Our interest in Data Management dates back to the 80's, when the main research topics addressed by our group were conceptual modeling and schema integration. Starting in the late 90's, it evolved into Information Integration and Data Exchange. Information integration is the problem of combining the data residing at different heterogeneous sources, and providing a virtual unified view of these data, called global schema, which can be queried by the users.
Our research interests include several aspects of Service-Oriented Computing, and its relationship with Data Management. Services in our context are autonomous, platform- independent computational elements that can be described, published, discovered, orchestrated and programmed for the purpose of developing distributed interoperable ap- plications. We are particularly interested in service modeling and automatic service composition. In this area, we proposed what in the community is now known as the “Roman model”, and contributing to one of the first solutions to automated service composition. Since its introduction, the Roman model has been studied by several research groups worldwide, and is one of the key references in the formal approaches to automated service composition. We have also studied Service Synthesis, as well as Process and Workflow Management, with a special focus on principles and techniques for modeling the interaction between processes and data.
Data and Service Integration is considered one of the main challenges that Information Technology (IT) currently faces. It is highly relevant in classical IT applications, such as enterprise information management and data warehousing, as well as in scenarios like scientific computing, e-government, and web data management. Our long-term goal is to lay the foundations of a new generation of information integration and service composition systems, whose main characteristics are:
- posing the semantics of the application domain at the center of the scene,
- combining the management of data with the management of the processes and ser- vices using such data in the organization, and
- shifting the role of the conceptual model from a design-time to a run-time artifact.
In our vision, the functionalities provided by the system include answering queries posed in terms of the conceptual model by suitably accessing the source data, performing updates over the conceptual models by invoking the appropriate updates on the sources, and realizing complex goals expressed by the client by automatically composing available services. The basic idea for realizing this goal is to combine principles, methods and techniques from different areas, namely, Data Management, Service-Oriented Computing, Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, and Formal Methods.
In 2022, members of the research group have been invited to organize various events, and to deliver keynote speeches at various conferences and workshops.