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Sunday, March 14, 2010

W3C Launches Decisions and Decision-Making Incubator Group

"W3C is pleased to announce the creation of the Decisions and Decision-Making Incubator Group. The mission of this XG is to determine therequirements, use cases, and a representation of decisions anddecision-making in a collaborative and networked environment suitablefor leading to a potential standard for decision exchange, sharedsituational awareness, and measurement of the speed, effectiveness,and human factors of decision-making. Incubator Activity work is noton the W3C standards track but in many cases serves as a starting pointfor a future Working Group. The following W3C Members have sponsoredthe charter for this group: DISA, MITRE, and CNR. Jeff Waters and DonMcGarry are the initial Decisions and Decision-Making Incubator Groupco-Chairs.
Background: "Everyone makes important decisions in the dailyaccomplishment of their duties. The aggregate of these decisionsconstitutes the current state of their organization, and charts thecourse for our future direction and progress. In a sense, ourdecisions represent individuals and the organizations they represent.The effective representation, management, evaluation, and sharing ofthese decisions determines the success of the enterprise. Especiallyin a distributed, self-organizing, networked environment where digitalmedia are the main interaction between members, distribution andtracking of decisions is particularly important for understandingwhat others are doing. Our decisions serve as information-work products;both as inputs and outputs. We use others decisions as references andour decisions become references to the decision process of others.The significant time and effort we spend converting our decisionsinto work products such as briefs, papers, proposals, and communicationof our decisions in meetings, teleconferences, conversations, andemails, could be recaptured if we had a standard concise format forrepresenting and sharing our decisions.
For these reasons, the members of the Decisions and Decision-MakingIncubator are exploring and determining the requirements, use cases,and a potential standard format for representing our decisionsefficiently and effectively in a collaborative networked environmentfor the purpose of information exchange for situational awareness.The Emergency Data Exchange Language Common Alerting Protocol (EDXL-CAP)family of standards is an example of the type and style of informationexchange formats which are simple, useful, and understandable. WhatEDXL-CAP did for alerts, a common decision exchange protocol shoulddo for decisions. However, to reach its full potential, the proposeddecision format must be extended by the Semantic Web tools andstandards to provide semantic interoperability and to provide a basisfor reasoning that can ease development of advanced applications.Simplicity and understandability of decisions is particularly importantin distributed, dynamic settings such as emergency management.
The group will maintain a wiki site containing relevant information.The deliverables will be a final report, a potential standard ontology,examples, and potentially prototype tools using the ontology. Thevision of the final report outline includes: introduction, backgroundand need, scope, use cases, requirements, issues and challenges,ontological patterns & solutions, sample decision ontology, representationformats, examples, candidate tools for instrumentation, examples,recommendations, and conclusion. In case the group decides that aparticular technology is ripe for further standardization at the W3C,the group will consider preparing a W3C member submission and/or proposea W3C group charter to be considered by the W3C.

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