280729 Use of Workflows in Knowledge Management

Wednesday, October 31, 2012: 4:43 PM
326 (Convention Center )
Girish Joglekar1, Arun Giridhar1, Linas Mockus2 and Gintaras V. Reklaitis1, (1)Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, (2)Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Within an organization, explicit knowledge creation is a very laborious and time consuming activity, accounting for a significant investment of resources. It also requires active participation from people from a wide variety of business functions, for example, management, IT, research, development and so on. The payoff in the investment is through better decision making and competitive advantage over competition on a sustained basis. As the decision making process gets more complex, it becomes imperative that the knowledge be managed such that it is easily discernible and accessible.

We have designed a novel framework for knowledge modeling which will be the foundation of a powerful knowledge management system. It builds on the common underlying theme between business workflows, scientific workflows, manufacturing recipes and experimental procedure. These four areas of application cover almost all of knowledge creation activity. We posit that the proposed framework will facilitate exchange of knowledge horizontally as well as vertically within an organization.

A workflow, the common theme mentioned above, captures the operational aspect of a work procedure: how tasks are structured, who performs them, what their relative order is, how they are synchronized, how information flows to support the tasks and how tasks are being tracked. A work procedure is developed with a particular end objective, such as, performing an experiment, running a simulation model, running a process or making a decision. Each work procedure uses previously generated information or knowledge, and/or creates new information or knowledge. By storing information in a semantically rich form, it can be processed by machines and used by agents involved in the work procedure. The work procedures, in turn, can invoke other work procedures, thus allowing a hierarchical representation of the entire knowledge creation process. Such a representation is not only crucial for integration of all functions, but also for long term use of knowledge.

In this paper, the key features of the framework are presented with the help of a research project to generate kinetic parameters for one of the reactions in the synthesis of a pharmaceutical.

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See more of this Session: Data Analysis: Design, Algorithms & Applications
See more of this Group/Topical: Computing and Systems Technology Division