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Re: Proposed changes to Process Execution and related concepts

From: Luc Moreau <L.Moreau@ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Date: Thu, 14 Jul 2011 16:41:40 +0100
Message-ID: <EMEW3|1e48f2f146fafb4413b187ff20a9b90bn6DGfi08L.Moreau|ecs.soton.ac.uk|4E1F0E34.9080903@ecs.soton.ac.uk>
To: public-prov-wg@w3.org
Hi Ryan,

A couple of comments, possibly already articulated by others.

For me, with process execution, we had the possibility of "abstracting" 
multiple process executions, into a single
one (or vice-versa decomposing process executions in sub process 
executions).  With your view, does it make sense
to decompose an agent into sub-agents?  It's not someting I am not 
familar with.

A process execution is an "activity", something taking place in time.
It can be physical (e.g. a chair being built and transported from A to B).
Do you capture this notion?

Also, a given agent (old definition) may be involved in multiple process 
E.g. my browser can download and render multiple pages in parallel.
        Each activity download/render/etc uses/generates BOBs
Now, are you proposing that all these activities would be conflated in a 
single process
execution  (agent as you say), meaning that we don't know which process 
execution used/generated what?


On 07/12/2011 05:55 AM, Ryan Golden wrote:
> I'd like to bring a proposal up for discussion regarding Process 
> Execution and its related concepts.  Although at the F2F1 there wasn't 
> much discussion over "Process Execution," "Generates," "Uses," and 
> "Agent," I believe more clarification and discussion is needed in 
> these areas.
> High Level Proposal
> ----------------------------
> a) Rename the concept of "Process Execution" to "Agent," 
> adjusting/adding a few properties
> b) Rename the concept of "Process/Recipe" to "Role," adjusting/adding 
> a few properties
> c) Add the concept of "Person or Organization"
> d) Add the concept of "Realizes"
> e) Add the concept of "Acts on Behalf of"
> More Detailed Proposal
> ---------------------------------
> a) Concept: Agent
>     - is a computational entity (narrowed from "piece of work")
>     - may use zero or more Entity States (Bobs)
>     - may generate zero or more Entity States  (Bobs)
>     - may realize zero or more Roles
>     - may have a duration
>     - may acts on behalf of a "Person or Organization"
>     Discussion:
>         Agent is a relatively well-defined industry term for an 
> program acting on a user's behalf.   I propose it as a replacement for 
> "Process Execution," which has the overloaded (and thus undesireable) 
> term "process" in it, and does not necessarily imply that it is acting 
> on behalf of any one person or organization.  In scenarios involving 
> trust, audit, or change tracking, the ability to identify the "who" is 
> crucial, and so the relation between Agent and Person or Organization 
> is introduced.  "Person or Organization" is discussed further below.
>         Some other common variations are "software agent," or "user 
> agent."  One notable difference between this concept and other agent 
> concepts is that our Agent may have a duration.  I'm still undecided 
> on the utility of the duration.
>         There will be some discussion here about non-computational 
> agents.  I would question the utility of being able to assert 
> relations involving Entity States (Bobs) and non-computational agents, 
> and would ask you to first consider whether the same semantics could 
> be better represented by a Role instead [see next].
> b) Concept: Role
>     - is an abstract set of tasks which pertain to a job function
>     - may have semantics beyond the scope of the WG model (e.g., as 
> described in the RBAC reference model)
>     - may be realized by zero or more Agents
>     Discussion:
>         Replaces the somewhat confused notions of "Agent" (as it was 
> discussed at F2F1), "Process," and "Recipe".  Note that multiple Roles 
> can be realized by a single Agent.
> c) Concept: Person or Organization
>     - is a real-world person or organization that an Agent acts on 
> behalf of
> d) Concept: Realizes
>     [see Agent and Role]
> e) Concept: Acts on Behalf of
>     [see Agent and Person or Organization]
> References:
> I have adapted some of this proposal from concepts in the W3C Web 
> Services Architecture Note <http://www.w3.org/TR/ws-arch>, a document 
> that I don't entirely agree with, but which has some useful models in it.
> I also referred to the NIST RBAC reference model.

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 Thursday, 14 July 2011 15:42:14 UTC

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