webMethods buys into SOA Semantics
According to a company press release, webMethods Inc. announced today that it has acquired substantially all of the assets of Cerebra, Inc., a privately-held leader in semantic metadata management technology.
The release includes a quote from webMethods CTO Marc Breissinger, which describes the technology in these terms:
"Despite the image typically presented by most modeling tools, business processes are both dynamic and transitory. With each component of the process possessing its own rules, parameters, and interrelationships, which frequently change based on a variety of circumstances, more complex processes simply breakdown due to the incompatibility of many of these interrelationships," said Marc Breissinger, CTO, webMethods, Inc. "When used to enrich a specific process, semantic metadata helps overcome inconsistencies by providing a higher level of agreement to meaning and intent. This allows for the richer orchestration of the transactions and interactions that fundamentally define the process. The end result is that semantic metadata enables higher levels of automation, more assured decision-making and greater efficiency throughout the process."
Cerebra's technology builds upon key W3C standards, including the Web Ontology Language (OWL) and the Resource Description Framework (RDF), to enhance the interoperability and run-time integrity of metadata. According to their web site, Cerebra's Chief Scientist, Ian Horrocks is a professor at the University of Manchester and seems to have a large list of publications in the field of semantics.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
knowledge representation and description logic
Joost de Vries
It seems Horrocks' background is in description logic and knowledge representation. There are some people in academia who doubt wether description logic is the right formalism to build on for semantic services.
For instance the open world assumption of OWL seems to be problematic. There's no support for negation as failure or non-monotonic reasoning...
I'm sceptical that OWL will be the basis for succesful semantic services.
Re: Related article...
This article points out similarities with the IBM acqisition of Unicorn on May 8 2006...
A comment in their announcement which adds fuel to the IBM acquisition rampage meme is this:
Unicorn is the 18th IBM acquisition since 2001 in support of the company's efforts to help clients capture and integrate their data into business processes in order to grapple with challenging business demands such as globalization, security and government compliance mandates. IBM's approach combines the company's industry expertise with open standards, advanced storage systems and information management software to integrate, manage, secure and deliver information in a more seamless, real-time fashion across enterprises, regardless of the underlying format or structure.