Web services offer a unique opportunity to simplify application integration by defining common, web-based, platform-neutral, standards for publishing service descriptions to a registry, finding and invoking them -- not necessarily by the same parties. Viewing software components as web services, the current solutions to web services composition based on business web services (using WSDL, BPEL, SOAP etc.) or semantic web services (using ontologies, goal-directed reasoning etc.) are both piecemeal and insufficient for building practical applications. Inspired by the work in AI planning on decoupling causal (planning) and resource reasoning (scheduling), we introduced the first integrated work in composing web services end to end from specification to deployment by synergistically combining the strengths of the current approaches. The solution is based on a novel two--staged composition approach that addresses the information modeling aspects of web services, provides support for contextual information while composing services, employs efficient decoupling of functional and non-functional requirements, and leads to improved scalability and failure handling. A prototype of the solution has been implemented in the Synthy service composition system and applied to a number of composition scenarios from the telecom domain. The application of planning to web services has also brought new plan and planner usability-driven research issues to the fore for AI.
Subjects: 1.11 Planning; 8. Enabling Technologies