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Advanced Infrastructure for Pan-European Collaborative Engineering

Objective

E-Colleg will make use of enabling technologies (e.g. Jini, CORBA, RMI) for collaborative engineering based on advanced infrastructures. The work will augment existing integration technologies by scaleable, platform-independent services for dynamic configuration of infrastructure with secure access management for distributed teams, services and data, to support multi-site and multi-platform and dynamic tool integration on the basis of novel agent technology. It is further intended to demonstrate the feasibility of this approach through pan-European collaborative engineering showcases for image processing and telecommunication systems. E-Colleg will make use of enabling technologies (e.g. Jini, CORBA, RMI) for collaborative engineering based on advanced infrastructures. The work will augment existing integration technologies by scaleable, platform-independent services for dynamic configuration of infrastructure with secure access management for distributed teams, services and data, to support multi-site and multi-platform and dynamic tool integration on the basis of novel agent technology. It is further intended to demonstrate the feasibility of this approach through pan-European collaborative engineering showcases for image processing and telecommunication systems.

OBJECTIVES
The objectives of E-Colleg are:
to provide enabling technology for collaborative engineering based on an advanced infrastructure;
- to develop generic collaborative services, such as dynamic team building, that support the collaborative exploration of design trade-offs involving multiple fields of expertise during the design of complex systems;
- to demonstrate feasibility of the pan-European collaborative engineering by development of two industrial applications;
- to augment existing integration technologies by scaleable, platform-independent services for dynamic configuration of the infrastructure;
- to handle security and access management for distributed teams, services and data;
- to provide a solution for multi-site and multi-platform tool integration;
- to develop a technique for dynamic tool integration based on novel agent technology;
- to provide transparent data access by self-describing data formats based on Internet standards such as XML.

DESCRIPTION OF WORK
The E-Colleg project will investigate and develop an advanced collaborative infrastructure that will constitute an important backbone for pan-European collaborative research and engineering. Consortium's work will be based on the ASTAI(R) infrastructure that is the result of C-Lab's research. This solution will be a target of consortium's scientific and technical efforts, which will take into account major advanced technologies of collaborative computing and communication, namely: theory of agents, Jini, UPP, SNMP, CORBA, RMI.
These investigations will result in the development of a basic set of required services that will include: tool encapsulation, data filtering, access control, and remote administration. As a further step, the infrastructure will be validated through realisation of two engineering tasks which will require distributed collaboration. Metrics, and will be formulated on a design process that will at the final stage of E-Colleg prove in quantitative terms the advantages of the developed collaborative infrastructure.
The final phase of the project will validate the extended infrastructure through its use in two distributed engineering tasks. The results will be measured using the earlier defined metrics. The resulting infrastructure with its advanced services will be able to support complex distributed engineering tasks.
The E-Colleg main objectives have been achieved through the development of the advanced collaborative infrastructure (ACI) based on TRMS for distance spanning, secure tool integration and management, as well as open interfaces for XML-based data exchange constitute the main results of the project. ACI combines secure peer-to-peer data transfer with XML-based tool integration. TRMS and ANTS In respect to TRMS, research and development plans have been completed and its intended functionality has been reached. This final TRMS version that integrates ANTS has been deployed at ITE and TOSA. UGHP has integrated instant messaging into ANTS component, though it was not originally planned. ANTS is a peer-to-peer based infrastructure, which can be applied to seamlessly integrate tools and interconnect them as Web Services in order to overcome connectivity problems between highly protected intranets.

ANTS allows to establish collaboration over firewalls. New tool integration technology based on XML A new approach towards integration of tools based on XML has been taken by the consortium. This approach results among others in wider spectrum of "tools" or "extended tools" that might be integrated. At best one can thus talk on "integrated resources", like tools, services, hardware, and users. Collaborative extensions to design tools This result has not been met. In coordination with EU, appropriate measures have been taken to compensate for this change in the project strategy. Application scenarios The deployment of integrated TRMS at all users' sites due to time constraints and in fact successful deployment of ANTS wasn't completed to the planned extent. SUT has however prepared an exploitation plan for supporting all partners committed to continue with TRMS usage during 2004. ASTAI(r) The existing ASTAI(r) workflow engine technology proved useful in same cases of ACI deployment. All expected deliverables have been issued. Work still needs to be continued on quantitative assessment of distributed collaborative work in dispersed teams of engineers.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

THALES OPTRONIQUE SA
Address
Rue Guynemer
78280 Guyancourt
France

Participants (5)

INFINEON TECHNOLOGIES AG
Germany
Address
St. Martin Strasse 53
81609 Muenchen
INSTYTUT TECHNOLOGII ELEKTRONOWEJ
Poland
Address
Al. Lotnikow 32/46
02-668 Warszawa
POLITECHNIKA SLASKA
Poland
Address
Ul. Akademicka 2
44-100 Gliwice
SIEMENS BUSINESS SERVICES GMBH & CO. OHG
Germany
Address
Otto-hahn-ring 6
81739 Muenchen
UNIVERSITAET PADERBORN
Germany
Address
Warburger Strasse 100
33098 Paderborn