Issue No. 04 - July/August (1998 vol. 13)
DOI Bookmark: http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/5254.708435
<p>Modern telecommunications equipment is highly modular and can scale to a wide range of applications. Usually, the equipment's cost and complexity requires that it be manufactured-to-order, or at least assembled-to-order. In this context, orders double as specifications, describing what should be manufactured as well as how the product should be installed. Producing a correct and complete order for such equipment can be challenging when requirements are incomplete, inconsistent, or when the final product is large and complicated. A good order is technically correct and meets customer requirements for network capacity and growth without over-engineering. Incomplete configurations can lead to cost overruns if the missing elements are discovered during manufacturing. If they are not, faulty products can result. Either way, the customers are unhappy.</p> <p>We have tackled the configuration problem for a number of large telecommunications products sold by AT&T and Lucent Technologies. Our Prose configurators are based on Classic, a description-logics-based knowledge-representation system developed at AT&T Bell Laboratories. Classic is freely available for academic purposes, and commercially available for other purposes, at http://www.research.att.com/sw/tools/classic. AT&T has distributed Classic to more than 100 universities; it is also in use for internal projects at AT&T, Lucent, and NCR. Implementations are available in LISP, C++, and C.</p> <p>Classic is part of a description-logic family that was developed with the goal of balancing usability, expressivity, and complexity. We have found it to be well suited to our configurator needs. Because it attempts to provide predictable performance in all cases, Classic is less expressive than many description-logic systems, but it has been widely used in both industrial applications and academic systems. Some of our configurators have been in use since 1990. They have processed more than $4 billion in orders and have many documented many benefits, including reduced order processing time, reduced staffing, and product-knowledge consistency checking.</p>
J. R. Wright and D. L. McGuinness, "An Industrial Strength Description Logics-Based Configurator Platform," in IEEE Intelligent Systems, vol. 13, no. , pp. 69-77, 1998.