March 26-28, 2008 at Stanford University, California

Session 1

Business Process Modelling, Task Management, and the Semantic Link

Uwe Riss, Ingo Weber and Olaf Grebner

In the current paper we describe how to combine web services and task patterns in a joint infrastructure. The central intention is to make up executable business processes by generic pattern based web services which establish a relation between service infrastructure and task management. The latter ensures utmost flexibility for involved users. Semantic technologies are the common ground which enables the integration of the two approaches. Thus gaps in service compositions can be closed and later completed by automated services if a demand is asserted.

Slides

Business Processes and Rules - An eGovernment Case-Study

Wilfrid Utz, Robert Woitsch, Dimitris Karagiannis and Andrea Leutgeb

This paper introduces the approach of the EU-funded project FIT (FP6-IST-27090) on adaptive processes in the public administrations, identifies requirements on the design environment to model adaptive processes and discusses the integration of different modeling languages.
The integration of modeling languages is based on the necessity to design business processes and business rules in the context of e-government within a comprehensive e-government modeling system.
The well-known meta model approach has been selected to enable the integration of business rule models and business process models to support the adaptive execution of workflows.

Slides

 

Commentator: Matthias Kaiser

 

Session 2

Semantic Description of Distributed Business Processes

Sudhir Agarwal, Sebastian Rudolph and Andreas Abecker

Today, more and more business processes are distributed in nature, collaborating with business processes running in other organizations. Organizations have realized that the mere execution of business processes is not enough. Rather, one needs to ensure that the business processes comply to organization policies. On the other hand, the fast growing market cries for automated methods to find and collaborate with new business processes. In order to cope with these requirements, business processes need to be described declaratively and formally. Recently, formalisms like BPEL and BPMN have been proposed for this purpose. However, either they lack formal semantics or their semantics cover only the temporal part of the process neglecting the involved data objects.
In this paper, we present a mathematically sound formalism for describing distributed business processes. The formalism is a novel combination of the polyadic pi-calculus and the description logic SHOIN(D) for describing functional properties and semantic-SPKI/SDSI certificates for describing non-functional properties of processes. Hence, our formalism allows to model dynamic behavior of business processes along with the resources (information or real world object) involved during the execution of business processes and allows modeling of non-functional properties of business processes in an interoperable and provable way enabling users to define and reason about their trust in them.

Slides

E-Government for Distributed Autonomous Administrations

Daniela Feldkamp, Wolf Siberski, Barbara Thönssen and Holger Wache

E-Government is no longer a concern of single public administration units. State wide E-Government strategies, E-Government architectures and frameworks are established now and public administrations are willing to suit the action to the word. Also semantically enriched techniques for service description, discovery and invocation are ready to come into practice.
The challenge is the appropriate use of all the relevant parts to meet the technical, organizational and legal requirements.
The paper at hand provides an approach how available techniques can be implemented in a light weighted way to build 'one-stop E-Government services' on completely decentralized components. Thus allows to leave the control to where it belongs (every service contributor is responsible for its parts), to execute a service according to the local ICT but at the same time to meet the requirements for automated cross-administration cooperation.
The introduced approach is illustrated with the example of Switzerland.

Slides

 

Commentator: Manuel Lama Penin

 

Session 3

SBVR Use Cases

Mark Linehan

Semantics of Business Vocabulary and Rules (SBVR) is a new standard from the OMG that combines aspects of ontologies and of rule systems. This paper summarizes SBVR, reviews some possible use cases for SBVR, and discusses ways that vocabularies and rules given in SBVR could re-late to established ontology standards, to rules technologies, and to other IT implementation technologies. It also describes experience with an SBVR prototype that transforms a subset of SBVR rules types to several types of runtime implementations.

Slides

Towards a Semantic Framework for Business Activity Monitoring and Management

Claire Costello and Owen Molloy

Process performance management and continuous improvement initiatives can be significantly enhanced by real-time performance, quality and traceability information. For example, the focus of a Six Sigma quality programme is to reduce variability using statistical methods to highlight variance.
Current process modelling languages such as XPDL and BPEL provide little or no support for the inclusion of detailed process performance metrics. This paper describes a generic framework using event-based process modelling to support the definition and inclusion of performance metrics and targets within process models. The iWISE implementation of this framework is an XML and Web services-based infrastructure that uses this event-based model for integrating distributed processes and enhancing process visibility using real-time process metrics.
Users can adjust alert thresholds on key process metrics in real time. It uses an integrated rules engine, leveraging semantic technologies such as OWL and SWRL to write rules which are tested as process-related events occur in real-time.

 

Commentator: Hans-Georg Fill

 

Session 4

Designing Business Rules for Mediation - A Process towards Agent-mediated Business Coordination

Zheng Zhao, Virginia Dignum and Frank Dignum

Business process integration is a very active research area, in which mediation is one of the fundamental architectural choices. Mediators have difficulties to design mediation services that meet the requirements of the different stakeholders. Business rules play an important role in the decision process of mediation. In this paper, we analyze the role of business rules in the decision process, and use some examples to illustrate how business rules should be designed in order to help the decision-making of organizations.

Slides

Rules for Making Sense of Events: Design Issues for High-Level Event Query and Reasoning Languages

François Bry and Michael Eckert

Events play an essential role in business processes and some forms of business rules. Often they require detection of complex events, that is, events or situations that cannot be inferred from looking only at single events but that manifest themselves in certain combinations of several events. This entails a natural need for high-level query and reasoning languages for complex events. This position paper explores issues related to the design of such languages.

Slides

Reasonsing About Provenance with OWL and SWRL Rules

Robert McGrath and Joe Futrelle

Science and engineering are information intensive collaborative enterprises which have their own complex and rapidly evolving processes for creating, discovering, and analyzing digital artifacts. To support multiple contexts (Virtual Organizations), infrastructure must provide general purpose mechanisms for reasoning about processes and data. This paper considers one important aspect of this problem, recording and reasoning about provenance. The Open Provenance Model (OPM) provides a case study for how to use Semantic Web technology and rules to implement semantic metadata. This paper discusses a binding of the OPM written in OWL, with rules written in SWRL. These standards are useful, but cannot implement the entire OPM. However, the use of RDF enables the development of 'hybrid' systems that use OWL, SWRL, and other semantic software, interoperating through a shared space of RDF triples.

Slides

 

Commentator: Mark Linehan

 

Session 5

Developing a Web-Based Application using OWL and SWRL

Martin O'Connor, Ravi Shankar, Csongor Nyulas, Samson Tu and Amar Das

Data integration is central in Web application development because these applications typically deal with a variety of information formats. Ontology-driven applications face the additional challenge of integrating these multiple formats with the information stored in ontologies. A number of semantic mappings are requires to reconcile the variety of formats to produce a coherent overall system. To address these mappings we have developed a number of open source tools that support transformations between some of the common formats encountered when developing an ontology-based Web application. The Semantic Web Rule Language (SWRL) is a central building block in these tools. We describe these tools and illustrate their use in the development of a prototype Web-based application.

Slides

Making BPEL flexible

Nishant Singh and Daniela Feldkamp

The Business Process Execution Language is a process modelling language using standard control constructs to define a process flow. But today enterprises have to be flexible and adaptable to scope with increasing change, uncertainty and unpredictability. Automating agile business processes is still a challenge as they are normally knowledge intensive, little automated but compliance relevant. Service-oriented architecture (SOA) inherently enables flexibility and adaptivity through choreography of services where each service can select and invoke any other web services. Web services are basic building blocks for building online processes. In this paper we introduce an approach combining BPEL, Business rules and semantic web technologies to achieve adaptivity.

Slides

 

Commentator: Florian Lautenbacher

 

Session 6

Enriching Workflows Specification with Problem-Solving Knowledge

Juan Vidal and Manuel Lama Penin

Usually a workflow is described from its control structure and its participants but without taking into account the knowledge used to solve it. This paper outlines a new framework for workflows specification which extends the Unified Problem-solving Method description Language and approaches workflows design from a knowledge perspective. Within this framework, the resources and the processes that define the traditional workflow framework are defined as knowledge components and are enriched with a knowledge dimension that deals with the definition of the knowledge that is used both to solve the workflow and to schedule the resource assignments.


Semantic Business Process Modeling - Benefits and Capability

Florian Lautenbacher and Bernhard Bauer

Models that describe a business process in a company nowadays have the drawback that they are not machine-processable for two reasons: First the terminology is not formalized and second the dynamic semantics of the process model is not formally defined. Thus, many discussions and human work is necessary in order to create and maintain process models. However, with a semantic annotation of process models and the usage of ontologies, these tasks can be automized and the workload of the user can be reduced to a minimum. In this paper we discuss the different possibilities and the added value of annotating a business process model with semantic information.


Towards a Framework for Policy-Oriented Enterprise Management

Matthias Kaiser and Jens Lemcke

Service-oriented architectures have brought significant progress for more flexible realization of business processes integrating functionality from heterogeneous sources.
While more and more businesses adopt the new technology it becomes obvious that many questions are still not addressed to make it keep its promises, especially in the area of human efforts involved in business process composition.
We introduce a framework for a possible next generation enterprise software based on, but going beyond that of service-oriented architectures utilizing logic programming taking advantage of formalized explicit policies as substantial constituents of enterprise systems.

 

Slides

Commentator: Uwe Riss

 

Session 7

Including Semantics and Probabilistic Uncertainty in Business Rules Using Fuzzy Modeling and Dempster-Shafer Theory

Ronald Yager

We discuss the role of fuzzy sets in modeling business rules. The technology involved in fuzzy systems modeling is described. We next introduce some ideas from the Dempster-Shafer theory of evidence. We use the Dempster-Shafer framework to provide a machinery for including randomness in the fuzzy systems modeling process.


A Framework for Temporal Representation and Reasoning in Business Intelligence Applications

Hans-Ulrich Krieger, Bernd Kiefer and Thierry Declerck

This paper presents a framework for temporal representation and reasoning in the MUSING project (http://www.musing-project.eu) which is dedicated to the investigation of semantic-based business intelligence solutions.
Temporal information is based on a binary diachronic representation of time. Since ontological knowledge in MUSING is encoded in OWL, extending synchronic binary relations with time is not that easy, due to the fact that OWL (or description logic in general) only provides unary and binary relations.
To do so, we need the notion of a time slice. Contrary to Welty et al (2005), we directly interpret the original entities as time slices in order to avoid a duplication of the original ontology.
We will see that this reinterpretation makes it easy to extend an arbitrary upper/domain ontology with the concept of time. The diachronic representation of time is complemented by a sophisticated time ontology that supports underspecification and an arbitrarily fine granularity of time.
MUSING makes use of a general upper-base ontology called PROTON (http://proton.semanticweb.org) that has been extended mostly by the MUSING partners from DERI, Innsbruck.
We describe how the time ontology has been interfaced with PROTON and with OWL-Time, Jerry Hobbs' first-order axiomatization of time. In the last third of this paper, we explain our choices that have led to a specific reasoning architecture in MUSING, based on Pellet, OWLIM, and Jena, and backed up by Sesame.

Slides

 

Commentator: Michael Eckert