WebOnt Use-Case Area: Web Services

Status: Draft

Version: December 13 2001


Stefan Decker, Stanford University, stefan@db.stanford.edu


Mike Dean, BBN, mdean@bbn.com
Stefan Decker, Stanford University, stefan@db.stanford.edu
Tim Finin, University of Maryland MIND Laboratory, finin@cs.umbc.edu
Ora Lassila, Nokia Research, ora.lassila@nokia.com
Lynne Thompson, Unisys Corporation, lynne.thompson@unisys.com
Deborah McGuiness, Stanford University, dlm@ksl.stanford.edu

Mailing List

(Web Ontology Working Group)

(Web Services)




Published Use Cases

No 1.
CONTRIBUTOR: "Smith, Ned" <ned.smith@intel.com>
URL: http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-webont-wg/2001Nov/0122.html

CONTRIBUTOR: Ora Lassila daml@lassila.org
URL: http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-webont-wg/2001Dec/0022.html

TASK: Device/Service Interoperability/Automated Configuration

Use Cases:
A device (sensors, cell phones, printers) manufacturer builds a device that interoperates with (sensor/actuator) devices built by other manufacturers. The device properties are expressed in ontological form. The ontology of device properties or "device ontology" is embedded in the device. If the device is connected to a network, it can be recognized by and installed into that network by an agent that parses the device ontology and determines how best to integrate its function. Once installed, the device may be bound to other devices forming a composite device. The composite device, logically a unique device, may interact with other devices or services on the network. Device manufacturers are not expected to perform a'priori testing of the possible device configurations to achieve interoperability..

Service and Device Interoperability.

Device Developers and Standardization Consortia



No 2
CONTRIBUTOR: "Smith, Ned" <ned.smith@intel.com>
URL: http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-webont-wg/2001Nov/0122.html

TASK: Ontology-based Wrapping of legacy services

Use Cases:

A legacy control network performs a process that administrators do not want to disturb. However, they do want to monitor certain functions. They build an ontology of the control network / process and map monitored functions into properties of the ontology. Outside services may discover the control network ontology. Property value changes can trigger notification events sent to outside services. The monitoring functions may NOT introduce delays or in any way prevent the control network from performing its task. The monitoring subsystem may be re-configured by administers periodically and will not impact the monitored control process.

Network Monitoring


Network Adminstrators




No 3
CONTRIBUTOR: "Smith, Ned" <ned.smith@intel.com>
URL: http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-webont-wg/2001Nov/0122.html

TASK: Distributed Network Management

Use Cases:

A control network is managed by multiple outsourced management service providers. Management responsibilities are delegated by the control network owner to the service providers. Management responsibilities are divided among the service providers in such a way as to prevent administration overlap. Management actions are verified to be acceptable prior to their application. Service providers may re-negotiate how responsibilities are divided periodically. After which previously granted privileges are lost and new privileges granted.

Distributed Network Management

Network Adminstrators




CONTRIBUTOR: Stefan Decker <stefan@db.stanford.edu>
URL: http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-webont-wg/2001Nov/0122.html

TASK: Process Description and Device Modeling

LastMileServices is a startup aiming to describe static and dynamic aspects of telecommunication devices, with the goal of simplifying service construction and configuration of large networks.

The ontology language is used to define device ontologies (e.g., router and switches) and to definea service description ontology, which defines primitives to declare task decomposition, control flow (using the vocabulary of a UML statechart), and data flow of services.
Other primitives enable to create new services by combining and configuring existing services.
This results in a compositional ontology-based process and service description language capable to combine existing services (given by, e.g., distributed Web Services or Java Objects) with the goal to create new services.A service description can be compiled to Java code and be executed.


Service Designer and Developer




CONTRIBUTOR: John Stanton StantonJ@ncr.disa.mil
URL: http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-webont-wg/2001Dec/0000.html

TASK: "Interoperability between Different Software Products"

Formal methods is not so much meant to focus on formal methods of expression as in -
context-free or context-dependent requirements expressed by narrative rules; or doing our
own variant of Backus-Naur Form. What I mean is a connected; iterative standards development
process that connects the standard under definition; the model; and a conformance testing system as they evolve TOGETHER. If all three of these elements evolve together in a clearly defined,
intentional process, DOD can save money, and many other wondrous events can also occur.

We purchase as much software as a Fortune 50 company. When we encounter a product that is 99%
interoperable, the other 1% costs us millions of dollars to transport across platforms; or
engineer expensive, weird work arounds that then require expensive life-cycle maintenance.

When encountering this 1% non-interoperability, it can often be traced back to both the lack of
formal methods of expression within the standard; but most often to the absence of an intentional
overall standards development process, exploiting intentional software engineering, using iteration
between the three major elements to produce quality; modeled; tested and evolved products. So... we
suffer with these products having no way to test conformance; not understanding exactly what we have purchased, costing millions of dollars.






CONTRIBUTOR: Deborah McGuinness (dlm@KSL.Stanford.EDU)
URL: http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-webont-wg/2001Dec/0032.html

TASK: intelligent interoperable e-commerce and Web services

- intelligent interoperable e-commerce. Use ontologies for all levels of support including simple things like integrity checks, more complicated support such as ontology merging and mapping to “standard” upper level ontologies such as UNSPSC, etc. Simple early versions of this include electronic yellow pages such as Directory Westfield. More complicated versions of this include real configuration and solutions across complicated domains. Early examples of ontology-enhanced configuration includes work on PROSE/QUESTAR [5].

- Web services. One of the focuses of KSL, Stanford's research over the last 1.5 years has been the confluence of the Semantic Web and Web Services -- self-contained Web-accessible programs, and devices, together with distributed computing architectures. As with DAML+OIL (in the guise of DAML-S), we would like to use WOL to create ontologies of Web Service properties and capabilities. Such annotations would be used to automate Web service discovery, Web service invocation and Web service composition and interoperation. [6]





CONTRIBUTOR: H.J. ter Horst herman.ter.horst@philips.com
URL: http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-webont-wg/2001Dec/0006.html

TASK: automated adaptation of content (media) presentation to users and the context.

Use case:

We assume sensors to exist that conclude which objects (which people, for example) are in a certain room/space (a 'simple' way could involve tagging the objects). The objects are described in an ontology. Also metadata for content is described in an ontology. It is relevant to include information involving people's likes and dislikes, concerning media content, for example.
Sensor detection and such descriptions form the basis for drawing conclusions about the context (living room, office, mobile situation) and to adapt the presentation of content to this context. This may also include the specification of actions, for example used to personalize certain equipment, possibly in a context-dependent way. A natural connection can be made to the subject of collaborative
filtering. Ultimately, it is desirable to allow individual modes of expression of user profiles, while being able to make comparisons between different user profiles.






CONTRIBUTOR: Nick Gibbins (nmg@ecs.soton.ac.uk)
URL: http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-webont-wg/2001Nov/0128.html

TASK: Expert Finding

A community of practice is a group of people which are self-selecting by virtue of their involvement in some common activity, such as habitual co-publication or attendance at similar events. We have been developing heuristic techniques for identifying such groups using the structures in an ontology. The expert finding task is related to COPs because experts are often key participants in the COP related to their
field of expertise. While it is not necessarily the case that there is mutual awareness between all members of a COP, we believe that the social network which underlies a COP can be used to 'justify' introductions to experts within that COP. In both cases, the knowledge which we use to identify COPs and experts is defined in terms of an ontology.

[1] http://www.aktors.org
[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/xlink/


Work Environment/community of practice




CONTRIBUTOR: Jonathan Dale (jdale@fla.fujitsu.com)
URL: http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-webont-wg/2001Nov/0116.html

TASK: Support for agents and agent technologies

Use Cases:
Both FIPA and Agentcities are aiming towards the pratical application of agents and agent technologies, so they are looking at choosing an ontology representation language (ORL) from a pragmatic standardisation perspective:

1. To assist in the ontology modelling exercise. Both FIPA and Agentcities
are closely related to standardisation and one of the key points that
coollaborative ontology modelling promotes is a standarisation of
vocabularies across an application domain or domains.

2. To assist in ontology representation exchange. Initially, we expect that
FIPA and Agentcities will develop ontologies in a human-centric,
collaborative manner since most application domains that they are trying to
define are reasonably small and finite (i.e., bottom up rather than
top-down). However, in the future, it will be important that an ORL can also
express large ontologies and can reference terms in other ontologies,
possibly in other ORLs.

3. To assist in ontology translation. As the nodes in the network of
FIPA-compliant agent platforms increases, so the heterogeneity in the
network increases. FIPA is based on a model of uinting heterogeneity through
interoperability, and a key feature of a suitable ORL should be
like-compatibility with other ORLs. If the functionality is too diverse,
then translation between ORLs will be more difficult.

One of the goals of FIPA will be to probably pick up where the WebONT group
leaves off. That is, FIPA will leave the standardisation of the design
aspects of a suitable ORL to groups like WebONT, but will look at the more
pragmatic aspects of ontologies, such as ontology description definitions,
ontology discovery, ontology translation, etc.

There are other aspects that FIPA is interested in when choosing an ORL,
such as:



Service Designer





CONTRIBUTOR: Mike Dean <mdean@bbn.com>
URL: http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-webont-wg/2001Nov/0116.html

TASK: Communities of Practice / Expert Findin

Use Cases:
I hope that WebOnt will be used to provide information that's currently available on the WWW (and not currently available on the WWW) in such a way that I can write and/or use programs to automate tasks such as those related to business travel. I'll use that domain as a focus for this
use case.

I generally plan my travel before calling my human corporate travel agent. For flights, I use a copy of the United Airlines Electronic Timetable, which gets monthly (weekly since 9/11) updates in a some sort of compressed binary format (I've made several unsuccessful attempts to extract the underlying data). I like the fact that I can work with this offline (e.g. on an airplane). I'd much prefer to get it in WebOnt format so that I can apply my own preferences, link to other information about airports, etc.

I have a hotel chain that I prefer. For destinations that I frequent often, I know their hotels in the area but often forget some of the details (e.g. which ones serve good hamburgers, and which room locations to avoid). For others, I look up information on their web sites. I'd like to get this information in WebOnt format, and to add my own properties for items of personal interest.

I normally try to get a hotel room that has high-speed wired or wireless Internet access. Hotel web sites are very inconsistent in reporting this service. For an unfamiliar property, I generally look at the directories maintained by the major ISPs serving hotels (CAIS, STSN, Wayport, and MobileStar), none of which currently provide the information in an agent-friendly format (most use maps, page hierarchies, and/or PDF). I'd prefer to get it in WebOnt and merge it myself with my itinerary and other geographic

When I make a reservation, my corporate travel agent emails my itinerary in a format that I consider a canonical example of the "un-Semantic Web": a PDF image of a traditional FAXed itinerary. This prints well, but is virtually impossible for a program to process. I'd prefer to get this content using WebOnt, and to have it automatically routed to a personal travel agent program. I'd like to automatically share some of my itinerary information (e.g. travel dates and arrival times) with my co-workers, but keep some of it (e.g. credit card numbers) private.

After my airline ticket is booked, I generally have to call
the airline directly to get an upgrade and/or better seat
assignment. I prefer non-bulkhead (so I can keep my laptop
under the seat in front of me) window seats. United is
unable to track this preference, so I often have to make
several calls. An agent would be better (and more
reliable!) at this task.

I now subscribe to United's Flight Paging Service, which
automatically sends an email message to my pager 2 hours
before my flight or whenever a delay or cancellation occurs.
I'd prefer for my agent to get this information in WebOnt
format so that it could automatically begin identifying
alternative flights and routings when a problem arises.

I also subscribe to a free service from fly.faa.gov, which
sends me email messages on ground stops and delays at
specified airports. Unfortunately, it's not linked to my
itineraries, so I get lots of such messages while I'm not
travelling. If the information was in WebOnt format, my
agent could easily cross-reference it with my itineraries
and identify relevant problems.

While I travel, I'd like to have fast access to my itinerary
using a utility like PalmDAML [1] on my PDA.

When I have a substantial wait at an airport, I like to look
for high-speed Internet access. I've generally had better
luck searching concourses than web pages to find such
services; I'd like to get such information (translated to)
my preferred WebOnt ontology. I sometimes go to the
American Airlines Admirals Clubs to use their high-speed
MobileStar wireless Internet access points. This is usually
in a different terminal, so I'd like to also get WebOnt
information on gate locations and walking times.

When I go to an unfamiliar city, I often try to rent a Hertz
car with a NeverLost GPS. Rather than painstakingly
toggling in the street names and numbers for my hotel and
other destinations, I'd like to just beam the information in
WebOnt format from my PDA using IR or Bluetooth.

I'd also like to get additional information that's not
generally now on the web: service hours for restaurants
(and room service) along my travel route. For flights that
get in late, for example, my agent could tell me if I need
to grab a bite before leaving the airport.

When I return from a trip, I have to fill-out an Excel
spreadsheet for my expense report. Most of this information
could come directly from my itinerary, hotel bills, and
credit card receipts if they were provided in WebOnt format.

I already have a DAML application [2] for reconciling my
expense reports with my credit card statements and checking

A few observations:

1) most of this information (flight schedules, travel
itineraries, hotel addresses, expense reports, etc.) is
not ontologically sophisticated

2) much of the information is already available in
human-readable form

3) automation currently exists only in specific stovepipes
such as United's new Flight Paging Service

4) even a highly-motivated geek finds it impractical to
merge the existing information

5) with widespread use of WebOnt, we should be able to do
most of these things pretty easily


[1] http://www.daml.org/PalmDAML/

[2] http://www.daml.org/2001/06/expenses/