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Thursday, May 06, 2010


WE WOULD LIKE TO PRESENTING THE  E-GOVERNMENT WORKSHOP,HOLD AT BRUSSELS ON 17/02/10  “Service Oriented Architecture pushed to the limit in eGovernment”.

Using SOA for structured  composition of services

Ms Mechthild Rohen (Head of ICT for Government and Public Services Unit  of the Information Society and Media Directorate-General) opened the  workshop and stated that the purpose of the workshop is to bring people  together to discuss ideas and good practices in the area of Service Oriented  Architectures (SOA). SOA is only a part of the activities that the Unit is  currently dealing with, among which are policy, legal and technical as well as  research issues related to eGovernment.

The objective of the workshop is to exchange experiences on SOA. Ms Rohen 
noted that in her capacity as the chairperson of the eGovernment subgroup of 
the i2010 high level group, she has observed that SOA is considered one of   the key elements of innovation for many Member States.

According to the Ministerial Declaration adopted in Malmö in November 2009,eGovernment should focus on four policy priorities. These priorities, defined  and supported by the Member States, include an overall improvement in terms  of the (i) empowerment of citizens and businesses; (ii) the single market; (iii)
efficiency and effectiveness and (iv) pre-conditions supporting achieving the  priorities above.

The fourth priority, pre-conditions, includes innovation in administrations,
where SOA is believed to be a key element. Technology is maturing and the
Member States are ready to develop new public services. New architecture
paradigms should be used to make administrations more efficient and  effective. Several Member States have already started with the  implementation. The EC is planning to look into the possibilities offered by 
SOA for eGovernment through pilots and other actions together with the ISA  (previously IDABC) Unit of the European Commission's Informatics Directorate-General.

The European Commission is currently in the process of developing an  eGovernment action plan for 2011-2015 – based on the Ministerial  eGovernment Declaration of Malmö (Nov 2009) - with the intention to include  SOA related activites. However, currently not enough experience on  implementing SOA exists in Member States. This is also what the workshop is  aiming to achieve: to share experiences and knowledge on SOA.

In conclusion, Ms Rohen pointed two questions that this workshop will aim to 

1. What is the level of granularity to which it is possible to break down the  components of services to build new services?

2. What is the expected economic impact of using SOA? The current economic crisis necessitates the use of efficient and cost effective  development and delivery of services. Therefore, the question relates to 
the allocation of cost towards developing SOA or migration of services to  SOA and the maintenance costs of these services.

In conclusion, Ms Rohen anticipated a fruitful workshop and encouraged  speakers and attendees to participate. Following Ms Rohen’s introduction, Mr  Pascal Verhoest and Ms Hannele Lahti (ICT for Government and Public  Services Unit of the Information Society and Media Directorate-General) 
acting as the workshop moderators introduced the morning session and the  first presentation of Mr Sobolewski.

Object SOA for Structured composition of services

Mr Michael Sobolewski (Texas Tech University (TTU), US) discussed  service-oriented computing in the context of object-oriented (OO) distributed  platforms. Mr Sobolewski argued that a platform consists of virtual computer  resources, a programming environment allowing for the development of 
distributed applications, and an operating system to run user programs and to  facilitate the solution of complex user problems. Therefore, in his presentation,Service Protocol-Oriented Architectures are contrasted with Service Object-Oriented Architectures, and a meta-computer platform (SORCER) based on a  service object-oriented architecture is described and analysed.

Furthermore, Mr Sobolewski presented a new object-oriented network  programming methodology that uses the intuitive metacomputing semantics  and the new “triple command” design pattern. Basically, the pattern defines  how service objects communicate by sending one another a form of service  requests called exertions that encapsulate the triplet: data, operations, and   control strategy.

He continued that one of the first OO metacomputer platforms were  developed under the sponsorship of the National Institute for Standards and  Technology (NIST) – the Federated Intelligent Product Environment (FIPER),with funding of $ 21.5 million.

The goal of FIPER is to form a federation of distributed services that provide  engineering data, applications, and tools on a network. A highly flexible  software architecture had been developed (1999–2003), in which engineering  tools like computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided engineering (CAE),product data management (PDM), optimisation, cost modelling, etc., act as federating service providers and service requestors.

The “Service-Oriented Computing Environment” (SORCER) builds on top of  FIPER to introduce a metacomputing operating system with the necessary  system services, including a federated file system, and autonomic resource  management to support service-oriented metaprogramming. It provides an 
integrated solution for complex metacomputing applications. The SORCER  metacomputing environment adds an entirely new layer of abstraction to the  practice of service-oriented computing – exertion-oriented (EO) programming  with complementary federated method invocation.

The EO programming makes a positive difference in service-oriented  programming primarily through a new metaprogramming abstraction as  experienced in many service-oriented computing projects including systems  deployed at GE Global Research Center, GE Aviation, Air Force Research  Lab, and SORCER Lab, TTU.

Following the presentation, Mr Sobolewski provided further technical details  on how the SOOA concept operates, as the result of a question from the audience (Mr. Aggelos Charlaftis, Belgium). More specifically, he presented  the difference in terminology in the OO paradigm, where the collection of   services is abstract and the service definition itself is an interface; services are  not provided by servers as in the case of the client-server architecture, but by   service providers, who implement the service interface. He also presented the  mechanism that allows a service to be requested, a service provider to be  identified, and the service result to pass to the service requestor in a  distributed environment, where objects are not confined within a computer, but   they are released to the network.





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