Composition of Optimal Service Workflows with Quality-of-Service Enabled Multi-Criteria Uniform Cost Search Algorithm

Composition of Optimal Service Workflows with Quality-of-Service Enabled Multi-Criteria Uniform Cost Search Algorithm

Jaina Sangtani, Gursel Serpen
DOI: 10.4018/jssoe.2012070101
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This paper proposes a search-based method to partly automate the workflow composition, including the planning and execution stages, with web services in a service-oriented architecture. The proposed methodology models the workflow composition problem as a directed and weighted graph, henceforth called the service-oriented architecture graph, where vertices are associated with the degree of completion of the overall task at hand and edges represent service executions. Edge weights are formulated based on the quality of services as defined by the user. A uniform cost search algorithm is adapted and applied to identify the optimal path based on user input, which constitutes an ordered sequence of service executions, from a given initial state to a user-defined goal state. The proposed approach for service oriented workflow composition was applied to an information-technology domain problem to demonstrate its utility through a simulation study. Simulation results indicated that the proposed methodology is feasible and optimal solutions can be computed within reasonable computational cost bounds.
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There have been a number of recent attempts for the automation of workflow composition process with logical workflow composition, semantic workflow composition, abstract process model, and artificial intelligence (AI) approaches. Some of these works have been attempted for prototype implementation, and yet at the present time, there appears to be very little evidence of testing and validation particularly through field deployment.

As described by Hafner (2009), the manual service workflow architecture has five layers, which include applications layer, web services workflow composition or publication and discovery layer, service description layer, XML messaging layer, and transport layer. Today’s frameworks automate portions of this layered-architecture to ease the pain for developers. For example, the .NET framework automates the service description layer, XML messaging layer, and the transport layer. However, there are still tedious manual tasks that the service developer is expected to complete, including the composition of the services into workflows, and their integration with applications. The following subsections present a literature survey on the attempts for automation of the workflow composition problem. The focus is given to the integration of AI planning techniques with service workflow composition since it appears to have attracted considerable attention from the researchers.

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