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Re: W3C Provenance Working Group Charter - another alternate version for discussion

From: Luc Moreau <L.Moreau@ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 2010 14:37:44 +0000
Message-ID: <EMEW3|edbda9a0a59be7fa34350590028298aamAIEbp08L.Moreau|ecs.soton.ac.uk|4CE68BB8.3040309@ecs.soton.ac.uk>
To: "Myers, Jim" <MYERSJ4@rpi.edu>
CC: Paulo Pinheiro da Silva <paulo@utep.edu>, public-xg-prov@w3.org

Thanks for these constructive suggestions.

I like the notion of source, it is definitely very useful, and is 
necessary to address the News Aggregator scenario.

The idea of a plan/recipe is also crucial for workflow based systems. It 
would be good to have standardized conventions
to refer to them.

I also agree that developing a comprehensive solution for dealing with 
mutable state is very challenging. This
topic would probably involve notions of provenance from the database 
community. In previous discussion with
James Cheney, we felt that this should be out of scope of 
standardization activity.  However, I agree with you
that it would be nice to address a tractable subset of this problem. In 
particular, the ability to relate versions/states
of a resource would be useful.

In summary, these are concrete terms: pml:Source, pml:Engine, 
pml:Rule/Plan, pml:hasEngine, pml:hasRule/Plan.

I would also add:  Resource, State Representation, Version

I also recall Paulo mentioning Query. Should this be on the table of a 
standardization activity?


On 11/18/2010 03:55 PM, Myers, Jim wrote:
> Apologies for being silent this week -- hard to get coherent time 
> here, so some random thoughts. My take on the technical issues being 
> raised in the edits is that:
> The basic core that was addressed by OPM is not controversial but 
> naming of concepts could be improved  (the text changes are more 
> focused on making it clearer that OPM didn't invent these concepts - 
> it's value is really as evidence that this is roughly the right scope 
> to address (OPM was the set that we could get agreement on)).
> I do see a few places where people are suggesting stretching that 
> scope a bit:
> Sources -- the idea of an agent or mutable resource from which a 
> resource of interest (the thing were documenting the provenance of) 
> comes. Nominally this could be dealt with by recording a an agent 
> controlling a publication process to produce the resource and I think 
> the question to resolve is whether a special construct would be 
> useful. I think the PML folks would argue that it is since an 
> agent-process-resource relation is too generic to signal that being a 
> source is special (i.e. an article derived from the NYTimes differs in 
> importance from the same article being handed to you by Joe the 
> newspaper seller (both are just agent-process-resource constructs). 
> With others in the XG group having special constructs for 
> publication/retrieval from a service, it seems like consensus might be 
> possible on this and I think having discussion of this be part of the 
> working group scope would be useful.
> Another construct that looks useful is some link between provenance 
> and the plan/recipe that was being followed. What that recipe is seems 
> to differ -- a workflow template, logical rules, mathematical 
> function, scientific experiment protocol, a business contract, etc. -- 
> but the basic capability to make a link between a process and the 
> recipe again seems like a useful and relatively non-controversial 
> extension that a working group could address.
> A third area where it may make sense to do something would be to make 
> a connection to mutable resources. I think this is a hard problem in 
> the general case but some extension to standardize how one might link 
> resources to a mutable thing as versions might be something that could 
> be agreed to. Along the lines of the paper I sent in to IPAW this 
> year, I think this is an area where a working group could really get 
> stuck, but it's also one where many groups have some capability and 
> we've seen it arise in many use cases, so some capability here might 
> broaden the usability. I tend to think of this as a profile that 
> connect provenance with an existing versioning model rather than 
> something new developed as  part of a language.
> Beyond this, I think we enter the area of research/domain extensions 
> that showed up in the charter in the 'however the languages also have 
> lots of differences...' part. (Other than wordsmithing -  to try to 
> make it clearer that these differences are not a problem for reaching 
> a standard but are instead a good way to delineate the scope of 
> provenance that seems to have settled down and be done in common ways 
> versus the set of advanced features where researchers are still 
> experimenting, trying to discover what aspects of provenance provide 
> the most value -- I don't think I've seen other concrete technical 
> suggestions for more scope)
> The last thing I see is continuing wordsmithing to make it clear that 
> OPM is not the only (or first) provenance language while also 
> acknowledging that the XG group found it useful as evidence for what 
> aspects of provenance were ready for standardization. I suspect that 
> we could continue to edit this aspect forever (if Yolanda let us) -- 
> it will be important that we all let go of the text when we can live 
> with it versus when we really happy with it. I've started and stopped 
> editing a couple of times this week to try and come up with text that 
> would move this aspect of things forward, but have not succeeded.
>   Jim
> *From:* public-xg-prov-request@w3.org 
> [mailto:public-xg-prov-request@w3.org] *On Behalf Of *Luc Moreau
> *Sent:* Wednesday, November 17, 2010 5:27 PM
> *To:* Paulo Pinheiro da Silva
> *Cc:* public-xg-prov@w3.org
> *Subject:* Re: W3C Provenance Working Group Charter - another 
> alternate version for discussion
> Paulo,
> Thanks for editing the draft charter and sending it to the group.
> Discussion with Satya have indicated that the *Name of the Provenance 
> Language* will
> be controversial. I suggest we don't focus on this issue, and we 
> acknolwedge the XG will
> identify its name. I agree with your proposal of naming it XG, or FOO, 
> NPL or something neutral.
> However, all the feedback I have heard from people involved in 
> standardization activities,
> is that we have to have a clear scope. By indicating OPM, we meant not 
> just a name, but a precise list
> of provenance concepts.
> To avoid an ambiguity, I attach this list of terms.  I will argue that 
> each term in this list has got
> a fairly precise meaning. I also acknolwedge that we can revisit the 
> terminology, if appropriate.
> Your proposal is however vague about its starting point. A quick grep 
> over pml-p indicates:
> grep 'owl:Class ' pml-provenance.owl  | wc
>       32      64    1466
> grep 'Property ' pml-provenance.owl  | grep -v onProperty | wc
>       52     104    3018
> Are you telling us the starting point is 80+ concepts?
> Your document also indicates " The Working Group has an aggressive 
> timetable based on the premise that it builds on existing work once we 
> have a clear understanding of the boundaries of the  new model. ". So, 
> you are explicitly leaving the scoping activity to the XG . I feel 
> this is not the right approach. It is up to us to scope this model, in 
> the charter definition.  TBL's suggestion was to list the terms to 
> take into consideration!
> A few further points.
> a. While I am in favour of a graphical notation to illustrate 
> provenance concepts, I think it is dangerous to
> promise a full graphical language. Experience in OPM is that beyond 
> nodes and edges, the rest is very textual,
> and overall is not very visual beyond toy examples.  So, by all means, 
> graphical illustration, but not a full
> graphical language.
> b. I am strongly in favour of a definition of a language in plain 
> English, independently of any representation language.
> It's part of the "accessibility agenda". We should be able to describe 
> the provenance language without referring to an OWL ontology.
> c.  I am keen to reach out to the non semantic web community. What 
> about XML?
> Cheers,
> Luc
> PS I can't believe SC has connectivity problems ;-)
> On 17/11/2010 21:43, Paulo Pinheiro da Silva wrote:
> Dear All,
> Deborah and I had a discussion on Monday.  This discussion was in 
> follow up to the meeting that Jim, Deborah, and I had at RPI two weeks 
> ago and that was reported by Jim through an email to the group. I did 
> an editing pass in the original draft of the charter on Monday and 
> Deborah took an edit pass on top of that late Monday. The updated 
> version of the draft attached here is in review mode so that you can 
> see the rationale behind our changes (and hopefully comment them 
> further).
> We were hoping that Jim would be able to do an edit pass but his has 
> been very busy at Supercomputing 2010 and probably with challenging 
> connectivity. This means that the comments in this updated draft may 
> not necessarily reflect Jim's opinions.
> We understand that the document is going to spur some discussion but 
> we would like to highlight some of the principles used during our 
> conversation and that Deborah and I considered in our comments:
> We understand the following:
> 1)    The provenance community needs to make progress soon if the 
> community wants the outcomes of the proposed working group to have 
> impact;
> 2)    Provenance has many dimensions and that the group has a good 
> understanding of some dimensions while our collective understanding of 
> other dimensions is still very superficial -- thus the working group 
> will need to focus its efforts in the well-known parts of provenance 
> -- the so-called core concepts of provenance;
> 3)    No single provenance language can claim to have representation 
> mechanisms for all already-identified core provenance concepts and 
> just core provenance concepts (i.e., no language is a minimal 
> representation of core provenance concepts). However, we also 
> understand that the provenance languages discussed in the Provenance 
> Incubator Group have ways of representing most of these core concepts 
> and that the proposed working group needs to leverage all such 
> languages in order to make progress fast.
> Many thanks,
> Paulo (Deborah and Jim)

Professor Luc Moreau
Electronics and Computer Science   tel:   +44 23 8059 4487
University of Southampton          fax:   +44 23 8059 2865
Southampton SO17 1BJ               email: l.moreau@ecs.soton.ac.uk
United Kingdom                     http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~lavm
Received on Friday, 19 November 2010 14:38:37 UTC

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