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Re: PROV-ISSUE-4 (define-agent): Definition for Concept 'Agent' [Provenance Terminology]

From: Simon Miles <simon.miles@kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 7 Jun 2011 22:31:26 +0100
Message-ID: <BANLkTi=c5ms5yHJO_w8R+jpJvU_=kNXDzg@mail.gmail.com>
To: Provenance Working Group WG <public-prov-wg@w3.org>
Hi Khalid, all,

These are really good points, and makes me think:
 - If an agent starts or stops a process execution (as in Satya's
definition) then why is that any different to one process execution
initiating or terminating another process execution?
 - Is the action of a person a process execution? If so, and the
action is adequately described, then haven't we just specified the
involvement and identity of the person in the provenance?

I agree with Jun that if we want to describe the provenance of an
agent then we are treating it as a "resource", but Khalid's point that
we still need to say they are the same (this agent = this resource)
seems correct. On a separate thread, Jim said (if I read correctly)
that the idea of agent may not be needed if mutable resources were
allowed, as a person is just a mutable resource. We can take an
invariant view of a person in provenance, i.e. assume they don't
change in any way we consider significant.

The significant differences of an agent from an execution or resource
seem to be that we may want to express its involvement in an execution
without saying exactly by what actions it was involved, and that it
seems odd to say that a process execution "used" the person who was
involved with it as we would with resources (which we could also say
are "involved" with the execution).

Thanks,
Simon

On 7 June 2011 19:17, Khalid Belhajjame <Khalid.Belhajjame@cs.man.ac.uk> wrote:
>
> Hi Daniel, Jun and Satya,
>
> I think this is a good point. I was wondering before this thread start,
> whether the same "thing" can be treated as "agent" and "process execution".
> For example a process execution pe_1 may initiates the execution of
> another process execution pe_2, in which case, pe_1 can be viewed as an
> agent.
>
> So a legitimate question that we may need to create an independent issue
> for is: "is it possible for the same 'thing' to be 'invariant' and
> 'agent' and 'process execution'?"
>
> My first thought is that the notion of "view or account" will be useful
> in this respect.
>
> Thanks, khalid
>
> On 07/06/2011 17:35, Jun Zhao wrote:
>> Satya,
>>
>> Would you also expect agents to have states, aka resources?
>>
>> I would prefer to keep agent simple. That's why I suggest to treat
>> agents as resources, if you want to talk about provenance of that sort
>> of things. In this way, we can reuse of a lot of structure associated
>> with resources.
>>
>> This is just one way of modelling. Of course, if we do agree to have
>> states for agents, we will need a different way to represent it in the
>> model.
>>
>> I am open to discussions.
>>
>> -- Jun
>>
>> On 07/06/11 17:17, Satya Sahoo wrote:
>>> Hi Daniel and Jun,
>>> > After reading your definitions I was wondering if an "agent" or a
>>> "controller" could
>>> also have provenance.
>>>
>>> Agents can also have provenance  - in sensor networks the provenance of
>>> the sensor itself will describe its manufacturer, date of manufacture
>>> etc.
>>>
>>> > if the newspaper or a service is an agent, then it would be helpful
>>> to know who created it, when, what tools were used for doing so,etc.
>>>
>>> If newspaper is treated as an agent in the sense of a corporate entity,
>>> e.g. NYT - we can describe its actions - NYT sued NYC, NYT publishes
>>> four dailies etc. and its provenance - NYT was founded/created by Henry
>>> Raymond in 1851 etc.
>>>
>>> If you meant newspaper as an edition/publication of NYT (today's
>>> edition), then it would be a "resource". I am not sure what you meant by
>>> service?
>>>
>>> Thanks.
>>>
>>> Best,
>>> Satya
>>>
>>> On Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 11:57 AM, Jun Zhao <jun.zhao@zoo.ox.ac.uk
>>> <mailto:jun.zhao@zoo.ox.ac.uk>> wrote:
>>>
>>>     Hi Daniel,
>>>
>>>     I would expect to have descriptions about agents.
>>>
>>>     When providing provenance descriptions about newspaper or services,
>>>     it might be more appropriate to treat them as "resources".
>>>
>>>     -- Jun
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>     On 07/06/11 16:19, Daniel Garijo wrote:
>>>
>>>         Hi Satya, Khalid, all
>>>         After reading your definitions I was wondering if an "agent"
>>> or a
>>>         "controller" could
>>>         also have provenance. For example, if the newspaper or a service
>>>         is an
>>>         agent, then it would be
>>>         helpful to know who created it, when, what tools were used for
>>>         doing so,
>>>         etc.
>>>
>>>         If they could have provenance, then they would also become some
>>>         sort of
>>>         "resources"
>>>         too, wouldn't they?
>>>
>>>         What do you think?
>>>
>>>         Best,
>>>         Daniel
>>>
>>>         2011/6/6 Khalid Belhajjame <Khalid.Belhajjame@cs.man.ac.uk
>>> <mailto:Khalid.Belhajjame@cs.man.ac.uk>
>>> <mailto:Khalid.Belhajjame@cs.man.ac.uk
>>> <mailto:Khalid.Belhajjame@cs.man.ac.uk>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>             Hi,
>>>
>>>             I added a definition of the concept "agent".
>>>
>>>             Definition: An agent is a (physical or digital) entity that
>>>         controls
>>>             one or multiple process executions
>>>
>>>             - The newspaper, the blogger and the government portal are
>>>         examples
>>>             of agents
>>>
>>>             I would prefer to use the term “controller” instead of
>>>         “agent”. To
>>>             me, the term “agent” is a bit vague.
>>>
>>>             Thanks, khalid
>>>
>>>
>>>             On 20/05/2011 08:04, Provenance Working Group Issue Tracker
>>>         wrote:
>>>
>>>                 PROV-ISSUE-4 (define-agent): Definition for Concept
>>> 'Agent'
>>>                 [Provenance Terminology]
>>>
>>>         http://www.w3.org/2011/prov/track/issues/4
>>>
>>>                 Raised by: Luc Moreau
>>>                 On product: Provenance Terminology
>>>
>>>                 The Provenance WG charter identifies the concept 'Agent'
>>>         as a
>>>                 core concept of the provenance interchange language
>>> to be
>>>                 standardized (see
>>>         http://www.w3.org/2011/01/prov-wg-charter).
>>>
>>>                 What term do we adopt for the concept 'Agent'?
>>>                 How do we define the concept 'Agent'?
>>>                 Where does concept 'Agent' appear in ProvenanceExample?
>>>                 Which provenance query requires the concept 'Agent'?
>>>
>>>                 Wiki page: http://www.w3.org/2011/prov/wiki/ConceptAgent
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>
>>
>>
>
>
>
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-- 
Dr Simon Miles
Lecturer, Department of Informatics
Kings College London, WC2R 2LS, UK
+44 (0)20 7848 1166
Received on Tuesday, 7 June 2011 21:31:53 GMT

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