Intelligent dynamic workflow support for a ubiquitous Web service-based manufacturing environment

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Abstract

The ubiquitous environment is increasingly being considered as a platform for finding and integrating separate distributed services. Individuals or businesses can provide their services in the form of Web services in such a ubiquitous environment, and business processes that integrate such ubiquitous Web services can be formed using workflow technology. Workflow design and execution in such a dynamic and distributed environment needs to be very flexible in terms of incorporating changes. Web services may suddenly become unavailable and backup services may need to be found, or several providers of services may not be identifiable at the design time of the workflow. Therefore, dynamically finding and invoking Web services based on the workflow semantics need to be supported. BPEL4WS is the most popular and promising language among the workflow design languages for Web services. However, one of the problems with BPEL4WS is that it references the fixed WSDL file, which makes the workflow less flexible in dynamic and ubiquitous environments. Another problem is that it limits the amount of resources to only those that are specified. This makes it difficult to support semantics for finding similar or backup services in a ubiquitous network. This paper focuses on extending the BPEL4WS framework to include semantics by adding semantic constructs into WSDL and making use of ontologies in the BPEL4WS engine in order to support dynamic workflows suitable for ubiquitous environments.

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