CFP: Ws on Product Knowledge Sharing for Integrated Enterprises (Nicola Guarino)
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Date: Thu, 28 Mar 1996 16:22:28 +0100
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        onto-std@HPP.Stanford.EDU,, dbitaly@IASI.RM.CNR.IT
From: (Nicola Guarino)
Subject: CFP: Ws on Product Knowledge Sharing for Integrated Enterprises
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First International Conference on Practical Aspects of Knowledge Management
October 30 - 31, 1996, Basel, Switzerland

Workshop on Product Knowledge Sharing for Integrated Enterprises


Harold Boley - DFKI GmbH, Kaiserslautern, Germany (
Nicola Guarino - National Research Council, LADSEB-CNR, Padova, Italy

With the sponsorship of European Union's PDTAG (Product Data Technology
Advisory Group)


Product knowledge is scattered across paper files, computer media, and
the heads of engineers.  How can it be made explicit, accessed,
shared, and integrated in order to minimize revision loops and
translation costs between product generations?

We will compare strategies and techniques for integrating "legacy
systems" -- databases, knowledge bases, and (hyper)texts -- into
so-called *corporate memories*.  Besides product-modeling standards
like ISO 10303 (STEP) and ISO 13584 (parts libraries), emphasis will
be put on common *ontologies*, facilitating communication and
interoperability of database schemas, modelling methods, and software

Our representative tasks:

(1) Techniques for integrating heterogeneous sources with varying
      conceptual schemas.
(2) Formalization of reusable knowledge about product functions, geometry,
      or materials.
(3) Links between product and process knowledge for fast response time to
     product-specification changes.


The aim of this workshop is to present and compare practical
approaches to product knowledge sharing and integration within and
between organizations.

For any manufacturing enterprise, form and content of product
knowledge are subject to change during the entire product life cycle.
In its explicit form, product knowledge is scattered among various
kinds of sources, including paper files and computer media; in its
implicit form it belongs to the competence of specific experts, or to
the shared experience of the whole company.

So-called *corporate memories* try to capture both kinds of knowledge,
to make it more accessible and reusable. The goal is to minimize
revision loops in the production cycle and to increase flexibility wrt
the demands of the market. Real-world corporate memories may comprise
databases, knowledge bases, (hyper)texts and other electronic

Suitable techniques of knowledge sharing and integration play a
crucial role here: knowledge has to be collected, stored and
distributed for a variety of people to solve a variety of tasks. Most
techniques rely on a common, rigorously defined, terminology or
*ontology*: it describes, in a unified way, the meaning of the
relevant pieces of information to facilitate communication between
people and interoperability of different database schemas, modelling
methods and software tools. Recent data modeling standards like ISO
10303 (STEP) for basic product knowledge and ISO 13584 for parts
libraries represent concrete approaches in this direction.

The workshop is a natural development -- in a real-world setting -- of
earlier initiatives on knowledge sharing and integration such as the two
conferences on Building and Sharing Very Large Knowledge Bases KB&KS93-95,
the ECAI-92 and IJCAI-93 workshops on Knowledge Sharing, the ARPA-94
workshop on Ontology Use and Development, the ECAI-94 workshop on
Comparison of Implemented Ontologies, the IJCAI-95 workshop on Basic
Ontological Issues in Knowledge Sharing, the ECAI-96 workshop on
Ontological Engineering, as well as the informal workshop on Corporate
Memories held at EURISCO in Fall 94.

In order to simplify in-depth analyses and comparisons, the focus of
discussion will be limited to *product* knowledge, but the interactions
between product and process knowledge will be of interest as well. Relevant
areas are product data modelling, ontological engineering, data and
knowledge integration.

In the spirit of this conference, three practical tasks related to the
above issues have been isolated; high-quality papers are sought which
relate their own approach -- methods or tools -- with one (or more) of
these tasks.

Task 1: Integration of Product Legacy Knowledge.

Describe the methodology used to integrate in a single piece of "corporate
memory" the knowledge already existing (in some machine-readable format) in
the company *before* the integration process is initiated. Such knowledge
should be related to a particular product or component of moderate
complexity. Emphasis should be given to the techniques used to extract,
recognize and compare the implicit modeling assumptions corresponding to
knowledge distributed on such heterogeneous sources as databases with
varying conceptual schemes, knowledge-based systems focused on particular
tasks, natural language manuals and specifications, as well as CAD data.
These modeling assumptions are usually reflected in the vocabulary used to
denote concepts, relations, and attributes; of particular interest will be
the use of ontologies and linguistic resources in order to perform a semantic
unification of such terms.

Task 2: Representing Reusable Product Knowledge

Formalize, integrate, and maintain some key module(s) of shared corporate
knowledge relevant for a product or its production. In particular, this may
be reusable knowledge about product functions, geometry, or materials, or
about production plans or balances. Justify the chosen representation
language wrt expressive power, efficiency, and embeddability.  Discuss
multiple uses of the formalized knowledge, as for construction *and*
recycling, materials selection *and* substitution, or (skeleton) plan
reuse. Describe knowledge-maintainance operations for adapting to changes
in the product or production environment. Show how this product knowledge
can be integrated with other, less or differently formalized, parts of
enterprise know-how, and discuss the role of product knowledge interchange
standards like STEP in this perspective.  Extract methodological guidelines
to formalize larger portions of reusable product knowledge.

Task 3: Product-Process Mapping

Represent the specification of a product and the process of its
production so as to facilitate the mapping of (customer changes in)
the product specification to (appropriate changes in) the production
process.  Examples for demonstrating the product-process mapping may
vary from workpieces, to motors, to vehicles, or to plants, as long as
these can be represented intuitively. The mapping itself may vary from
the association of production plans with product features to the
checking of process constraints in product designs, to the generation
of CNC programs from CAD geometries. An important practical challenge
is the modularization of both product knowledge and product-process
links in such a manner that routine changes in product modules only
effect changes in corresponding process modules. Generally, the
challenge is to maximize system support for the product-process
mapping in order to obtain the added value of minimal adaptation time
of production units to product changes.


Submission format:

         max 12 pages including bibliography, 12 pt font, text body of about
         15 x 23 cm; both electronic and hardcopy submissions are accepted;
         email submissions must be either plain ASCII or postscript (*.ps)
         files; use only the main workshop address below.

Time schedule:

        May 31: statement of submission intent: preliminary title, possibly
        abstract; one of the tasks described above should be clearly indicated.

        June 24: submission deadline

        July 15: notification of acceptance/rejection (via email only)

        September 9: final full papers due (hardcopy ONLY).


        Harold Boley                                  (main workshop address)
        DFKI GmbH, Bau 57
        D-67663 Kaiserslautern
        phone:  +49-631-205-3459

        Nicola Guarino
        National Research Council,  LADSEB-CNR
        Corso Stati Uniti, 4
        I-35127 Padova
        phone:  +39-49-829-5751


Besides to people presenting a paper, the workshop is open to
practitioners interested in concretly applying product knowledge
technology. Workshop participants presenting a paper will, however,
qualify for a reduced conference fee. Refer to the main conference's
general information below for participation details.


Software demos related to the workshop topics (but not necessarily to a
particular paper) are encouraged. Conference organizers will provide a room
where participants can give demos of their systems during lunch breaks or
at other times. Lunch and exhibition / demos will be in the same or in
adjacent rooms.


Please refer to the main conference's address below (not to the
workshop address) for all further issues concerning the conference in
general (not the workshop in particular).

* Conference proceedings:
  The proceedings distributed at the conference will be informal. A
  published version may be produced later. It is also possible to have in
  that proceedings only short, more high-level versions of the workshop
  contributions while each workshop may produce a book with more
  detailed papers on its own.

* conference fees:
  workshop participants presenting a paper: 250 Fr.
                                (including coffee breaks and lunch)
  Students: 200 Fr. (including coffee breaks but excluding lunch)
  Academia: 500 Fr. (including coffee breaks and lunch)
  Industry: 1750 Fr. (including coffee breaks and lunch)
  Conference dinner will require an extra fee.

* web page for the conference:

* main conference's address:
  Ulrich Reimer                   email:
  Rentenanstalt / Swiss Life
  Informatik-Forschungsgruppe     Tel.: +41-1-7114061
  Postfach                        Fax:  +41-1-7115007
  CH-8022 Zuerich, Switzerland

-- Nicola


Nicola Guarino
National Research Council     phone: +39 49 8295751
LADSEB-CNR                      fax:      +39 49 8295778
Corso Stati Uniti, 4                email:
I-35127 Padova
(*** UPDATED 18 March, 1996 ***)