Knowledge Management using Business Process Modelling and Workflow Techniques

 

Proposer: Yun-Heh (Jessica) Chen-Burger, 650 2756, jessicac@aiai.ed.ac.uk

 

Suggested Supervisors: Yun-Heh (Jessica) Chen-Burger

 

Other Suggested Supervisors: Dave Robertson

 

Subject Areas: Knowledge Based Systems, Business Process Modelling, Knowledge Representation, Automatic Reasoning and Planning.

 

Principle goal of the project: The principle goal of the project is to provide an implementation for FBPML (Fundamental Business Process Modelling Language).

 

Description: The motivation for the project is to investigate whether AI techniques such as conceptualisation, knowledge representation, automatic reasoning and planning may be useful to bridge the gap that knowledge management today faces. This gap exists primarily between the ability of gathering and presenting knowledge and the ability to perform semantic-based manipulation of this knowledge.

 

This project proposes using structured semi-formal modelling methods, such as business process modelling languages, to capture organisation operations. Models using such modelling languages will provide a precise and concise meaning for enactment of workflow systems.

 

The main objective of the project is to understand and possibly extend a business process modelling language, FBPML[6][7], that is a merger of two standardised process modelling languages, IDEF3 [1] and PSL[2]. The benefit of merging the two process modelling languages is that the former provides an informal process conceptualisation that can be visualised, whereas the latter provides a formal process theory but without any visualisation. Although the two languages are not equal, their core concepts overlap. Such core concepts are included in BPML and are carefully arranged so that the consistency of FBPML is maintained.

 

The second objective is to provide a formalisation for all models using FBPML that is suitable to provide a knowledge basis to construct a workflow system. The formal representation should be fully compliant with FBPML and at the same time include all components needed for process enactment. The content of such a formal representation is unclear, as it needs to meet two requirements: it must correctly represent the processes described using FBPML, and it must provide aspects necessary to enact those processes. Based on this formal representation, a workflow engine should be designed and implemented.

 

Basic Tasks:

·        Understand standard process modelling languages, IDEF3 and PSL;

·        Understand Ontology and the Ontology that is related to this project;

·        Understand FBPML and its design rationale;

·        Familiarise with modelling tool;

·        Create formal representation for models written in FBPML, refer to [4][5][6];

·        Design a workflow system that is based on the formal representation, refer to [4][5][6][7];

·        Choose and familiarise domain and construct user scenarios for the workflow system;

·        Implement the workflow system and demonstrate it using a case study;

·        Evaluate the workflow system.

 

Additional Tasks:

·        Compare IDEF3, PSL and FBPML;

·        Survey other workflow systems;

·        Comparison of different types of workflow systems;

·        Discuss human involvements in a workflow system;

·        Discuss the significance of a workflow system that is designed for operating within a distributed agent architecture.

 

Resources Required: A generic modelling system developed by previous project.

 

Degree of Difficulty: Medium to Hard.

 

Background Needed: Knowledge Representation, Conceptual Modelling, Ontology, Knowledge of Logical programming preferred Prolog and Clips.

 

References:

1.      IDEF3 Manual: Richard Mayer and Christopher Menzel and Michael Painter and Paula Witte and Thomas Blinn and Benjamin Perakath, Information Integration for Concurrent Engineering (IICE) IDEF3 Process Description Capture Method Report, Knowledge Based Systems Inc. (KBSI), Sep 1995. Also available at http://www.idef.com/. 

2.      PSL Specification: Craig Schlenoff and Amy Knutilla and Steven Ray, Proceedings of the Process Specification Language (PSL) Roundtable, #NISTIR 6081, 1997. National Institute of Standards and Technology, http://www.nist.gov/psl/.

3.      Schlenoff, C., Gruninger M., Tissot, F., Valois, J., Lubell, J., Lee, J., The Process Specification Language (PSL): Overview and Version 1.0 Specification. http://www.mel.nist.gov/psl/pubs.html, NISTIR 6459, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (2000). 

4.      Workflow Handbook 2001,  edited by Layna Fischer, WFMC published in association with the workflow management Coalition, ISBN 0-9703509-0-2.

5.      Dave Robertson and Jaume Agusti, Software System Blueprints: lightweight uses of logic in conceptual modelling.

6.      Yun-Heh Chen-Burger, Austin Tate, Dave Robertson, “Enterprise Modelling: A Declarative Approach for FBPML”, European Conference of Artificial Intelligence, Knowledge Management and Organisational Memories Workshop, 2002. http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/homes/jessicac/psfiles/ecai2002.pdf.

7.      Yun-Heh Chen-Burger, a modification version of  A Working Document for Formalising Concepts in EBPML. http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/homes/jessicac/project/mscProject/new-formal.doc.

8.      Yun-Heh Chen-Burger PhD thesis, available at the author’s home page: http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/homes/jessicac/.

9.      Yun-Heh Chen-Burger, Knowledge Sharing and Inconsistency Checking on Multiple Enterprise Models, Proceeding of IJCAI Knowledge Management and Organisation Memory Workshop, 2001. To appear as chapter of book.

10.  Yun-Heh Chen-Burger AKT Workshop Presentation Slides, available via the author’s home page as indicated above.

11.  Yun-Heh Chen-Burger:  Business Process Simulation Program, as a part of PhD thesis work.

12.  Example Business Process Model: AKT Project: http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/project/akt/work/jessicac/pc-config/onto-model/top-level.html and Edify Project.