Semantic Workflows and Provenance-Aware Software

Yolanda Gil, USC/ISI, Wednesday, June 20 at 10:00am PDT



I will describe our current research on intelligent workflow systems that provide assistance and automation for complex data analysis processes.   Semantic workflows extended workflow representations with semantic constraints that express characteristics of data and analytic models.  We have developed algorithms to propagate these semantic constraints throughout the workflow structure, select executable components for underspecified steps, and suggest parameter values.  These algorithms allow us to assist users to create valid workflows, and to automate workflow generation given high-level user guidance.  Semantic workflows enable us to publish more than provenance, by sharing workflows with abstract steps that reflect the overall data analysis method rather than just publishing execution traces.

I will also talk about the importance of provenance-aware software that both uses and generates metadata as the data is being processed.  I will illustrate our work on combining a workflow system and a data integration system when they both are provenance-aware, and how new capabilities are enabled when provenance is brought to the forefront in the design of software systems for science.



Dr. Yolanda Gil is Director of Knowledge Technologies and Associate Division Director at the Information Sciences Institute of the University of Southern California, and Research Professor in the Computer Science Department. She received her M.S. and Ph. D. degrees in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University.  Her research interests include intelligent user interfaces, knowledge-rich problem solving, and the semantic web. An area of recent interest is collaborative large-scale data analysis through semantic workflows. She recently led the W3C Provenance Group that charted a community standardization effort in this area.  Dr. Gil has served in the Advisory Committee of the Computer Science and Engineering Directorate of the National Science Foundation. She is Chair of ACM SIGART, the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Artificial Intelligence.  She was elected Fellow of the American Association of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) in 2012.