A more realistic World Wide Web

EU-funded researchers have developed a new form of network-based, machine-machine communication called ‘Triple Space’ that will fuel Web services, semantic Web and tuple space technologies. The TRIPCOM (‘Triple space communication’) project was funded under the ‘Information Society Technologies’ Thematic area of the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) to the tune of EUR 3.65 million.

Existing Web service technology is based on the message exchange paradigm that is used for e-mail communication – one that has no real connection to the Web. This is where TRIPCOM stepped in: the TRIPCOM partners developed Web-enabled Web services, effectively providing communication via the continued publication of information. In short, computers can publish and read information just as people create and browse Web pages.

This innovation will make Web services faster, more efficient and more secure. Applications can also be distributed to various sectors including e-commerce and healthcare.

‘Despite their name, Web services today aren’t very ‘Webby’,’ explained Dr Elena Simperl of the Semantic Technology Institute (STI) at the University of Innsbruck in Austria, which coordinated the project. ‘The way they communicate is more like e-mail in which messages are sent and received between machines rather than true asynchronous Web communication in which information is published and becomes persistently available to be read at any time.’

The technology implemented by TRIPCOM is going to make the World Wide Web for machines a reality, according to the project partners.

‘When we started our research in 2004 and 2005, it wasn’t a very popular idea. But we have seen that the world has evolved in our direction as more and more software services have been put on the Web and cloud computing has become the talk of the moment with companies, such as Google and Amazon, releasing cloud computing products and services,’ Dr Simperl pointed out.

While Triple Space is similar in concept to cloud computing, where computational resources are distributed and provided as a service over the Internet, it handles data that machines can use easily.

The project partners used the resource description framework (RDF) format to build knowledge statements. The RDF is a set of rules (a sort of language) for creating descriptions of information.

According to the researchers, information is then published in tuple spaces, which are shared virtual data spaces designed for concurrent access by multiple processes and applications. The data units are commonly referred to as ‘tuples’, a computing and mathematical unit referring to a finite sequence of objects.

‘Triple Space is the same paradigm as the Web where information in published, stored and read persistently, but instead of being used by humans it is used by machines,’ Dr Simperl said. ‘It is a bit like the directory structure in your PC, albeit with files and folders that overlap. Within that directory, each virtual container of data can be given different levels of security depending on the user requirements.’

The partners said they have a version of the TRIPCOM kernel that can be evaluated through Amazon Web Services. The team is also participating in the SOA4ALL (‘Service oriented architectures for all’) project, funded under the ‘Service and Software Architectures, Infrastructures and Engineering’ Research area of the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). Funding for the project, which targets the creation of a comprehensive framework for the integration of complementary and evolutionary technical advances into a coherent and domain-independent service delivery platform, stands at EUR 9.47 million.

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Category: Project results
Data Source Provider: ICT Results
Document Reference: Based on information from ICT Results
Subject Index: Coordination, Cooperation; Information and communication technology applications ; Information Processing, Information Systems; Innovation, Technology Transfer; Network technologies ; Scientific Research; Telecommunications