and adapt. So nearly a decade ago, France Telecom created Recife in an effort to develop a decision support system that was highly interactive, rather than a static algorithm. Recife Network

They developed Recife entirely with Common Lisp, CLOS and CLIM, first on Symbolics machines and, since 1997, with Allegro CL on UNIX (Solaris 2.x).

Recife is a graphical application featuring menus and dialog boxes, with results displayed in textual or graphical forms. The application is used forthe transfer of internal information, report generation, state-of-the-network statistics, and more.

The main features of Recife include:

  • Capability to take into account the users' knowledge of the network (engineering rules) through an Information System tool.
  • Ability to quickly evolve solutions when changes occur within the network.

Luiz Burity, Senior Research Engineer at France Telecom R&D, and his team believe that the Allegro Common Lisp environment contains a rich set of tools which permit rapid development and flexibility:

  • Recife is updated on a regular basis. Using Allegro CL is a great advantage for France Telecom developers, allowing them to modify the application while running.
  • Recife is a multi-user application. Allegro CL Runtime capabilities allow a large number of users to work on the same application at the same time without interference from each other. Users can increase the performance of the application at will, by adding more workstations to the network. New users can be hired without any technical problems.
  • France Telecom also used Allegro CLIM to make Recife a very interactive application. It assists users, guiding them by providing several satisfactory solutions to a problem without reducing the flexibility of selecting their own solution.

France Telecom R&D, the research and development center, is the locomotive of innovation for France Telecom and its subsidiaries, in France and abroad. Its mission: to anticipate technological revolutions and revolutions in usage; to innovate to provide clients the best in telecommunications; to imagine today, the technologies that will be part of our daily lives tomorrow.

By its representation power, efficiency, flexibility, robustness and its incremental development mode, Lisp is particularly well adapted to meet Recife requirements and constraints now and in the future.

"We like to use Lisp for mainly its feasibility, efficiency and easiness as well as safety to use (can always be modified with no risks). Lisp is a very powerful language, easy to develop," says Luiz Burity.

For more information about France Telecom R&D, contact Luiz Burity at

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