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The new generation web, using XML and knowledge-based techniques, promises much deeper and cheaper business process automation, enabling much expanded e-services. We give a new technological approach to knowledge management for end-to-end e-contracting, policies, trust, and business process automation. The approach combines expressively powerful declarative rules (Situated Courteous Logic Programs in RuleML), ontologies (including both OWL and default-frame), the MIT Process Handbook, and emerging semantic web services concepts. We overview our foundational work on semantic rules and the RuleML emerging standard for web rules, including the just-released SweetRules V2 open-source toolset and Semantic Web Services Language. We give some new associated analysis of business and market evolution and strategies. In particular, we give a new roadmap for development of open shared knowledge bases about business processes and contracts, as a key element of industry infrastructure.
Our previous foundational work includes several major pieces of knowledge representation theory, revolving around extensions and restrictions of declarative logic programs. We further discuss some of our latest work in this overall area of theory. One strand is to integrate nonmonotonic logic programs with classical first order logic -- an approach called hypermonotonic reasoning. Another strand is to integrate OPS5-descendant production rule systems (e.g., Jess and CLIPS) tightly with declarative logic programs. A third strand is to extend to higher order logic flavor expressiveness in the manner of Hilog.
Work supported in part by the Center for eBusiness @ MIT Vision Fund and a DARPA Agent Markup Language program award.
Benjamin Grosof is Assistant Professor in Information Technology (IT) at MIT Sloan School of Management. His research is to create and study knowledge-based IT for e-commerce applications. He focuses especially on the technologies, business applications, and strategies for Semantic Web Services (SWS), the convergence of Semantic Web and Web Services. SWS is the next major generation of the Web, in which e-services and business communication become more knowledge-based and agent-based. The pioneer of inter-operable XML business rules, he co-leads the RuleML emerging industry standards effort. He designed and leads the SweetRules open source software community platform toolkit for semantic web rules. His research also includes several application areas for rule-based SWS in business process automation: e-contracting, which he has pioneered; business policies, e.g., for trust and security; and financial information and reporting. He is Principal Investigator and Rules co-lead in the DARPA Agent Markup Language (DAML) program, and a core participant in the Semantic Web Services Initiative that is creating emerging SWS standards. He interacts extensively with industry, including to do consulting in areas related to his research and standards activities. He joined MIT Sloan in July 2000. Previously, he was a senior research scientist, in software, at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center (12 years there), where most recently he conceived and led IBM CommonRules and co-led its application piloting for rule-based XML agent contracting in EECOMS, a $29Million NIST industry consortium project on manufacturing supply chain management. His notable technical contributions also include fundamental advances in rule-based intelligent agents, conflict handling for rules, rule-based security authorization, and integration of rules with machine learning. He is author of over 50 refereed publications, three major industry software releases, and a patent. His background includes two years in software startups, PhD in Computer Science (specialty AI) from Stanford University, and a BA in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University