The Role of Ontologies in Emergent Middleware: Supporting Interoperability in Complex Distributed Systems

Blair, Gordon and Bennaceur, Amel and Georgantas, Nikolaos and Grace, Paul and Issarny, Valerie and Nundloll-Ramdhany, Vatsala and Paolucci, Massimo (2011) The Role of Ontologies in Emergent Middleware: Supporting Interoperability in Complex Distributed Systems. In: Proceedings of ACM/IFIP/USENIX 12th International Middleware Conference (Middleware 2011). Lecture Notes in Computer Science . Springer Verlag, PRT, pp. 410-430. ISBN 978-3-642-25820-6

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Interoperability is a fundamental problem in distributed systems, and an increasingly difficult problem given the level of heterogeneity and dynamism exhibited by contemporary systems. While progress has been made, we argue that complexity is now at a level such that existing approaches are inadequate and that a major re-think is required to identify principles and associated techniques to achieve this central property of distributed systems. In this paper, we postulate that emergent middleware is the right way forward; emergent middleware is a dynamically generated distributed system infrastructure for the current operating environment and context. In particular, we focus on the key role of ontologies in supporting this process and in providing underlying meaning and associated reasoning capabilities to allow the right run-time choices to be made. The paper presents the Connect middleware architecture as an example of emergent middleware and highlights the role of ontologies as a cross-cutting concern throughout this architecture. Two experiments are described as initial evidence of the potential role of ontologies in middleware. Important remaining challenges are also documented.

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09 Jul 2012 12:04
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21 Nov 2022 14:41