Information Technology and Management

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 61–87 | Cite as

Towards Adaptive Workflow Enactment Using Multiagent Systems

Abstract

Advances in Information Technology have created opportunities for business enterprises to redesign their information and process management systems. The redesigned systems will likely employ some form of workflow management system. Workflow management systems exactly enact business processes described in a process description language. Unfortunately, such strict adherence to the prescribed workflow makes it impossible for the system to adapt to unforeseen circumstances. We firmly believe that the historic trajectory of software development paradigms and IT advancements will establish multiagent systems as the workflow enactment mechanism of the future. In this paper we provide a critical survey of workflow, workflow description languages, web services and agent technologies. We propose that workflow description languages and their associated design tools can be used to specify a multiagent system. Specifically, we advance the idea that the Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL4WS) can be used as a specification language for expressing the initial social order of the multiagent system, which can then intelligently adapt to changing environmental conditions.

Keywords

Web services software composition workflow management systems multiagent systems 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. [1]
    BPMI.org, BPML|BPEL4WS: A convergence path toward a standard BPM stack (August 15, 2002). Google Scholar
  2. [2]
    P. Buhler and J.M. Vidal, Semantic Web services as agent behaviors, in: Agentcities: Challenges in Open Agent Environments, eds. B. Burg, J. Dale, T. Finin, H. Nakashima, L. Padgham, C. Sierra and S. Willmott (Springer, Berlin, 2003) pp. 25–31. Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    S. Cowley, BPM market primed for growth InfoWorld (September 23, 2002). Google Scholar
  4. [4]
    F. DeRemer and H. Kron, Programming in the large versus programming in the small, IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering 2(2) (1976) 80–87. Google Scholar
  5. [5]
    eAI Journal, Business process logic: Half-empty or half-full? http://www.eaijournal.com/Article.asp?ArticleID=629&DepartmentID=7.
  6. [6]
    D. Garland, Software architecture: A roadmap, in: The Future of Software Engineering (ACM Press, New York, NY, 2000) pp. 91–101. Google Scholar
  7. [7]
    D. Gelertner and N. Carriero, Coordination languages and their significance, Communications of the ACM 35(2) (1992) 97–107. Google Scholar
  8. [8]
    G. Glass, Web Services, Building Blocks for Distributed Systems (Prentice Hall PTR, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2002). Google Scholar
  9. [9]
    M. Griss, Software agents as next generation software components, in: Component-Based Software Engineering: Putting the Pieces together, eds. G.T. Heineman and W.T. Councill (Addison-Wesley, Boston, 2001) pp. 641–657. Google Scholar
  10. [10]
    G.T. Heineman and W.T. Councill, Definition of a software component and its elements, in: Component-Based Software Engineering: Putting the Pieces together, eds. G.T. Heineman and W.T. Councill (Addison-Wesley, Boston, 2001) pp. 5–19. Google Scholar
  11. [11]
    P. Herzum and O. Sims, Business Component Factory: A Comprehensive Overview of Component-Based Development for the Enterprise (Wiley, New York, 2000). Google Scholar
  12. [12]
    M.N. Huhns, Agents as Web services, IEEE Internet Computing 6(4) (2002) 93–95. Google Scholar
  13. [13]
    M.N. Huhns and L.M. Stephens, Multiagent systems and societies of agents, in: Multiagent Systems: A Modern Approach to Distributed Artifical Intelligence, ed. G. Weiss (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1999) pp. 79–120. Google Scholar
  14. [14]
    IBM, Autonomic computing: IBM’s perspective on the state of information technology, http://www.research.ibm.com/autonomic/manifesto/.
  15. [15]
  16. [16]
    N.R. Jennings, An agent-based approach for building complex software systems, Communications of the ACM 44(4) (2001) 35–41. Google Scholar
  17. [17]
    N.R. Jennings, On agent-based software engineering, Artifical Intelligence 177 (2000) 277–296. Google Scholar
  18. [18]
    J.O. Kephart and D.M. Chess, The vision of autonomic computing, IEEE Computer 36(1) (2003) 41–50. Google Scholar
  19. [19]
    J. Korhonen, L. Pajunen and J. Puustijarvi, Using Web services and workflow ontology in multi-agent systems, in: Workshop on Ontologies for Multi-Agent Systems (2002). Google Scholar
  20. [20]
    F. Leymann and D. Roller, Production Workflow: Concepts and Techniques (Prentice Hall PTR, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2000). Google Scholar
  21. [21]
    Z. Maamar and J. Sutherland, Toward intelligent business objects, Communications of the ACM 43(10) (2000) 99–101. Google Scholar
  22. [22]
    D.C. Marinescu, Internet-Based Workflow Management: Toward a Semantic Web (Wiley-Interscience, New York, 2002). Google Scholar
  23. [23]
    S.A. McIlraith, T.C. Son and H. Zeng, Mobilizing the semantic Web with DAML-enabled Web services, in: Semantic Web Workshop (2001). Google Scholar
  24. [24]
    B.C. Meyers and P. Oberndorf, Managing Software Acquisition: Open Systems and COTS Products (Addison-Wesley, Boston, 2001). Google Scholar
  25. [25]
    H.V.D. Paranak, Go to the ant: Engineering principles from natural multi-agent systems, Annals of Operations Research (1997). Google Scholar
  26. [26]
  27. [27]
    S.L. Pfleeger, Software Engineering: Theory and Practice (Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2001). Google Scholar
  28. [28]
    J. Sametinger, Software Engineering with Reusable Components (Springer, New York, 1997). Google Scholar
  29. [29]
    M. Sawhney and J. Zabin, The Seven Steps to Nirvana: Strategic Insights into eBusiness Transformation (McGraw-Hill, New York, 2001). Google Scholar
  30. [30]
    J.-G. Schneider, M. Lumpe and O. Nierstrasz, Agent coordination via scripting languages, in: Coordination of Internet Agents: Models, Technologies, and Applications, eds. A. Omicini, F. Zambonelli, M. Klusch and R. Tolksdorf (Springer, New York, NY, 2001) pp. 153–175. Google Scholar
  31. [31]
    C. Shirky, Web services and context horizons, IEEE Computer 35(9) (2002) 98–100. Google Scholar
  32. [32]
    M.P. Singh and M.N. Huhns, Multiagent systems for workflow, International Journal of Intelligent Systems in Accounting, Finance and Management 8 (1999) 105–117. Google Scholar
  33. [33]
    Sun Microsystems, Inc. Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition, http://java.sun.com/j2ee/.
  34. [34]
    C. Szyperski, Component Software: Beyond Object-Oriented Programming (Addison-Wesley, New York, 2002). Google Scholar
  35. [35]
    The DAML Services Coalition, DAML-S: Web service description for the semantic Web, in: The 1st International Semantic Web Conference (ISWC) (2002). Google Scholar
  36. [36]
    The DAML Services Coalition, DAML-S and related technologies, http://www.daml.org/services/daml-s/0.7/survey.pdf.
  37. [37]
    The DAML Services Coalition, DAML-S: Semantic markup for Web services, http://www.daml.org/services/daml-s/0.7/daml-s.pdf.
  38. [38]
    The Foundation for Intelligent Physical Agents, www.fipa.org.
  39. [39]
    The Workflow Management Coalition, Terminology & Glossary, Document No. WFMC-TC-1011, http://www.wfmc.org/standards/docs/TC-1011_term_glossary_v3.pdf.
  40. [40]
    The Workflow Management Coalition, The Workflow Reference Model, Document No. TC00-1003, http://www.wfmc.org/standards/docs/tc003v11.pdf.
  41. [41]
    W. van der Aalst, Don’t go with the flow: Web services composition standards exposed, IEEE Intelligent Systems 18(1) (2003). Google Scholar
  42. [42]
    W. van der Aalst and K.M. van Hee, Workflow Management: Models, Methods, and Systems (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2002). Google Scholar
  43. [43]
    WebServices.Org, The ‘big boys’ unite forces – What does it mean for you? http://www.webservices.org/index.php/article/articleview/633/1/24/.
  44. [44]
    P. Wegner, Interoperability, ACM Computing Surveys 28(1) (1996) 285–287. Google Scholar
  45. [45]
    R. Weinreich and J. Sametinger, Component models and component services: Concepts and principles, in: Component-Based Software Engineering: Putting the Pieces together, eds. G.T. Heineman and W.T. Councill (Addison-Wesley, New York, 2001) pp. 33–48. Google Scholar
  46. [46]
    WfMC, Press release (September 12, 2002). Google Scholar
  47. [47]
    O.E. Williamson, S.G. Winter and R.H. Coase, The Nature of the Firm: Origins, Evolution, and Development (Oxford University Press, New York, 1991). Google Scholar
  48. [48]
    M. Wooldridge, Agents and software engineering, AI*IA Notizie XI(3) (1998) 31–37. Google Scholar
  49. [49]
    M.J. Wooldridge, Reasoning about Rational Agents (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2000). Google Scholar
  50. [50]
    XML Cover Pages, Business Process Execution Language for Web Services (BPEL4WS), http://xml.coverpages.org/bpel4ws.html.

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceCollege of CharlestonCharlestonUSA
  2. 2.Computer Science and EngineeringUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

Personalised recommendations