Research


I am mainly interested in the development of smart software for the Web. My research mainly builds upon results from the Semantic Web, Services and Data Science communities. It is also strongly influenced by Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering principles.

I have a long standing interest on intelligent systems and in particular on better enabling the creation of such applications. The concrete environment and topics I have focused on have indeed evolved as research and technology in diverse fields have progressed. In this page I list some of the core areas I currently work on or have worked on in the past even though this is just a, necessarily incomplete, summary. As you may imagine I have had to apply and extend state-of-the-art solutions from a variety of fields to carry out my research, which have also slightly shaped the nature of my research activities. I most often build upon Semantic Web technologies but also resort often to Big Data, Information Retrieval and a bit of Machine Learning as required.

Current Research

Internet of Things

Nowadays I am particularly interested by the Internet of Things (IoT) — an extension to the current Internet that enables connections and communication among physical objects and devices. By and large the IoT is not proposing anything radically new. In fact, it has been around us in some way or another for quite some time. What has changed, though, is its reach and with it, a number of opportunities and challenges have emerged. I am currently working on supporting the discovery and use of services and things in a seamless manner in order to support the creation of novel yet highly scalable distributed IoT applications.

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Linked Services

I also continue to be active in what we refer to as Linked Services. Linked Services are descriptions of services and Web APIs whereby their inputs and outputs, their functionality, and their non-functional properties are described in terms of (reused) light weight RDFS vocabularies and exposed following Linked Data principles. Linked Services are therefore services that, with appropriate infrastructure support, can consume RDF from the Web of Data, and, if necessary, can also generate additional RDF to be fed back to the Web of Data. This research was mainly carried out in the context of the EU project SOA4All but some of the results, for instance iServe, are continuously enhanced and applied in diverse domains like Biomedicine or the IoT itself.

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Linked USDL

Finally, I have a considerably different strand of research with more of a business angle rather than an IT one. Notably, I work towards supporting the trading of (business) services over the Web. The importance of real-world services, that is business activities of a mostly intangible nature (e.g., life insurance, consulting), has grown over the last 50 years to dominate economic activity. Despite the importance of services in developed economies,  most service trading is still essentially carried out via traditional and often manual communication means. This contrasts enormously with product trading were the Web plays an increasingly important role. In order to support the trading of services online I am working on Linked USDL, a family of Linked Data vocabularies for describing real-world services.

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Previous Research

Semantic Web Services

Previously I did research on Semantic Web Services, notably in the context of the Internet Reasoning Service. In this period I was both developing solutions as well as I was involved in the standardisation of Semantic Web Services. Notably I contributed to the definition of what we refer to as a Semantic Execution Environment within OASIS and I to the Semantic Annotations for WSDL and XML Schema standard in W3C.

Semantic Business Process Analysis

In the context of SUPER I started to work as well on Semantic Business Process Analysis. This work was mainly centred around an extensive use of ontologies formalizing the Business Process Management domain in order to reason about executed business processes. The overall vision pursued was summarized in An Outlook in Semantic Business Process Mining and Monitoring. Although my interest in the topic remains currently my closest activity to this field is Linked USDL.

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Knowledge-based Systems for the Web

My first results in this respect were obtained in the context of my PhD thesis in which I designed, implemented, tested and evaluated a generic infrastructure for the development of Knowledge-Based Services for the Web. The platform adapts the well known Blackboard Reasoning Model to the Web, making use of existing Semantic Web and Web Services technologies and reconciling the main Knowledge Engineering and Software Engineering principles.

Computer Graphics and Collaborative Systems

Finally, during my last year of graduation I worked in the area of Computer Graphics and Collaborative Systems, more especifically I was involved in the development of collaborative visualization systems. As part of this research I developed a generic communications middleware for the development of collaborative systems over the Internet. This software component, the Collaborative API, was able to provide reliable and efficient communication for this type of applications even under bandwidth limitations. The Collaborative API was used in a Java3D-based CAD software called 3D Shared, as well as in a VRML viewer.