Federated Collaborative Networks
The most popular forms of networking include social and professional networks, such as FaceBook, MySpace and LinkedIn, which provide basic means of communication and information exchange among their members. Grid research networks and industry clusters go further, and support shared co-working infrastructure and joint management of resources. Emerging Virtual Organizations (VOs) however, go beyond all other forms of networking. They facilitate co-development in goal-oriented research and industry projects, where achieving their common goals lies beyond the capabilities and capacities of any individual member. A VO acts as a single mighty organization, structured as a carefully crafted merge of all required components, abilities, and resources, out of the large pool of potential elements shared by its members. If a number of independent organizations plan to design and produce the most competitive new product that they can produce together, it implies delicate task sharing and dividing related responsibilities, benefits and losses. To be most effective however, the following problems must be overcome, as now addressed by the VO research. They need to understand each other fully to communicate, and apply the same terminology. They need to trust one another in order to share and exchange knowledge and know-how. They need many assisting tools to support their co-production, and semi-automated partial integration of their production databases.
The research group of Hamideh Afsarmanesh focuses on VOs’ problem analysis. It also designs facilitating mechanisms and methodologies, such as ontology engineering and trust management, and builds automated and semi-automated tools, and proof of concept applications supporting the creation, operation, and management of VOs.