Customizing the Composition of Actions, Programs, and Web Services with User Preferences

Web service composition (WSC) - loosely, the composition of web-accessible software systems - requires a computer program to automatically select, integrate, and invoke multiple web services in order to achieve a user-defined objective. It is an example of the more general task of composing business processes or component-based software. Our doctoral research endeavours to make fundamental contributions to the knowledge representation and reasoning principles underlying the task of WSC, with a particular focus on the customization of compositions with respect to individual preferences. The setting for our work is the semantic web, where the properties and functioning of services and data are described in a computer-interpretable form. In this setting we conceive of WSC as an Artificial Intelligence planning task. This enables us to bring to bear many of the theoretical and computational advances in reasoning about action and planning to the task of WSC. However, WSC goes far beyond the reaches of classical planning, presenting a number of interesting challenges that are relevant not only to WSC but to a large body of problems related to the composition of actions, programs, business processes, and services. In what follows we identify a set of challenges facing our doctoral research and report on our progress to date in addressing these challenges.