The CINCO (Collaborative and Interoperable Computing) research group at University of Helsinki aims to automate some of the routine tasks in inter-enterprise collaboration management. The vision is that one day, enterprises can trust an automatic system to 1) figure out which service provider to use for a task, e.g. a logistics service to deliver a set of goods, 2) ensure that the collaborating services are interoperable, and 3) gather and share experience on how the collaboration went. And all this should be achievable without first spending a few years to get to know (and integrate your systems with) every single service provider whose offers you might wish to choose between.
Experience sharing for this kind of a system has special needs. A major difference to e.g. eBay and the various recommender systems for consumers is that the information should be possible to both understand and evaluate for credibility automatically. While the average concerned web user can google around for hoaxes, or browse through the profiles and activities of the users behind eBay ratings until convinced, our automatic decision-maker has to have an explicit model of “suspicious” or “sensible” for reputation information in order to determine the credibility of the information available. When a decision to commit real-world resources is made automatically, we’ll need to be able to measure the certainty behind the reasoning.
A few of the interesting research questions we’re working with are how to represent the different factors of trust for these decisions and to combine them into a decision, how to model the shared experiences or reputation, how to evaluate the credibility of information and its sources, and how to make different reputation systems interoperate. See the group’s selected reading for more information and three surveys.