|KRAFT - I-X TIE from University of Aberdeen|
KRAFT - I-X TIE fact-file
What's the Problem?
Modern organisations are virtual entities. People working in the organisation are located in different places, each with different capabilities and responsibilities. They need to work collaboratively to accomplish tasks and together to achieve common organisational goals. Tasks that are required to be accomplish are often not trivial but require specialised expertise and sophisticated technologies that are based on local knowledge and experiences. It, therefore, can not be taken for granted that the co-ordination among distributed sites are always carried out smoothly and effectively, in fact much organisational collaborative effort must be made.
Towards a Solution
Providing a Collaborative Support Framework for Virtual Organisational Collaboration:
Workflow and Business Process Modelling techniques are well-recognised for their values for promoting and achieving effectiveness and efficiency of co-ordination of distributed organisational operations. These technologies have been offered by AIAI, The University of Edinburgh. The aim is to provide a distributed knowledge-based (and agent-based) workflow (virtual) system that is open-architecture. Its ability can be enhanced by arbitrary knowledge-based intelligent agents when appropriate. In this technology integrating experiment (TIE), we connect the workflow system with the KRAFT system of Aberdeen University. KRAFT is a distributed information system that integrates mobile constraints and data from heterogeneous resources to compose and solve constraint satisfaction problems (CSPs). It provides the domain-independent constraint reasoning and solving capabilities which are utilised by I-X. The following figure illustrates a conceptual overview of the integrated system and one user scenario between them from the I-X prespective:
The Ultimate Goals of our effort is to explore ways to provide support for a Virtual Organisation and operations between businesses. The KRAFT-I-X tie is only a small step towards that goal.
The following diagram shows a top-level view of the KRAFT-I-X TIE architecture:
In this experiment, two I-X panels have been used. This enables work items to be transferred between the two organisations, i.e. the Edinburgh and Aberdeen units, each is represented in the ED and ABDN panel. One of the tasks that needs to be resolved on the Edinburgh site requires technical abilities. The Edinburgh site being a marketing and accounting unit naturally calls out its technical unit, the Aberdeen site, for support. As this problem requires constraint solving techniques, the Aberdeen site (panel) calls out to KRAFT. In doing so, necessary details of the problem must be provided, including the domain model, requirements in the form of constraints and the solution space defined by a set of data objects. After resolving the problem, KRAFT returns the solution to the Aberdeen panel which returns the solution to the Edinburgh site.
The actual connection between I-X and KRAFT involves the use of other technologies, like the AKT-Bus and constraint encoding in RDF. Further details can be found in the reading list.
Take a Guided Tour
This movie was captured during the live deployment of two systems: the Edinburgh University's IX and Aberdeen University's KRAFT systems. They were located in two different cities: Edinburgh and Aberdeen, UK. In this movie, it shows how people who live in different geographical areas (and work within the same organisation) may collaborate with each other following standard workflow practice. It also demonstrates that specialised talents (such as constraint solving capabilities) within/or outside of the organisation may be called upon to help solve problems that the organisation can not deal with on its own.
Other relevant documents: