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Open SEAS Framework

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Open SEAS
Open SEAS (Semantic Enterprise Adoption and Solutions) provides a framework for the enterprise to establish a coherent, consistent and interoperable layer across its information assets. It is compliant with the open source Method for an Integrated Knowledge Environment via MIKE2.0's Semantic Enterprise Solution Offering.

Open SEAS has been developed for enterprises desiring to initiate or extend their involvement with semantic technologies. It is inherently incremental, low-cost and low-risk. It was originally developed by Structured Dynamics, and then contributed to MIKE2.0 as an open source solution offering.

Contents

A Grounding in the Open World Approach

Many enterprise information systems, particularly relational ones, embody a closed world assumption that holds that any statement that is not known to be true is false. This premise works well where there is complete coverage of specific items, such as the enumeration of all customers or all products.

Yet, in most areas of the real (”open”) world there is no guarantee or likelihood of complete coverage. Under an open world assumption the lack of a given assertion or fact does not imply whether that possible assertion is true or false: it simply is not known. An open world assumption is one of the key factors that defines the open Semantic Enterprise Offering and enables it to be deployed incrementally. It is also the basis for enabling linkage to external (often incomplete) datasets.

Fortunately, there is no requirement for enterprises to make some philosophical commitment to either closed- or open-world systems or reasoning. It is perfectly acceptable to combine traditional closed-world relational systems with open-world reasoning. It is also not necessary to make any choices or trade-offs about using public v. private data or combinations thereof. All combinations are acceptable when the basis for integration is an open-world one.

Open SEAS is grounded in this "open" style. It can be employed in virtually any enterprise circumstance and at any scope, and expanded in a similar way as budget and needs allow.

Other Basic Pillars to the Framework

Open SEAS is based on seven pillars, which themselves inform the basis for the MIKE2.0 Guiding Principles for the Open Semantic Enterprise. These principles cover data model, architecture, deployment practices and approach for how an enterprise can begin and then extend its use of semantics for information interoperability.

Important aspects are linked data or Web-oriented architecture, but it is really the unique combination of open-world approach and the RDF data model and its semantic power that provide the distinctive differences for Open SEAS. An exciting prospect -- but still in its early stages of discovery and implementation -- is the role of adaptive ontologies to power ontology-driven applications. These prospects, if fully realized, could totally remake how knowledge workers interact and specify the applications that manage their information environment.

Pillars of the Open Semantic Enterprise

Embracing the Layered Semantic Enterprise Architecture

Open SEAS also fully embraces the Layered Semantic Enterprise Architecture of MIKE2.0's Semantic Enterprise Offering. This architecture acts as a subsequent set of functions or middleware with respect to the MIKE2.0's standard SAFE Architecture. Most of the existing SAFE architecture resides in the "Existing Assets" layer. The specific aspects of Open SEAS resides in the layers above, namely Access/Conversion, Ontologies and the Applications Layers.

Using (Mostly) Open Source to Fill Gaps in the Technology Stack

Stitching together this interoperability layer above existing information and infrastructure assets requires many diverse tools and products, and there still are gaps. This figure shows the semantic enterprise architecture overlaid with some representative open source projects and tools that plug some of those gaps.

Open SEAS Architecture w/ Examples

Open SEAS also maintains a comprehensive roster of open source and proprietary tools in all aspects of semantic technology, ranging from data storage and converters, to Web services and middleware, and then to ultimate user applications. A database of nearly 1,000 tools in all areas is maintained for potential applicability to the methodology.

Quick, Adaptive, Agile Increments

The inherently incremental nature of the Open SEAS framework encourages experimentation, affordable deployments, and experience gathering. Because the systems and deployments put into place with this framework are based on the open world approach and use the extensible RDF data model, expansions in scope, sophistication or domain can be incorporated at any time without adverse effects on existing assets or systems or prior Open SEAS deployments.

Quick and (virtually) risk-free increments means that adopting semantic approaches in the enterprise can be accelerated (or not) based on empirical benefits and available budgets.

An Emphasis on Learning

The Open SEAS framework is built on a solid foundation, but it also one that is incomplete. Deployments of semantic technologies and approaches are still quite early in the enterprise, whether measured in numbers, scope or depth. In order for the framework -- and the practice of semantic adoption in general -- to continue to expand and be relevant in the enterprise, active learning and documentation is essential. One of the reasons for the affiliation of Open SEAS with MIKE2.0 is to leverage these strong roots in methodological learning.

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