on August 5, 2011 by in Review, Comments (0)

Open Provenance Model

Review written in 
January 2011
Funding base 
The OPM does not have a stated central funding base or source of funding. It is likely that the individual participants are funded indirectly through their institutions or other provenance-related initiatives and projects that they are engaged in. Some sponsors have been declared for the provenance challenges, including Microsoft. [2]
The original specification was drafted by 5 authors, and further workshops and provenance challenges included a larger range of participants [1]. Editors act as committers to the specification, and new community participants are able to become editors [1]. The participants to date have come mainly from research groups in Universities in the US and the UK [3,4]
Activity on the OPM has been ongoing since 2007, when the model was first crafted [1]. A series of provenance challenges (4 in total), starting in 2006, have been held. These challenges have helped to shape the OPM, reach consensus and evaluate it [5].
OPM consists of a family of specifications in addition to the model [6]:
OPM: The Open Provenance Model: Abstract Model
Latest OPM specification: Luc Moreau, Ben Clifford, Juliana Freire, Joe Futrelle, Yolanda Gil, Paul Groth, Natalia Kwasnikowska, Simon Miles, Paolo Missier, Jim Myers, Beth Plale, Yogesh Simmhan, Eric Stephan, and Jan Van den Bussche. The open provenance model core specification (v1.1). Future Generation Computer Systems, July 2010. (doi: 10.1016/j.future.2010.07.005) (url: http://eprints.ecs.soton.ac.uk/21449/).
OPMX: The Open Provenance Model XML Schema
The schema OPMX, with namespace http://openprovenance.org/model/opmx#, defines xsd types for entities defined in the abstract model.
OPMV: The Open Provenance Model Vocabulary
The ontology OPMV, with namespace http://purl.org/net/opmv/ns#, is a lightweight ontology principally caring about assertion of OPM concepts.
OPMO: The Open Provenance Model OWL Ontology
The ontology OPMO, with namespace http://openprovenance.org/model/opmo#, extends OPMV and defines classes and properties allowing all permitted inferences of the abstract model to be made.
OPM4J: The Open Provenance Model Java Library
The OPM4J library is a JAXB-generated Java Library for creating in memory Java representation of OPM graphs and serializing them to/from xml. It is part of the OPM Toolbox, a toolkit to manipulate OPM graphs and encode them in all its possible representations.
The Abstract Model version 1.0 was released in 2007 and is now at version 1.1, published in 2010.
The XML Schema is labelled Working Draft adn dated 12 October 2010
The Model Vocabulary was published in 2010 as version 1.0, the status states that it is an evolving specification.
OPM is used to describe histories in terms of processes (things happening), artifacts (what things happen to), and agents (what controls things happening). These three are kinds of nodes within a graph, where each edge denotes a causal relationship. Edges have named types depending on the kinds of node they relate: a process used an artifact; an artifact was generated by a process; one artifact was derived from another artifact; one process was triggered by another process; a process was controlled by an agent. As records of the same occurrences may be observed by different actors and/or from different perspectives, OPM allows subgraphs to belong to one or more accounts.
The functionality of OPM is described in 20 bullet points on the SageCite blog.
OPM has an open governance model [1], which tries to outline how changes can be discussed and agreed in order to revise the model. The vision for the data model is that it is “open from an inter-operability viewpoint but also with respect to the community of its contributors, reviewers and users”. It was decided not to engage in a full standardisation process for OPM, and the stated aim is to have process that is open and consensus driven. A sequence of steps for making decisions is defined: Call for change proposals; Proposal Review Period; Vote; Document Editing; Final Review [1].
The flexibility and adaptability of OPM to different use cases and tools in which it has been tested so far would have to be determined on a case by case basis.
The OPM website [6] lists some systems that implement OPM. These include Vistrails and Taverna which have an export capability for OPM, the OurSpaces virtual research environment and PLIER.
No clear guidelines are provided on how to obtain support, although the governance document [1] suggests the wiki and the mailing list (see next section) as points of contact.
The wiki lists a mailing list for challenge-related queries but otherwise contact seems to take place by contacting individual active members of the community.
[1] http://twiki.ipaw.info/pub/OPM/WebHome/governance.pdf
[2] http://twiki.ipaw.info/bin/view/Challenge/ThirdProvenanceChallenge
[3] http://twiki.ipaw.info/bin/view/Challenge/ParticipatingTeams
[4] http://twiki.ipaw.info/bin/view/Challenge/ParticipatingTeams3
[5] http://twiki.ipaw.info/bin/view/Challenge
[6] http://openprovenance.org/

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