Understanding grid semantics for virtual collaboration

December 15, 2005
Understanding grid semantics for virtual collaboration

An EU project hopes to realise the ultimate potential of Grid computing by creating a network that is intelligently aware of its components and of the domain it addresses, enabling quick and easy virtual collaboration.

With funding from the European Commission's IST programme, the project aims to deploy this type of 'smart Grid' for a complex industry like aerospace, shipbuilding or construction, where large numbers of partners need to come together for a single, one-off project.

"We hope that we can augment Grid technology to provide a stable and secure collaboration platform on one hand, and a platform into which players can plug in and get out rather quickly on the other," says Professor �iga Turk, coordinator of the InteliGrid and researcher at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. "In addition to that, the Grid should be providing ICT resources on demand to support the irregular requirements over the design and production cycle." For this to be effective, however, computers must 'know' what data 'means'. Humans understand what lines stand for and can make intelligent decisions about them.

"But computers don't [understand]. For computers to assist more intelligently in the design process, the design must be composed of higher-level objects, such as walls, windows and so on. Applications and services can assist humans more intelligently if working with these meaningful objects," says Prof Turk.

Similarly, the IT infrastructure for a virtual organisation is quite complex and to manage it the infrastructure itself must know what it consists of, what services are there, and what resources are available to be used. "So we need to bridge the semantics of the IT infrastructure and the semantics of the [industry] domain," Prof Turk says.

In semantic computing computers can deal with meaningful objects. It is a huge topic in Web computing right now. It will have a profound impact on society, perhaps more than the creation of the Internet itself. Information will no longer be tied simply to words that appear on the page. InteliGrid is making bold steps in semantic computing for 'virtual organisations' (VOs) in complex industries. Its concern is not so much words but models of engineering products.

The project has made a lot of progress so far, one year into its three-year cycle. "We have a very clear idea what the architecture of the system would look like and started with the development of some key components. The engineering Grid is set up, one can log into the portal, and there are some essential administration and engineering services already plugged in," says Prof Turk.

Conceptualising knowledge Currently the project is focused on the selection of appropriate ontologies of the IT environment. Ontologies are a crucial element of the Semantic Grid; they are the foundation stones upon which meaning is built. Ontologies are an agreed upon selection of related concepts that denote real world objects within a computer system or a database. A kind of furniture of the world into which real world concepts can be orderly organised.

Ultimately, InteliGrid plans to deliver a demonstration of their system in 2007, when the project ends. It could be huge but there are quite a few uncertainties. "The impact, we hope, will be quite wide. We are accumulating the knowledge, building the infrastructure and the toolkits that will allow for a broad transition of the industry towards semantic, model-based, ontology-committed collaboration," says Prof Turk.

More immediately, the InteliGrid could have a huge impact on the way engineers work. "Some studies show that engineers and designers spend over 70 per cent of their time in non-value adding activities - like finding information, converting or re-keying data. What they like to do and what they are best at is creative designing. Projects like InteliGrid will allow them to spend more time at what they are best at," says Prof Turk.

Prof Turk also believes InteliGrid will make airplanes, buildings and bridges safer and more efficient. And this will ultimately not only benefit the engineers and the architects but the entire population, he says.

Source: IST Results

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Microsoft describes hard-to-mimic authentication gesture

August 1, 2015

Photos. Messages. Bank account codes. And so much more—sit on a person's mobile device, and the question is, how to secure them without having to depend on lengthy password codes of letters and numbers. Vendors promoting ...

Netherlands bank customers can get vocal on payments

August 1, 2015

Are some people fed up with remembering and using passwords and PINs to make it though the day? Those who have had enough would prefer to do without them. For mobile tasks that involve banking, though, it is obvious that ...

How bees naturally vaccinate their babies

July 31, 2015

When it comes to vaccinating their babies, bees don't have a choice—they naturally immunize their offspring against specific diseases found in their environments. And now for the first time, scientists have discovered how ...

Model shows how surge in wealth inequality may be reversed

July 30, 2015

(Phys.org)—For many Americans, the single biggest problem facing the country is the growing wealth inequality. Based on income tax data, wealth inequality in the US has steadily increased since the mid-1980s, with the top ...

A cataclysmic event of a certain age

July 27, 2015

At the end of the Pleistocene period, approximately 12,800 years ago—give or take a few centuries—a cosmic impact triggered an abrupt cooling episode that earth scientists refer to as the Younger Dryas.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.