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"Protocols for Processes: Programming in the Large for Open Systems"
Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages and Applications
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 : Tuesday

Protocols for Processes: Programming in the Large for Open Systems

Ballroom C
Tuesday, 16:15, 45 minutes


Munindar Singh, North Carolina State University
Amit Chopra, North Carolina State University
Nirmit Desai, North Carolina State University
Ashok Mallya, North Carolina State University

The modeling and enactment of business processes is being recognized as key to modern information management. The expansion of Web services has increased the attention given to processes, because processes are how services are composed and put to good use. However, current approaches are inadequate for flexibly modeling and enacting processes. These approaches take a logically centralized view of processes, treating a process as an implementation of a composed service. They provide low-level scripting languages to specify how a service may be implemented, rather than what interactions are expected from it. Consequently, existing approaches fail to adequately accommodate the essential properties of the business partners of a process (the partners would be realized via services)—their autonomy (freedom of action), heterogeneity (freedom of design), and dynamism (freedom of configuration).

Flexibly represented protocols can provide a more natural basis for specifying processes. Protocols specify what rather than how; thus they naturally maximize the autonomy, heterogeneity, and dynamism of the interacting parties. We are developing an approach for modeling and enacting business processes based on protocols. This paper describes some elements of (1) a conceptual model of processes that will incorporate abstractions based on protocols and roles; (2) the semantics or mathematical foundations underlying the conceptual model and mapping global views of processes to the local actions of the parties involved; (3) methodologies involving rule-based reasoning to specify processes in terms of compositions of protocols.