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Created: October 29, 2002.
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Diffuse Final Conference Focuses on Web Services, Grid Services, and Semantic Web.

A communiqué from Martin Bryan (Technical Manager, The Diffuse Project) announces the program for the Diffuse Final Conference, to be held December 12, 2002 in Brussels. The conference title is: "Convergence of Web Services, Grid Services and the Semantic Web for Delivering e-Services?" Organized by the IST Diffuse Project and hosted by the European Commission, the conference will feature keynote presentations by Erkki Liikanen (Member of the European Commission responsible for Enterprise and Information Society), Carl Kesselman (a Founder of the Grid), Bruce Perens (Primary Author of the Open Source Definition), and Guus Schreiber (Co-Chair, W3C Web Ontology WG). Vendors' Perspectives will be presnted by David Orchard (BEA Systems), Steve Holbrook (IBM), and Simon Phipps (Sun Microsystems). "The conference will review, explore and discuss the strategic issues concerning and surrounding the three interrelated technologies of Web Services, Grid Services and the Semantic Web from a broad perspective. It will identify their synergies or otherwise, examine the drivers for development and implementations, chart current development paths and debate likely future directions."

Background to the Conference:

The Internet is for everyone. And the Internet does not stand still. Web Services, Grid Services and the Semantic Web are three strands of development today that promise a new era of the Internet. Instead of communications through data-driven static content which characterizes activities on the Internet today, the Internet itself is envisioned to become a programming platform to support real time, fully customized and customizable service creation and developments. The Internet will finally become a utility that binds, connects and mediates all activities and functions of society. The vision of access to any information, from any device, at any time will become an everyday reality.

How? Web Services connect computers and devices with each other using the Internet to exchange data and combine data in new ways. The key to Web Services is on-the-fly service creation through the use of loosely coupled, reusable software components. In the world of Web Services, seamless IT services span entire value chains and enable and support business missions and tasks rather than dictate them.

Definitions of Grid Services are only emerging and still vary, but they revolve around the idea of service creation and delivery through coordinated resource sharing and problem solving in dynamic, multi-institutional virtual organizations. In the world of Grid Services, large-scale distributed computing is available on demand and as required for changing groups of people to interact and collaborate within new forms of organizations, based on novel concepts of sharing a vast array of resources.

According to Tim Berners-Lee, the Semantic Web is a computer system, a distributed machine which should function so as to perform socially useful tasks. The WWW should be useful not only for human-human communication, but also that machines would be able to participate and help. The key to the Semantic Web is to express information in a machine processable form.

There is however no certainty that promising technologies will deliver on their promises. Arguably, competition between technologies or families of technologies makes success even harder -- and how should "success" be defined? Moreover, why is it important that certain technologies need to succeed? Who make the decisions and who are empowered to do so? As technologies become interwoven with the fabrics of economic activities and the functions of society in general, those technologies with transformative potentials raise profound issues in many different contexts and spheres.

About DIFFUSE: Funded by the European Commission's Information Society Technologies programme (IST), the Diffuse project "builds on the accomplishments of the European Commission's Open Information Interchange (OII) initiative, which concluded in December 1999. Diffuse publications are maintained by TIEKE (the Finnish Information Society Development Centre), IC Focus [Man-Sze Li], and The SGML Centre. The Diffuse project has been set up to provide neutral reporting on developments relating to standards and specifications in support of Key Action II (New Methods of Work and Electronic Commerce) and Key Action III (Multimedia Content and Tools) of the European Commission's IST programme. The project outputs are primarily targeted at potential and actual IST participants. Whilst the emphasis of the project is focused on the needs of the Research and Technologies Development (RTD) communities, it also has a broader perspective of serving the information requirements of industry and public sector in general... The Diffuse service is being used to demonstrate many of the latest techniques in web site management. For example, it conforms to the guidelines issued by the Web Accessibility Initiative, it records Dublin Core metadata in all its files, it includes P3P-compliant privacy statements and it demonstrates the role of ISO/IEC 13250 Topic Maps in data navigation."

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