The C-WEB project aims at designing a generic platform based on open standards, and the related methodology and know-how, to support community-webs structured along domain-specific ontologies, i.e. formal representations of the knowledge shared by professionals working in a specific domain. It also aims at validating both the standards, the software platform and the methodology through experiments carried-out with several different user groups.
Although the complete research is planned on four years from 2000 to 2003, the present project is limited to the "Feasibility assessment phase" to be carried-out during the first year. This phase will identify the users' expectations regarding the next generation of Web tools and information repositories able to support communities, and will specify a generic software architecture matching these requirements.
This first-phase project is planned on one year and includes only two technical tasks in addition to project management and outreach.
Task 1 aims at identifying what are the key-services expected by "virtual communities", what are the main potential markets for the target product, and what should be the core functionality of the platform. The work will be done in close collaboration with representatives of several communities, which are already active users of current web technologies, e.g.: art history, software engineers, or other staff working in "knowledge-intensive" businesses for which group-cooperation is normal practice.
Task 2 will identify relevant technologies and methodologies that can eventually be used and integrated in a generic C-Web platform, and will design the general system architecture. State-of-the-art technologies will be identified and considered along the following criteria: relevance, availability, maturity, conformance to open standards, scalability, ease of integration (AP, public interface). A first hypothetical version of the system architecture will be designed, taking into account results of task 1 and of the assessment of the technical state of the art.
The architecture will be specified at an abstract level using a relevant object - oriented formalism (e.g.: Unified Modelling Language, UML) identifying actors, tasks and information flows. The resulting model will be carefully screened, looking especially at potential performance and scalability issues. In addition to the technical tasks, an important dissemination effort be will undertaken to raise the interest of key-actors from various industrial sectors, ensuring a strong industrial backup to the open standards promoted through the project.
This first-phase project will provide a clear understanding of the expectations and requirements of diverse users communities regarding "intelligent" web services. It will derive from these requirements and from the technological and scientific state-of-the-art, a generic software architecture, defined at an abstract level. Knowledge of the potential market and technical feasibility assessment will prepare the way for the main-phase project. Dissemination of results will increase industrial interest for NT-generation knowledge-based web systems.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts