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A Lightweight Coordination Approach for Resource-Centric Collaborations Open Access


Other title
Resource-Centric Collaboration
Lightweight Coordination
Workflow Management
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Ghandehari, Morteza
Supervisor and department
Stroulia, Eleni (Computing Science)
Examining committee member and department
Stroulia, Eleni (Computing Science)
Sorenson, Paul (Computing Science)
Hindle, Abram (Computing Science)
Hoover, James (Computing Science)
Department of Computing Science

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
A very common form of collaborative work involves people working on shared resources, such as, for example, co-producing a project report, including editing text, cross-referencing citations and validating the budget or reviewing and authorizing different aspects of a loan application. All these types of collaborative work share a few key properties. They usually involve a variety of interactive tools. The various process steps are not precisely ordered, but have some logical inter-dependencies among them. Although some steps may be automated, the process is driven primarily through interactive tools by people, who need to notify each other. Finally, these processes usually take a long time to complete. Web-based collaboration is the norm nowadays. Collaborative editors, such as wikis for example, coordinate people working on documents, but are neither powerful enough to support coordination more complex than notifications, nor amenable to integration with other tools. On the other end of the spectrum, classic business-process management systems are powerful enough to cover complex coordination requirements, but are too complicated to use and too regimented in the types of coordination they support. As information is becoming increasingly available and shared through REST APIs, there is a need for enabling web-based collaborative systems to support resource-centric collaborations. To meet the need for flexibly coordinating people, interactive tools, and automated services, we have developed a coordination approach and a supporting framework. Our solution consists of (a) a language and tool support for specifying collaborative activities and the resources they manipulate, (b) an engine for enacting them at run time, and (c) a systematic methodology for integrating the engine with the various interactive systems and services involved. Our framework balances expressiveness and simplicity and its usefulness has been demonstrated in two real-world projects.
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