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WSMO-Full aims to extend the conceptual model of WSMO-Standard [Roman et al., 2004] (which describes minimal characteristics that should be common to all services accessible on the web) by bringing a B2B perspective to it.
WSMO-Full aims to provide a conceptual model and a context for understanding semantic web services and the relationships between the parts this model consists of.
This deliverable is intended to provide a common definition of a semantic web service based on the way a web service is described in WSMO-Standard, extended by elements required in a real B2B scenario, and define its place within a larger semantic web services framework. WSMO-Full, as an extension to WSMO-Standard, aims to be an "interoperability" conceptual model: it defines the global elements of the global semantic web services network that are required in order to ensure interoperability between semantic web services.
It is not the aim of the WSMO-Full to specify how semantic web services are implemented, and imposes no restriction on how these services might be combined.
WSMO-Full adopts the view that a service is centered around the contract between the service provider (the entity which provides the service) and service requestor (the entity which request the service). Such a contract can be explicit or implicit, and can be agreed in a variety of ways. It is important to note that the contract represents an agreement about what a service does; it does not necessarily need to have any legal status.
The potential role of contracts in supporting web service interactions is becoming increasingly recognised. The importance of contracts in supporting interactions between agents in open systems, especially e-commerce, has long been recognised by the agent community (For example, [Jennings et al., 1996]). Furthermore, proposals have been made to use contracts in semantic web services [Grosof & Poon, 2004].
The document is further structured in the following way: Section 2 gives a definition of what a service is, Section 3 gives an overview of the WSMO-Full conceptual model, Section 4 presents the architecture of WSMO-Full by providing an approach to discovery, service definition and service execution. Section 4 presents the conclusions and further intentions and Section 5 contains a glossary, which consists of relevant terminology used in this document.
The word ‘service’ can be used in several different ways. If a clear conceptual model is to be developed for semantic web services, we believe that it is necessary to make these different uses explicit.
In the economy nowadays, a great variety of different services are traded; cleaning of windows, provision of stock quotes, shipment of crates, showing of films, giving massages, translation of documents, location of out-of-print books, provision of a broadband connection of a certain quality etc. In each case, the customer receives something of value to them in return for a payment to the supplier. The service the customer receives can be described in some language about the domain of interest. Such a description does not need to refer to the way in which the supplier and customer and interact. This is what an economist or businessperson would refer to as a service.
On the internet, services can be provided which involve some financial transaction, and so correspond closely to the above perspective. However we can broaden this view of service without losing what is essential. A service can be provided without any payment, and the value the service provides need only be ‘in the eyes of the requestor’, not necessarily something that would be considered to have monetary value in the commercial world. For example, a service may be the provision of a specific piece of information from a database, the provision of a plan to achieve some goal, or the assignment of some domain task to a given software application. Hence, we define a service to be the provision of something of value, in the context of some domain of application, by one party to another.
We also need to distinguish between a particular provision of value (for example, location of a particular out-of-print book) from the general capability to provide ( for example, the ability to locate out of print books). Here, we borrow loosely from object oriented language. We refer to the former as a concrete service, and the latter as an abstract service. Hence an abstract service is defined as the capacity to perform something of value, in the context of some domain of application. This is close to the definition of service given in the WSA.
This usage is common in the computer science and IT community. Papers often speak of sending messages to services, receiving results from services, executing services etc. While this is clearly appropriate in the context of web services and service oriented architectures, it can cause some confusion when mixing usage of this definition with the definitions above. For that reason, we believe that it is more accurate to speak of such an entity as being (part of) a service provider agent (SPA). We also use the term ‘web service’ to refer to a specific application with a WSDL/SOAP interface.
The most common example of this usage is ‘negotiation service’; A negotiation service provides the means to interact (negotiate) with a given actor. This usage is clearly different from the first usage, in that negotiation in itself does not provide something of value. However, the outcome of the negotiation may do so (and hence may be a service in the first sense.) For this reason, we refer to this as the provision of a negotiation ‘protocol’ or ‘choreography’.
All three of these aspects of service provision are essential; the ‘value’ in some domain, the interactions involved, and the implementation of the entity able to deliver what is needed. However, we believe that for conceptual reasons it is best to make clear distinctions between them.
The conceptual model of WSMO-Full is based on the distinction between the abstract service a service provider offers and the agreed service which appears within a contract, and assigning semantics to each. Additionally, we introduce the concrete service which is the performance of a specific service at a particular time. Similarly, we consider abstract tasks, agreed tasks and concrete tasks. Firstly, we define the concept of a concrete service. The reason for defining a concrete service first, is that it represents the core ‘building block’ with which to define the semantics of more abstract descriptions of services.
A Concrete Service is an actual or possible performance of a set of tasks that represent a coherent functionality (and therefore deliver some value) within some domain of interest to its associated service requestor agent and service provider agent.
entity concrete-service-definition tasks oftype set task service-provider-agent oftype wsmo-web-service service-requestor-agent oftype wsmo-web-service post-agreement-choreographies oftype set post-agreement-choreography
A concrete service is effectively a specific and detailed set of tasks carried out at a given time, and the messages exchanged in association with this. The messages are exchanged between a specific provider agent and requestor agent, according to certain choreographies and using certain interfaces.
Concrete services need not be explicitly represented in a semantic web services framework. Instead, we represent and reason with abstract services. However, a conceptual understanding of concrete services is essential to underpin the semantics of abstract services.
An example of a concrete service would be: The service provider agent PayneConverter performs the task of quoting a euro exchange value for £10 for the service requestor cwp at 2pm on May 25, 2004. The message exchange consists of the requestor sending the message exchangeRateRequest(10,uks,euro) and the provider replying with exchangeRateResponse(14.9599, 2004.05.25 14:00:29 GMT).
A service provider, however, does not offer a specific concrete service. Rather, they are able to provide many different possible concrete services. Similarly, a requestor is rarely after a specific concrete service; they are interested in many possible services which meet their needs. For that reason, we define the concept of abstract service. An abstract service is some set of concrete services. A concrete service is said to be a realization of an abstract service if it appears in this set.
entity abstract-service-definition abstract-service-description oftype abstract-service-description service-provider-agent oftype wsmo-web-service service-requestor-agent oftype wsmo-web-service contract-agreement-choreography oftype contract-agreement-choreography
Whereas a concrete service provider is always associated with a specific requestor agent and provider agent, an abstract service may have one or both of these undefined. Similarly, an abstract task may be less completely defined than a concrete task is. An abstract-service description provides a unifying view on both service provider agent and service requester agent. However, as mentioned above, an abstract service may have only one of service requester agent or service provider agent defined: when only the provider agent is defined then the abstract-service description will correspond to WSMO-Standard web service description and when only the requestor agent is specified then abstract-service description corresponds to a WSMO-Standard goal description.
An example of an abstract service would be: The service provider agent PayneConverter can perform the task of quoting an exchange value for any amount, between any two currencies, at any time in the future. The abstract service is the set of all concrete services which meet this description. (Furthermore, a formalized version of this would be an example of an Abstract-Service Description.)
An abstract service, as we shall see below, can be used for advertising or requesting. However, it is not precise enough to define what a requestor agent and provider agent agree. For that we define the concept of agreed service.
An Agreed Service is an abstract service agreed between two parties. Hence it is associated with a specific service provider agent and service requestor agent. It also has specific post-agreement choreographies associated with it.
entity agreed-service-definition subentityof abstract-service-definition post-agreement-choreographies oftype post-agreement-choreography agreed-service-desription oftype agreed-service-desription
An example of an agreed service would be: The service provider agent PayneConverter agrees to perform the task of quoting a euro exchange value for any amount of UK sterling for the service requestor cwp any time before 12am on May 26, 2004. PayneConverter is indifferent as to the exact value it converts and the time of conversion. Its choreography definition puts the decision of how much (via a parameter) and when (via choice of when to send the message) in the hands of cwp. Hence this is indeed a possible agreed service.
The agreed service forms the core of the service contract between two parties, which defines the semantics of their interaction: a Service Contract is an agreement between a service provider and requestor that the provider will supply an agreed service to the requestor. A service Contract is defined as follows:
entity service-contract-definition service-provider oftype service-provider service-requester oftype service-requester agreed-service-description oftype agreed-service-description tasks-choreographies-association oftype tasks-choreographies-association
In the future, a service contract may contain additional information about who is responsible and what compensation may occur in the case that a service is not delivered correctly. Compensation may involve remedial actions and/or payment of damages. It may also contain additional legal terms and conditions. However, further research is necessary as how best to incorporate these formally, so they do not form part of WSMO-full release 0.1. Furthermore, they should only be incorporated when a clear user need for representing this information in machine-readable form has been identified.
In this sections we present the architecture of WSMO-Full. Firstly, we present definitions of the concepts we introduce. Then we present and explain the architecture. For clarity, we separate it into three diagrams, representing the entities and relationships involved in discovery, service definition and service execution. We omit the entities and relationships which appear in the WSA if they remain unchanged in our model and are not relevant to the discussion of service semantics. We adopt the notational conventions used by the WSA; in particular, we provide textual descriptions and diagrammatic representations of concepts and relationships between these concepts. Many of the relationships are descriptive, but 'has' is treated as definatorial. In the diagrams, boxes represent concepts and arrows represent relationships. The arrow points from the subject of the relationship to the object.
Figure 1 illustrates the concepts involved in discovery. A requestor agent requires one of a class of abstract service; to this end, they publish a description of their requirements as a WSMO Goal. Similarly, a provider agent is able to provide services within a certain class of abstract service. It publishes a description of the services it can provide as a WSMO serivice description.
Ideally, in each case, the description of the abstract service will correspond exactly to the actual abstract service which is required or offered. However, in practice, this may not be possible.
|Figure 1. Discovery in WSMO-Full.|
Following discovery, two parties need to determine if they can agree a service which the provider will supply to the requestor. This is done through the contract agreement phase. In some cases, this phase will be unnecessary and the results from the discovery phase will be enough. This is the case if the following criteria are satisfied:
If all three of these criteria hold , then the contract agreement phase is unnecessary. The service offer description (WSMO service description) defines a set of concrete services, and the provider doesn’t care which is selected. The delivery choreography allows the selection of a concrete service to be made by inputting parameter values chosen by the requestor.
If the published abstract service description does not satisfy the criteria, but the service provider agent is able to give an abstract service description which does, then the contract agreement phase becomes a straightforward ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ process. The contract agreement choreography simply consists of the requestor accessing the description. It then goes on to execute the delivery choreography if it chooses to use this service provider, and does nothing otherwise.
|Figure 2. Contract Agreement Model of WSMO-Full.|
In general, the contract agreement phase can be more complex than this. Figure 2 illustrates the concepts it involves. At least one provider and at least one requestor agent participate in a choreography to agree a contract between them. The choreography involves discussing some abstract service, and may explicitly involve the manipulation of a description of that abstract service. If the choreography terminates successfully, it results in a service contract agreed between two parties; this contract contains a description of an agreed service which specifies the concrete service to be delivered. The agreed service will be a specialization of the abstract service found during discovery. The decision making within the contract agreement phase has three aspects:
Any given contract agreement phase does not necessarily involve all three of these. Furthermore, the order in which these take place is not fixed; they may take place one after another in any order, or all three aspects can be interleaved with each other. In the agent mediated electronic commerce literature, a clear distinction is made between a negotiation protocol, defining the rules of negotiation, and the negotiation algorithm executed by a given agent [He et al., 2003]. Similarly, we distinguish here between a contract agreement choreography (in which two or more agents participate) and the algorithms within requestor and provider agents which they use to participate in such a choreography. The choreography is within the scope of the conceptual model, as it is inter-agent. The algorithms used by the agents, however, are private and so fall beyond the scope of the conceptual model.
A contract agreement choreography is a protocol for message interactions between at least one service requestor and at least one service provider which, on successful termination, will result in the agreement of a service contract between two of the parties.
A contract agreement choreography may explicitly involve service selection and/or negotiation. Service selection protocols can take different forms. Examples include:
Example negotiation protocols include:
Many other possible approaches to negotiation exist ([He et al., 2003], [Vulkan, 2003]).
A choreography may also combine the two – for example, we could imagine a book selling service provider in which you use a shopping basket to choose your books, and then use propose/counterpropose to negotiate the final price. Usually, choreographies specifying these protocols will involve two parties (requestor and provider). However, either party may be involved in several simultaneous choreographies to allow them to make the optimal trading partner selection. Trading partner selection, therefore, is a consequence of the internal algorithm rather than the choreography. These parallel conversations may be hidden or may be deliberately made public as in the reverse auction. In the latter case, the conversation protocol can be viewed as part of a multi-party choreography. The definition of the choreography would be made public to all participants.
The association of a contract agreement choreography to a given set of provider and requestor agents must take place following discovery. The most common way to do this is for the advertising agent to associate a (pointer to) a contract agreement choreography description with their advert, or to return a contract agreement choreography when they are first queried directly. The contract agreement choreography may take the results of the discovery phase as input, if the discovery phase revealed more information than just possible service providers. For example, the discovery phase may return a contract template for each service provider, and this can then be instantiated during the choreography. Alternatively, a provider agent may provide a new (and more detailed) Abstract-Service Description at the beginning of the choreography, or may allow a requestor to iteratively construct a service contract.
When a contract agreement choreography has terminated successfully, then service delivery can take place. This may commence immediately on agreement of the contract, or may be initiated later by a subsequent choreography. Figure 3 illustrates the concepts involved in the service delivery phase, most of which have already been defined. A concrete service is supplied by the provider agent to the requestor agent. This concrete service must be a member of the agreed service (which, recall, is a set of concrete services). The agreed service has an associated service contract which contains a description of the service agreed together with a mapping from the agreed tasks within the service to choreographies about these tasks. To distinguish these choreographies from the contract agreement choreographies, we refer to them as post agreement choreographies.
|Figure 3. Service Delivery Model of WSMO-Full.|
A post-agreement choreography is a protocol for a conversation between a service requestor and service provider about a contract which has been previously agreed, or one or more tasks within such a contract.
There are at least three different kinds of post-agreement choreography:
This draft presented a conceptual model for semantic web services developed out of a requirements analysis of a set of case studies  in the SWWS project. Next drafts of this documents will include mediation in WSMO-Full and a more detailed alignment to WSMO-Standard.
This conceptual model will be further refined and developed based on different case studies which will be provided in the context of DIP, SEKT and KW projects.
|Service Provider||An entity that provides a service.|
|Service Requester||An entity that wishes to make use of a service.|
|Service Provider Agent||A provider agent is a software agent that is capable of and empowered to perform the actions associated with a service on behalf of its owner – the service provider.|
|Service Requester Agent||A requester agent is a software agent that wishes to interact with a service provider agent in order to request that a task be performed on behalf of its owner — the service requester.|
|Concrete Service||An actual or possible performance of a set of tasks that represent a coherent functionality (and therefore deliver some value) within some domain of interest to its associated service requestor and service provider.|
|Abstract Service||Some set of concrete services.|
|Agreed Service||An abstract service agreed between two parties.|
|Abstract Service - Description||Some machine-processable description which has, as its semantics, an abstract service.|
|Agreed Service - Description||Some formal or informal description of the agreed service’s tasks to be performed.|
|Service Contract||An agreement between a service provider and requestor that the provider will supply an agreed service to the requestor.|
|Task||An action or combination of actions.|
|Resource||Anything that can have an identifier.|
|Contract-agreement choreography||A protocol for message interactions between at least one service requestor and at least one service provider which, on successful termination, will result in the agreement of a service contract between two of the parties.|
|Post-agreement choreography||A protocol for a conversation between a service requestor and service provider about a contract which has been previously agreed, or one or more tasks within such a contract.|
[Grosof & Poon, 2004] Grosof, B. and Poon, T.: SweetDeal: Representing Agent Contracts With Exceptions using Semantic Web Rules, Ontologies and Process Descriptions. To appear, International Journal of Electronic Commerce (2004)
[He et al., 2003] He, M., Jennings, N.R. and Leung, H: On Agent Mediated Electronic Commerce. IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering 15(4) (2003) 985-1003
[Jennings et al., 1996] Jennings, N.R., Faratin, P.,Johnson,M.J., O’Brien,P. and Wiegand, M.E.: Using Intelligent Agents to Manage Business Processes. Proceedings of the First Int. Conference on the Practical Application of Intelligent Agents and Multi-Agent Technology (1996) 345-360
[Roman et al., 2004] D. Roman, U. Keller, H. Lausen: Web Service Modeling Ontology - Standard, version 0.1 available at http://www.wsmo.org/2004/d2/v0.2/
[Trastour et al., 2001] Trastour, D., Bartolini, C. and Gonzalez-Castillo,J.: A Semantic Web Approach to Service Description for Matchmaking of Services. In Proceedings of the Semantic Web Working Symposium, Stanford, CA, USA, July 30 - August 1, 2001
[Vulkan, 2003] Vulkan, N.: The Economics of E-Commerce. Princetown University Press, Princetown, New Jersey (2003)
The work is funded by the European Commission under the projects DIP, Knowledge Web, SEKT, SWWS, Esperonto, and h-TechSight; by Science Foundation Ireland under the DERI-Lion project; and by the Vienna city government under the CoOperate program.
The editors would like to thank to all the members of the WSMO working group for their advice and input into this document.
 The SWWS use cases are available at http://swws.semanticweb.org
$Date: Tuesday 20 July 2004 - 13:01:14$