Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Good Journal Finally...

Elsevier have come up with a high quality journal for Entertainment Computing. This can only benefit the development of an Entertainment Computing as an academic discipline. Many of the journals that have been created in this area have lacked rigour, this will be a welcome space to publish.


MPEG-V Standard

Metaverse1 has put forward a proposal for an MPEG-V data standard for Virtual Worlds. I view SL and other virtual worlds as visualisation front-ends for application domains - in my case Business Process Management. It can only benefit these applications if interoperability standards are implemented, enabling the easy incorporation of information from other sources, and thus the easy creation of virtual world applications. Second Life is quite well setup for such service oriented computing via HTTP request from scripts, but it could be better. So hopefully this standard will catch on soon.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

IP and Research Threats.

Seems our friends at are keen to get mit alpha male on our collective virtual posteriors. is seeking to enforces its patents on Virtual World technology.

Not particularly worried about the commercial side of things, it is just the Open Source issues that concern me. Open Source facilitates much research, and if decide to try and monopolise the area, then researchers like me and my kith and kin are in trouble, as they can dictate very restrictive terms on the use of software.

I will be following this one very closely indeed.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

And the manifold keeps turning...

I was reading BoingBoing over my cup of crap Nescafe 43 blend (ran out of grounds) this morning, and came across these exquisite sculptures of financial charts by Andreas Nicolas Fischer, an artist in Berlin. The one on the left reminded me of some early images of computer graphics from the 70/80s. Apart from the aesthetic beauty of the data representations, the fact that they are in real 3D aids insight into understanding the underlying data. All present displays are 2D in nature, even stereo is just a 2D display incorporating parallax to fool the eye, thus confusion can result with large amounts of data. At the moment we can use 3D printers, but they are definitely a batch oriented solution - like old school computer graphics.

What we need is a Real-Time 3D Printer/Display...but that might be a while off.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Apply now: OII Summer Doctoral Programme 2009, Brisbane, Australia

I am delighted to announce that we are accepting applications for the OII Summer Doctoral Programme 2009, to be hosted this year by our partners at the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia.

OII SDP 2009: Brisbane (6-17 July, 2009)

The programme aims to stretch the thinking of all students on a range of issues, to provide valuable advice and support for students' thesis research, and to establish a peer network of excellent young researchers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the thematic focus this year will be on 'Creativity, Innovation and the Internet': our partners on the SDP since 2003, the Creative Industries Faculty is at the forefront of pioneering international research initiatives in creative industries policy, applied creative industries research, digital media design, and the creative and performing arts.

As in previous years, the programme will involve daily research seminars and panel sessions given by leading academics, with students having the opportunity to present their research to their peers in informal seminars. Break-out sessions will allow groups to focus more narrowly on research questions of mutual interest, and time is made available for individual research and informal contact with tutors and fellow students.

Student feedback on the Summer Doctoral has always been overwhelmingly positive, and the SDP 2009 promises to be yet another excellent year in this series. I hope you will consider applying, encourage your students to apply, or forward this email to people who may be interested! Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any queries.

Best wishes,
Dr Victoria Nash
Director of Graduate Studies, Oxford Internet Institute


Our work at QUT in using Second Life and YAWL to visualise business processes has made its way to the popular website, run by Paul Harmon.

The link to the article is here.


Monday, December 1, 2008

International Workshop on Smart Services for Smart Worlds (SS4SW)

International Workshop on Smart Services for Smart Worlds (SS4SW)
Explore new applications, business ideas and research challenges
at the intersection of things and services
Colocated with the UIC-09 Conference on Ubiquitous Intelligence and Computing
Brisbane,Australia, 7-10 July, 2009


Feb 15, 2009 Paper submission deadline
Mar 25, 2009 Authors notificaton
Apr 10, 2009 Camera-ready papers due

Services are the dominant type of economic activity in industrialized economies. The term Internet of Services relates to the representation and (partial) execution of services - in the
economic sense - in the Internet. Many issues around the mapping between economic services
and services in the IT sense are still unresolved. Additionally, only a small fraction of services
are entirely dematerialized; the vast majority of services ultimately relate to things in the real
world: to the Internet of Things. The Ubiquitous Computing community has already made
considerable advances in closing the information gap between services and things. One well-known example is the use of RFID tags in logistics. Yet this is only the beginning, there still
exists a largely untapped source of innovation at the junction of services and things.
This workshop is about bringing together industry and academia to explore how advances in
ubiquitous computing techniques can help improve existing economic services and create
opportunities for new services. We are also interested in how services can add value to smart
things. This is a forum for industry to learn about recent advances in both services and
Ubicomp and also for researchers to learn about the problems faced by industry that may
spark new research questions and the next wave of Ubicomp applications. We solicit a) technical papers with a proven original scientific contribution and b) systematic, well-founded experience reports and requirements / demands analyses. Core IT papers and papers at the boundary of technology and business or humanities are also invited.

We also welcome contributions that address solely the topic of services, independently of
ubiquitous computing, since we believe this also contributes to cross-fertilization of ideas in
the context of UIC-09. Technical, business and legal aspects of services all have their place
Topics may include, but are not limited to:
- Identification of services in existing systems and business processes
_ Approaches for fostering the creation, use and re-use of services
- Aggregation, brokerage and re-purposing of services
- Personalisation of services to classes of users and individual users
- Channels and technologies for accessing services
- Service lifecycle management
- Legal aspects of service ecosystems
- New business models enabled by smart things
- Doing business better, cheaper, faster, greener with smart things
- Economics and sustainability of using smart things
- Applications of things and services in media and advertisement
- Applications of things and services to delivering healthcare and services to citizens
- Applications of things and services to manufacturing and supply chain management
- Lifecycle management of smart things
- Discovering services through smart things
- Discovering smart things using services
- Machine-process able representations of services stored in smart things
- Linking smart things to their related services
- Representation of real world things in virtual worlds
- Running services inside smart things
- Privacy and security issues with things and services

We invite all researchers to participate by submitting an original paper of up to 6 pages in IEEE
CS style. Please see the workshop website for document templates and for details on the
submission procedure. Each paper will be reviewed by at least two members of the PC.
Accepted papers will be published by the IEEE in a single volume with proceedings from all UIC-
09 workshops. Extended versions of the best papers may be invited for publication in a journal
at a later stage.

Dr. Julien Vayssière (Smart Services CRC, Australia)
Prof. Dr. Max Mühlhäuser (TU Darmstadt, Germany)
Dr. Erwin Aitenbichler (TU Darmstadt, Germany)

* PROGRAM COMMITTEE (in alphabetical order)
Dr. Erwin Aitenbichler (TU Darmstadt, Germany)
Dr. Alistair Barros (SAP Research Brisbane, Australia)
Dr. Ross Brown (Queensland University of Technology, Australia)
Prof. Michael Fry (University of Sydney, Australia)
Dr. Tim Mansfield (Queensland University of Technology, Australia)
Prof. Dr. Max Mühlhäuser (TU Darmstadt, Germany)
Prof. S. Panchanathan (Arizona State University, USA)
Prof. Michael Rosemann (Queensland University of Technology, Australia)
Dr. Rainer Ruggaber (SAP Research Karlsruhe, Germany)
Dr. Sharad Singhal (HP Labs Palo Alto, USA)
Dr. Julien Vayssière (Smart Services CRC, Australia)
A/Prof. Wayne Wobcke (University of New South Wales, Australia)

Dr. Julien Vayssière (Smart Services CRC, Australia)


Thursday, November 13, 2008

French Connection

The people over at OnMap have developed a great process visualisation solution using 2.5 D representations of business processes, similar to a New Zealand product I blogged about earlier.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm worried

Came across this visualisation in a blog to which I subscribe. This visualisation of the number of satellites around the Earth is an example of the emotional impact of particular visual representations. If you told me that there are thousands of satellites surrounding the Earth, then I might shudder a little. However, show me a visualisation like this and I will get nervous.

Yes, the scale is wrong, the pictures of the satellites are too big, and the number of satellites is trivial for the volume they occupy, but somehow I can't help but be a little nervous about having such devices above my head, along with the related navigation issues that this traffic jam presents for any spacecraft flying through the satellite cloud.

BTW, the visualisation looks good in the Google Earth web plugin.


PhD Student's AIIDE Paper

Alfredo Nantes, my PhD student, has just published his first paper, which earned a second prize from Bluebox at QUT worth $2,500. The conference paper is on a computer vision based automatic testing framework for games environments.

The prize money was just enough to help him get to the AIIDE 2008 conference at Stanford University... ;-)


Monday, November 10, 2008

Air Travel Visualisation

Was sent this visualisation of World Air Travel over 24 hours today by a colleague at QUT. Each particle represents a plane in transit over the 24 hour period. I like the following about this visualisation:
  • Particles at this scale naturally clump together highlighting the major areas of air travel.
  • Integration with a world daylight representation provides a suitably visually orthogonal set of representations for easy spatial comparison of time of day and air travel intensity.
  • Air travel is seen as an aggregated daily process across the world.
  • Aesthetically it is pleasing - ugly visualisations are beyond contempt.
  • It also brings home - if air travel is postively correlated with economic activity - why the US still strongly influences the world economy.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Exit Reality

Have just got around to looking at Exit Reality, due to the fact that lots of people have asked me about it. I've missed the boat a little due to teaching commitments this semester taking up so much of my blogging time, but since it relates to my area, I thought a short review was in order.

My assessment in short, is that Exit Reality requires a lot more work to make it usable and attractive as an environment for socialising. It is trying to attempt something very difficult, the integration of web multimedia information and 3D interfaces. They should be congratulated on the attempt, but it just doesn't work for me.

Here are some reasons:
  • Exit Reality is slow and buggy. Games and virtual environments require smooth reliable interfaces to make the paradigm work properly, especially as such bugs disrupt the immersive experience. The games industry understands this, that is why they all have such large QA sections. Exit Reality needs to invest in some more bug testing.
  • The way they handle general web pages is problematic. My University home page came up as a sea of small signs that conceal each other, making it more difficult to traverse the website, thus undermining any benefit that 3D VEs can bring to web pages. I would have thought that some nice cone trees or hyperbolic views may have been better. Not sure they did much of a usability analysis before developing this general web component.
  • Apartment style metaphors for socialising, while engaging in their novelty, are not that usable. It takes a number of seconds to traverse the space in 3D, that would otherwise require a couple of mouse clicks in a 2D page.

While I applaud an Australian company for sticking its neck out on a difficult technology, I am unfortunately critical of its present ability to be more useful than the present 2D social networking forms. I think they have to go back to the drawing board to rethink the idea.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Name droppings

Yep, we have been written up in the news again at Metaverse Online Journal.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

BPMVE In the News

It has been a while since I have blogged here - due to a double teaching load this semester. So I will start proceedings off with a bang. My work, as blogged here, has made it to the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and the Courier Mail - Brisbane. All the papers are owned by the same people of course.

Apparently I am the creator of YAWL now...not sure Arthur ter Hofstede will be that impressed.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Web Two Point Gazillion

This is a vision from Mozilla labs regarding web browsing in the future. My guess is that it has many applications in the area of process and service visualisation. Note the use of a 3D Mouse Like interface - like the one available here.

Sublime navigation cues...

This would have to be the best use of the Human Visual System's capabilities for navigating 3D environments correctly via visual cues. It is installed right here in OZ, at the Eureka Tower Carpark.

One criticism of using 3D environments in the first person, is the difficulty of navigating them correctly - slapping such textures over your visualisations might just do the trick.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Kzero Metaverse Analysis Information

Kzero have released their analysis of population and marketing statistics for virtual worlds. This is represented as a Universe Graph. Note the position of Second Life in the 30 plus age bracket. Others are larger, but have a younger demographic.
Possibly suggesting more scope for serious use of the technology, than other fields.

I would argue that this is due to the configurability of SL, and its ability to garner information from other sources on the internet, and produce visualisations as such in situ, as we have shown with business processes at QUT.

BTW, the graph is a nice intuitive visualisation of Age Demographic with Age of World using a Polar Coordinate approach.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

YAWL and Second Life Linked

My intern student from France has been very busy, and has completed his project with me at QUT. We now have YAWL and Second Life talking to each other, in a similar way to my earlier work with Half Life Two in previous posts.

I have embedded a video from Youtube of the system in action, titled Clik Goes to Hollywood. What we have done in effect is to facilitate the 3D collaborative visualisation of dynamic business process models. The visualisation has been developed from the 2D YAWL control flow model illustrated at the top of this post, into a 3D animation in Second Life, embedded below as a video. The process model illustrated is drawn from the YAWL4Film project being undertaken by the BPM Research Group at QUT. Clik, the avatar in the animation, is not controlled by a human, but is controlled by the YAWL workflow engine.

More will be revealed as I duly publish some papers...


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

IBM and Linden Lab Interoperability Announcement

Maybe I should have title this one "Beam me up Scotty." Over at the Second Life blog there has been a recent announcement of the ability to teleport out of Second Life, and into Open Sim environments on other servers. Thus a portal technology, developed as an OpenGrid protocol, means that avatars (not real people yet :-) ) can move between different forms of virtual worlds.

Suddenly struck me tonight that this is a change in perspective, with regards to logging into an IT system. Your embodied avatar (your ego centre in these worlds) is able to transfer itself along the Internet. Thus instead of you having a sense of being stationary, and traversing the computer systems you use, now your ego centre (embodied as an avatar) moves to the location of the computer system you are interacting with in a faux spatial transformation.

What has this to do with business processes? This means that instead of dealing with an abstract system with menus, dialogs and such, you actually can map the process system into a 3D space for interaction. My questions are:
  • What does this do to your perception of an information system?
  • Does it make it seem more immediate? - as its controls are mapped to intuitive, spatial and temporal artefacts for you to manipulate.
  • Do you have a greater/lesser sense of control?
  • Does it change your understanding of what the process model is doing?
Lots of research questions here to explore...


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Amazon Dynamic Systems in Second Life

Over at a blog by an Amazon worker Jeff Barr, there is a great article on him visualising Amazon services within SL. Looks like excellent work, and am awaiting the slurl to take me to the live version...

Such visualisations make it a lot easier to understand the Dynamics of the service being investigated. Much easier, as I have said many times before, than using static diagrams to simulate business processes. Plus the collaborative nature of Second Life facilitates interactions with fellow stakeholders in the business.

Stay tuned, QUT will have its own offering in this area soon.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Process Mining Comment by Wil van der Aalst

Having made a comment on the Fujistu visualisations presented in a previous post, I found it interesting to look at the comments by Wil van der Aalst at BPMTrends.

He has spent a long time looking at Process Mining as a research area, his research group has produced an excellent suite of tools for this application called ProM. In particular, the visualisation capabilities of the environment are second to none for the area of event log processing. It makes a number of other commerical tools look quite poor in comparison, and with over 230 plugins, it is easily extensible as well.
It's also open source...

Interesting Blog

Just came across this blog at Israeli researcher looking at various aspects of business and standards within Second Life. His latest an entry is about a Mobile interface to SL.
Useful for being summoned to in world chats, and being contacted by in world business applications. I imagine a graphical representation of SL will be coming soon for this application.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

BPM Managers and Visualisations

Have just read the latest BPMTrends newsletter: "What Do Business Process Managers Manage?"

What is interesting is the derivation of Process Sponsor and Operational Manager roles within an organisation. In particular, the article shows some derivations of finer grained tasks that are performed by such people. Most Visualisation approaches for BPM are restricted to just roles, which is fine. However, I argue that a visualisation is meant for a task, because it is about providing information for decision making. Since a process manager or sponsor has many tasks to perform, each visualisation, I argue, needs to be tuned to help them make decisions for that task.

Treinish published an interesting paper on this issue a while back, but the truth still holds. As we often produce differing text for differing tasks, so too we should modify visualisations to fit a task, not just a role in an organisation. Case in (simple) point; if I was a modeller talking to another modeller, then I would use a BPMN diagram, due to the compact, iconic representation being easy for experts to use. However, if I was a modeller explaining a process system to a naive viewer, I would not use BPMN, I would probably use a full 3D simulation to get my point across. In fact, the later is often done regarding community consultation in Urban Planning applications, CAD drawings just don't cut it when talking to investors and residents about how a site is to be redeveloped.

I believe this holds across the board, for executable and non-executable modelling systems.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

TUE BPM Visualisation Study

From BPM Colleagues at Technical University of Eindhoven

Study of Visual Layout on Understandability of Process Models

I would like to encourage you to participate in an online experiment which is part of a research project conducted by the Eindhoven University of Technology by Maria, a student of Hajo Reijers.

The objective of the research is to develop some guidelines on how to draw process models in order to improve their visual quality and, therefore, their understandability. The experiment will take you around
20 minutes.

Your participation is anonymous.
We will appreciate very much your collaboration!

The URL of the experiment is

Thank you for joining!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Second Life Adventures of Clik and Mofo

This is a teaser for some of the work we are performing at QUT to integrate Second Life with other software. The avatars are controlled by web services, and deliver the lecture themselves.


YAWL Game Control Work

I've had this paper and demo floating around for a while now, and have just got around to posting it. This is a video of some work a student of mine performed linking a game mod to the YAWL workflow engine developed by QUT.

The grey user interface, spawning of enemies and registration of killings is coordinated by the YAWL workflow tool, developed at QUT, Brisbane, Australia -

This shows how easy it is to give a 3D interface to workflow systems, and shows a very simple example of how to control the "Narrative" of a virtual environment by using workflow systems. In the end, a game quest is just a form of goal directed workflow, so I decided to test it out, and the video is the result.

Has been written up as a conference paper at:


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

ACE 2008

=== ACE 2008 ===

- Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology -

Invites you to submit Full Papers, Short Papers, Posters and Creative

* Deadline for Full and Short Papers: July 15th, 2008
* Deadline for Posters and Creative Showcases: July 15th, 2008

Submissions of papers will be online on our conference website
(, and should follow the ACM
Submission Format.

The conference will take place:
December 3rd - 5th, 2008 in Yokohama, Japan.

Entertainment is one of the important magical ingredients in the 21st
Century society. ACE 2008 is an annual international conference
devoted to computer entertainment to provide a premium forum for
researchers, developers, practitioners, artists and designers to
present and discuss new problems, solutions, content design and
technologies in entertainment areas.

We warmly invite original papers, demos, art and design works in all
areas of entertainment computing and design including
(but not limited to):

Affective Computing Internet Networking Media
Ambient Intelligence Learning and Children
Animation Techniques Location-Based Entertainment
Augmented / Mixed Reality Metaverse
Avatars and Virtual Community Mobile Entertainment
Cultural Computing Multimodal Interaction
Digital Entertainment and Sports Narratives / Digital Storytelling
Digital Broadcasting/Podcasting Pervasive and Online Games
Digital Cinema Physical Computing
Elderly Entertainment Smart Gadgets and Toys
Entertainment Design Theory Social Networking
Human-Robots Interaction Sound and Music
Experience Design Synesthetic Entertainment
Funology Tangible Interfaces
Graphics Techniques Visual Effects
Interaction Design

For further information please visit:

Masa Inakage and Adrian David Cheok (General Chairs ACE 2008)

Fujitsu Process Mining Tools

Got this link in an email from BPTrends about Fujitsu software for process discovery. The article includes a messy diagram illustrating the links between each event that has occurred in the process system. This diagram is then filtered to produce a final process diagram. Looks like a good piece of software, but I have to again comment that the representations are 2D, and still wonder to myself whether a 3D large graph rendering approach would help the users in choosing filtering options. If the diagram is to be believed, they do not even use colour to highlight patterns! However, I have not used the software, so this may be a feature that has not been highlighted in the article. Might get a demo of the software just to see...


Sunday, June 1, 2008

A link to my reference list

I have uploaded a document to Google Docs with a textfile reference list of relevant papers I have looked at so far for my research into BPMVE. I hope it proves useful to people, it will be periodically updated as I read and write more papers.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

2008 Australasian Virtual Worlds Workshop

Call for Participation

The Australasian Virtual Worlds Workshop is an event for Australasian researchers, educators and business people involved in virtual worlds, to meet and discuss topics related to virtual worlds.The aim of this workshop is to build local capacity and virtual world expertise that connects with global expertise.

This workshop builds upon foundations established by the Second Life Discovery Day held in 2007 at Monash University, Australia.

Proceedings from that workshop are available at the website

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The modelling environment of the future...

Received this little gem of a video a while back, and have finally got around to posting it to my blog. It is a demonstration of touch wall technology for direct, large scale manipulation of diagrams and multimedia content. So, I think this would make a great tool to be used for large scale modelling environments in BPM. I have heard anecdotal stories of people cutting up large print outs of diagrams and then shuffling them on a table top. Seems to me that we should get with the 21st century and use an electronic table top to do the same.


Sunday, March 23, 2008


Just watched this video from a colleague at work. It is an example of "Target Focus" - the exclusion of other information when performing certain tasks. This can be a problem if you are a dive bomber, as you may not pull up in time due to this focus of concentration. :-)

What has this to do with BPM Visualisation? Well, usually you only really need to present the information required for a particular task when viewing a process model, as the other information is either ignored, or becomes a hinderance to the task. The human visual attention system accomplishes this quite well, as you discover in the video. The question is, can we develop good psychological models to filter useless information for task-oriented visualisations. My impression is (at the moment) that at this moment in time the process visualisation community is lagging behind the other visualisation researchers and practitioners in using this approach.

As a counter argument, the removal of too much information may hinder the process analysis task at hand just as badly. So effective task-oriented process perception models may be a good research area to develop, to fine tune visualisations to a deeper task oriented level, past higher level role oriented information filtering that is presently proposed.

What do you think?


Thursday, March 20, 2008

How to Misrepresent a Process

Carbon trading has been a topic of discussion in Australia recently, and everywhere else. An issue in Australia has been the predominance of coal powered electricity generation. These facilities will be hit hard by the new greenhouse gas economy, and have to prepare for change.
However, what is peeving me is the representation of the power plants by the media, even good old Aunty herself, the ABC. Every time they take a camera shot over a power plant (VOD Cast for 21st March 2008), they focus on the large concrete towers that emit steam, not CO2. The towers are a part of the water reclamation process. They conveniently emit lots of billowing clouds of water condensate that looks like smoke, and so are a lightning rod for emotive media representation of the power generation process.

It's probably just an honest mistake, as the camera views of the billowing towers are impressive, but it shows that such misinformation via visual misrepresentation can give you a completely inaccurate view of a process. In effect, they chose the wrong icon to represent the activity, and now some people are going to have the wrong idea about the process of electricity generation.

BTW, the dangerous stuff comes out of the skinny chimneys nearby. :-)


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

BPMN Animated

As mentioned in my previous post, I have been following a discussion on the uptake of BPMN functionality. Basically, the debate revolves around the actual number of BPMN components being used, and the lack of uptake on many of the components devised by the OMG. This is an exceedingly complex issue, that I cannot fully comment on due to my nascent knowledge of BPM, having defected so to speak from the gaming community.

However, I can't help but wonder if the issue here is to do with the visual nature of the diagrams, and their interaction capabilities. Most software I know of that uses this standard presents the diagrams in an inanimate, low-level interactive manner. While this works well for certain stakeholders in a process modelling scenario, it does not bode well for those that think in a different manner, especially if they are new to the field. For instance, you model the business, and then show the user the model and expect them to understand easily. I think a static diagram does not work here for people who are not BPMN experts.

Would more components be used if it was clearer what these icons meant, and what they model? Most of the time we avoid software functionality as it is too hard to find out its usage. And no, RTFM just doesn't cut it as a methodology, because we usually learn by doing, and the doing requires tools that clearly show their functionality.

I think a lot of pedagogical theory could be applied here to look at how animation could be used to show the functionality of the diagram. Not in a simulation manner, but simply in a base functionality level. The user could use a tool to brush over the diagram to generate animations that indicate node or group levels of functionality.

For instance, as an icon is inserted into a diagram (xor-split say), it could animate itself judiciously to indicate that one or the other choice in the branch is made, and not both.

This technique has been applied in other visualisation fields, and I think it could work here.


Some humour about business process visualisation

Found this Youtube video on Watching the "Dude" scatting cracked me up. Yes, it is stereotypical in nature (it is from 1971), but boy does it make a statement about the imagination levels of certain that inimitable cute muppet way.

Have been following a conversation between Michael zur Muehlen and Bruce Silver on the usage of BPMN functionality. Can't help thinking that maybe there would be more uptake if the "Dude" designed the diagrams... ;-)


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Excellent article in Bruce Silver's blog

Came across this article in Bruce Silver's BPM Watch blog about organising complex BPMN models. He details the use of a VISIO tool add-in for such a hierarchical organisation, but I think more can be done. Visualisation researchers have long been looking at real-time traversal of graphs, like the large social network graph image in this blog entry, and their hierarchical structures. These methods I believe can be modified to suit the tasks required by BPM stakeholders; from users to modellers, each with their idiosyncratic requirements.

Makes me excited that other people are seeing such needs, and are looking for improved tools.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Nice Book to Read

Have just picked up a copy of Visualizing Data by Ben Fry, (thanks QUT :-) ), and it looks like being a useful resource for practical visualisation of large data sets. It also comes with a Java-based tool called Processing, which was developed during the Author's time as a PhD student.

Will be useful in my teaching and research, but also should prove a useful tool for future implementations of visualisation systems in BPM. Will give more info as the book is read and the programs are written. You might even see examples of the programs on this blog.

Monday, February 18, 2008

CfP - GovSOS'08

1st International Workshop on Governance of Service-oriented Systems(GovSOS'08)held in conjunction withIEEE Joint Conference on E-Commerce Technology (CEC'08) and Enterprise Computing, E-Commerce and E-Services (EEE'08)(CEC/EEE 2008)

Crystal City, Washington, D.C., USAJuly 21-24, 2008

Deadline for submissions: March 30th, 2008

WORKSHOP GOALS==============
The purpose of this workshop is to bring together researches fromacademia and industry, as well as practitioners interested in thedifferent aspects of service-oriented systems governance.We seek contributions from practitioners in industry and government,as well as from academic and industrial researchers. We especiallyinvite contributions from industrial partners that have a richexperience in the area of governance of service-oriented systems.

WORKSHOP THEME==============
The central workshop theme is Governance for Service-orientedSystems. Over the last years, the field of Service-oriented Computing(SoC) has emerged as a paradigm for managing the developmentcomplexity of large-scale (enterprise) systems and for creatingdynamic and autonomously adapting software. There are a number of openresearch issues in this area, with governance as being one of them.Governance of service-oriented systems is a very important conceptthat deals with all activities related to the control and managementof the services landscape within and across organizationalboundaries. In this workshop we would like to address governance ingeneral, in particular we focus on the following themes:* Service-Lifecycle Management:Service-lifecycle management deals with a magnitude of issues such asdeployment, assembling and testing of services. Service versioning isanother important issue that arises during the evolution of a service,thus requiring a dedicated versioning support from the SOA-basedinfrastructure. As composite services become more and more important,issues such as dynamically reconfiguring/rebinding a composition areincreasingly challenging. These issues all need a strong SOA runtimeand infrastructure support to manage SOA-based solutions in anonintrusive and non-disruptive manner.* Management of QoS and SLA:Quality of Service (QoS) and Service Level Agreements (SLA) are anintegral part of service-centric systems to express the qualityattributes provided by atomic services and service compositions. Suchquality attributes can be grouped in an agreement to specify anagreement between the service provider and the service consumer. Thespecification, management and enforcement of such agreements requirestrong support from the SOA infrastructure. The workshop shouldaddress these issues by discussing quality of service and SLA models,
issues related to monitoring of QoS attributes, agreements, automatedSLA negotiation, negation protocols, etc.* Compliance Management:Compliance to standards and laws (e.g., ITIL for service management orSarbanes-Oxley Act) is important for an enterprise to adhere tocertain required regulations and to demonstrate certain qualitycompliance to business partners. Work in this area should discussnovel approaches to monitor and manage the compliance (e.g., byapplying self-adaptive and policy based monitoring) that allowschanging compliance regulations without modifying the services itself.

WORKSHOP TOPICS===============

Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of particular topics that addressdifferent aspect from above:* Service-Lifecycle Management* Service Versioning Approaches* Monitoring Approaches (Service, Processes, Infrastructure)* SLA Policy Specification and Enactment* Quality of Service Models* Autonomic Management of Service Level Agreements* Performance Management and Analysis* Infrastructure and Runtime Support for SOA Governance* Event-Driven Architectures for Governance* Service Modeling and Capacity Planning* Managing Service CompositionsWe seek papers that address these aforementioned issues by discussingnovel ideas and provide detailed insights into their softwarearchitecture that implements their proposed approaches. Contributionsin all other areas related to SOA governance (and not listed above)are more than welcome.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Why the diagrams mum?

Have come across this little article at a FormTek blog. The story is about the use of technical drawings to understand the capabilities of the thing you are buying, and able to use. They go into the issues of maintaining the technical drawings as essentially a revision control problem.

This is the issue of having technical diagrams on paper, they are a physical thing that is hard to maintain. But, they are easier to use than a notebook with the same data, as they do not require power, are not fragile (well paper does tear, but this doesn't mean that it reboots on you ;-)) and within reason can be carried anywhere that allows enough room to unfold the print.

However, just as we want paper free offices, we want to be able to remove paper in technical diagrams. Now that some flexible displays are coming, we won't need such laptop or PDA bound methods of working, and will be able to play with a piece of networked paper.

How would you interact with such a set of diagrams? What sort of tools would you need to manipulate such information on a paper-based display, that is automatically networked to headquarters. How do you play with such an interface with a number of people at once in an office?

Not only that, but what is the nature of a technical drawing when it goes live...

I think the time is nigh to stop thinking about technical diagrams in such a static manner, and begin to conceptualise the documents as living paper. Which makes me wonder why most diagrammatic representations of Business Processes are sooo dead in nature. They are simple 2D diagrams without many annotations to give extra information. In fact the information is the key (duh), so maybe it is the "display" technology that is the issue.

For instance, what about walking around with a HUD pair of glasses with annotations of your work place containing information about the processes in a spatial manner. Could be useful for process model verification and modelling for that manner.

Some work here to be done I think.


Friday, February 8, 2008

EDM and the User Interfaces

Came across this blog entry today, about EDM, Enterprise Decision Management. Which, by my estimate, talks about actioning on the part of the decision support tools.

While these people talk about the need for greater integration of Business Intelligence into thses tools, to make it actionable, I wonder if people had a good visualisation of the concequences then it would make things easier.

People have not trusted computers with decisions due to a lack of understanding of what is actually happening internally when the computer comes out with a response to data.

I think a good visualisation (interactive in nature for prognosticating) would assist this process.


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Damn Kiwis...

Just came across a nice process visualisation system at IVistra. Same people who were involved in the Black Magic visualisation system, generated on old SGI iron (sigh...the memories).

So once again, the Nu Zulunders have a jump in the area of computer graphics. Choice bro! :-)

3D visualisations need more analysis

It's an interesting things to note, that with all the papers I read on 3D environments for process visualisation, there seems to be a lack of analysis on how good it is, and how this should map to various tasks being carried out by stakeholders.

It's a component of what I will be writing about here into the future, so no give aways at present, until I get some publications.

It seems that most analysis is at the level of "Geez, this is soooooo cool. I can see my processes as little men...", doesn't cut it in the usability analysis stakes.

I think it is relevant to spend time ascertaining whether the visualisations work for each stakeholder, and then maybe this can move from a geewhiz area to a rigorous professional contribution to the modelling of business processes.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Innnov8 by IBM

In November 2007, IBM launched a serious game for people to learn business process modelling called Innov8. This is another example of the avalanche of serious game applications that have been developed, exploiting the educational properties of games in areas ranging from the military, to emergency workers, and now to business process modellers. I will be downloading it, as soon as IBM authorise my application. I will then report on its value as an educational tool.

But until then, it looks like a first strike on the area of using virtual environments for business process management. The question is, what sort of tool support is available for devleoping such representations, and how effective is it really going to be as a modelling and educational tool. One could say that maybe the use of games as teaching tools is turning into the proverbial "when using hammer, every problem is a nail" scenario.


Sometimes it is good to begin esoterically...

My first real post will be odd, but I think it illustrates a number of things about process visualisation.

Here is a link (via Boing Boing) to the exquisite drawings of a Clarence Larkin, Baptist minister and dispensationalist. He provided a number of charts to illustrate the "Process of Salvation."

Now why would I put this on the BPMVE blog?

I'm glad you asked. Visualisation has been around for thousands of years. From drawings depicting hunting grounds in caves to the present Second Life like environments, humans have been creating visual representations of processes to illustrate, educate and generally entertain.

The issues remain the same; the derivation of appropriate visual structures and styles to create an image to comunicate information relevant to a human task. Easier said than done - visualisation is thus an art and a science, with many failures.

Plus, I have a fascination for etchings. It is a fascinating art form, and reminiscent of the black line drawings we use on screens today for diagrams. While the images in the link are noisey in parts, the line art seems to do its job of communicating Xian concepts. Even in this time, layout, glyphs, metaphors etc. need to be designed to communicate effectively.

Anyway, somehow these old drawings tell me that I am researching a field that has been around for a long time. Which is kind of comforting.


Monday, January 28, 2008

A new blog...

Hello gentle reader. This is a new blog being written by me to air my views on BPMVE, as stated in the heading.

This posting will be a place holder as a first post, until I get around to having some useful things to say.