A Semantically Enabled Service Delivery Platform: An Architectural Overview

A Semantically Enabled Service Delivery Platform: An Architectural Overview

Ioan Toma (Semantic Technology Institute, University of Innsbruck, Austria), José María García (Semantic Technology Institute, University of Innsbruck, Austria), Iker Larizgoitia (Semantic Technology Institute, University of Innsbruck, Austria) and Dieter Fensel (Semantic Technology Institute, University of Innsbruck, Austria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8751-6.ch016
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Abstract

It is expected that virtual factories and enterprises of the future will be able to self-organize in distributed, autonomous, interoperable, non-hierarchical, innovation ecosystems and be dynamically delivered as services, end-to-end along the global value chain. In this scenario, services and service ecosystems become central artifacts, and it is necessary to model and manage them appropriately for automation and scalability. Two main popular architectural approaches for realizing service orientation are WSDL-based SOA and the RESTful style. The level of automation offered by these approaches is limited, and human intervention is required in order to achieve most of the service-related tasks such as discovery, ranking, invocation, and monitoring. In order for service-oriented technologies to scale, they need to offer a significant degree of automation. To address the scalability issues in service composition, this chapter proposes a semantically enabled service-oriented architectural approach (SESA) and its implementation in the form of a platform. The authors detail the principles, models, architecture, and implementation underlying the approach in which lightweight semantics play a central role.
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Background

The Web service technology stack allows for exchanging messages between Web services (SOAP) (Box et al., 2000), describing the technical interface for consuming a Web service (WSDL) (Box et al., 2000), and advertising Web services in registries (UDDI) (Fernandez, Gomez-Perez, & Juristo, 1997). However, in traditional Web service implementations, the lack of information to express the meaning of the data and of the vocabulary referenced by the interface, as well as the lack of formalization of the Web service behavior implies the requirement of human intervention in tasks such as Web service discovery, composition, and ranking and selection, thus severely hindering the automation of the envisioned tasks. The emergence of the Semantic Web (W3C, 2011) envisions an extension of the current Web in which information is given well defined meaning, thus better enabling computers and people to work in cooperation (Berners-Lee et al., 2001). This meaning is represented by the structured collections of information and sets of inference rules that can be used by machines to conduct automated reasoning. The same formalization techniques can form a foundation to introduce semantics to Web service architectures.

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