Context Interchange as a Scalable Solution to Interoperating Amongst Heterogeneous Dynamic Services
14 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2004
Date Written: October 2004
Many online services access a large number of autonomous data sources and at the same time need to meet different user requirements. It is essential for these services to achieve semantic interoperability among these information exchange entities. In the presence of an increasing number of proprietary business processes, heterogeneous data standards, and diverse user requirements, it is critical that the services are implemented using adaptable, extensible, and scalable technology. The Context Interchange (COIN) approach, inspired by similar goals of the Semantic Web, provides a robust solution. In this paper, we describe how COIN can be used to implement dynamic online services where semantic differences are reconciled on the fly. We show that COIN is flexible and scalable by comparing it with several conventional approaches. With a given ontology, the number of conversions in COIN is quadratic to the semantic aspect that has the largest number of distinctions. These semantic aspects are modeled as modifiers in a conceptual ontology; in most cases the number of conversions is linear with the number of modifiers, which is significantly smaller than traditional hard-wiring middleware approach where the number of conversion programs is quadratic to the number of sources and data receivers. In the example scenario in the paper, the COIN approach needs only 5 conversions to be defined while traditional approaches require 20,000 to 100 million. COIN achieves this scalability by automatically composing all the comprehensive conversions from a small number of declaratively defined sub-conversions.
Keywords: ontology, semantics, scalability, data integration, heterogeneous sources
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