While today production and service provision constitute the main areas of application for Collaborative Networks (CNs) worldwide, during the last decade the paradigm is extending to many new application areas. These developments emphasize the need for establishing a sounder foundation for collaborative networks, namely in terms of theoretical principles and formal models, capturing the concepts, entities, behaviors, and operations of the CNs, and developing technology-independent infrastructure architectures, tools and methodologies.
As a new scientific discipline, research on different aspects of CNs is gaining momentum. As a result of many research projects and pilot applications, a large number of new challenges are identified everyday, in need of innovative solutions, which require holistic, multi-disciplinary approaches.
This book contains a number of selected articles from PRO-VE 2007, the eighth Working Conference on Virtual Enterprises held in Guimarães, Portugal, which was sponsored by the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) and the Society of Collaborative Networks (SOCOLNET). PRO-VE is well known as the most focused scientific and technical conference on Collaborative Networks, offering a major opportunity for the presentation and discussion of the latest research developments and industrial practice case studies. In line with the vision of IFIP and SOCOLNET societies, the PRO-VE Conference offers a forum for collaboration and knowledge exchange among experts from different regions of the world. With the steady growth of the PRO-VE community, this platform has offered a base for consolidation of the foundation of Collaborative Networks.
The articles included in this book represent a comprehensive overview of recent advances in various domains and lines of research and development on collaborative networks. There is a special emphasis on the CN topics related to trust aspects, performance and value systems, VO breeding environments, VO creation, e-contracting, collaborative architectures and frameworks, professional virtual communities, interoperability issues, business benefits, and case studies and applications in industry and services.
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