Frank's Blog

Vienna Conferences 

Ok, while I'm waiting at the only airport I know of with free wireless, here's some wrap-up of the two conferences I've attended, BPM2006 and WS-FM2006 .

Let's start with BPM. Actually, I do like the BPM conferences a lot more than ICSOC (the other BIG conference in the domain). Maybe this has to do with the more European centered audience. This year, there have been three keynotes announced of all the big players in the market, starting with Microsoft, followed by IBM, and concluded by Oracle. Unfortunately the last one was dropped and we've heard about the BBB (Big Basic Bus) once again. So that's then 2:1 for IBM. Nevertheless, the Microsoft talk was quite interesting. It was given by Dave Green, the chief architect of the Windows Workflow Foundation. He didn't talked much about the architecture but showcased the tool support, which is quite nice if you like the vendor lock. That's because Windows Workflow Foundation builds atop of a bunch of M$ products like Windows Vista, SQL Server, BizTalk, Visio, Visual Studio, Office, the new FrontPage (can't remember the current name) etc. The most interesting part is the seamless integration of office for "manual" tasks. Let's see what the future will bring for M$, I'm leaning back in my Apple chair and watch it. The IBM talk was given by Don Ferguson, one of the 50 IBM fellows and a chief architect. The talk was just about the things you would suppose IBM is talking about.

Some interesting talks and papers I'd like to highlight. First of all the current research of the Reisig group in the project Tools4BPEL. This project already got some tools running like BPEL2oWFN and Fiona (Why do I like this name? Isn't it from the movie Shrek?). Fiona is able to check an oWFN for controllability and generate an operating guideline. If I've got some time I will definitely take a closer look. Another interesting talk was given by Skip Ellis, one of the first workflow pioneers. He talked about something beyond workflow mining that only a few people accepted to be beyond Nevertheless, his presentation style and "aura" was impressive. On Wednesday Wil van der Aalst in person gave a short paper presentation about "Verifying Workflow nets with Cancellation Regions and OR-Joins". Also quite nice, but still I'm not convinced that this is a final solution. Wednesdays talks ended early so that there was time to visit the "Hofburg". After visiting the rooms of Sissi and listening to what she did all day long (hair combing 2 hours, riding 6 hours, gymnastic 2 hours, preparing a evening dress up to 8 hours, changing her dress at least three times a day) I'm wondering what the Sissi movies are all about? The talks continued at Thursday. I can't help but I found my demo session the most demo-like one. That's because most presenters showed 12 out of 15 minutes slides introducing their tool. Ok, I had the advantage of having introduced my background as a full paper already on Tuesday. By the way, did I already mentioned my demo poster? To conclude, while the atmosphere at the BPM conference was quite nice, the talks at the WS-FM workshop have been by far more interesting.

The WS-FM workshop started on Friday and the audience changed drastically. Nearly 50% of the attendees came from Italy, another 20% from Spain, only two from Germany (including me), and one from the Netherlands (Wil van der Aalst). Wil gave a keynote about DecSerFlow. While the talk was nice and also the integration into YAWL, it was criticed a bit by the theoreticians. They wondered why only linear temporal logic (LTL) has been used. Interestingly, Marlon Dumas presented a paper of one of our students, Gero Decker at this workshop. Gero was recently in Brisbane, Australia to write his master thesis and convince the people at SAP research and QUT to utilize the pi-calculus as a formal foundation for their new choreography language "Let's Dance". And the interesting point is that Marlon managed to give the presentation without showing any equation. WOW again for the that. The most interesting talk has been "SCC: A service centered calculus" by Roberto Bruni (SCC is an homage to CCS). They introduced a nice approach to build a formal foundation for SOA's. Unfortunately, this is just another proprietary framework. He even stated on his slides that they could have been used pure pi-calculus instead, but that it would not directly express the things they wanted to consider. Ok, maybe a framework ten times as complex as the pi-calculus might help. The second interesting talk was about "Towards a Unifying Theory for Web Service Compositions". They utilized web pi-calculus and extended it with work units for transactional behavior. Unfortunately, they dropped the timings contained in web pi. I missed the talk of Schahram Dustar about "Service QoS Composition" because I had to catch my plane. I also met Christian Stefansen at the workshop, a PhD student working on a quite related topic to my own. Maybe we will have some more discussions in the future.

So, now I have to board my plane and stop writing the longest entry I've ever created. Yes, there are also some pictures available.
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While an update about the BPM conference and the WS-FM workshop I'm currently visiting will follow, I already have something to smile about for some people.

Now we know why the HPI is not a bank ;-)

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Small Cars 

Yesterday I was again quite surprised how big our new car looks in contrast to established ones. At the left hand side you can see an Audi A4 and at the right hand our Peugeot 307SW. Interestingly, the 307 is one class below the A4...

(Ok, I tricked a bit because our car is closer to the camera, but still its a nice difference)

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Still alive 

Sorry for the delay, but I was quite busy the last months. Finishing the lecture on Business Process Management, writing my thesis and preparing papers and talks for conferences. Yes, conferences are coming. Next week is the 4th International Conference on Business Process Management, this year in Vienna. Three highly interesting days and each day a talk by me. Afterward the 3rd International Workshop on Web Services and Formal Methods is taking place. No, I don't talk about Web Services there, but I'm highly interested in the paradigm of Service oriented Architectures. I'm going to talk about my point of view at the EMISA conference taking place in Hamburg later in October.

Besides, I updated my homepage at the HPI, where you can now find a short BIO as well as slides of my talks and most of my publications. I recommend this one if you want a short version of my thesis (that has yet to come). Finally, I won't miss to point you to This blog is maintained by a colleague of mine and focuses on RESTful business process management based on B3MN (an extension of BPMN) and the pi-calculus as a theoretical foundation.
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The all new MacBooks have arrived - blogging and podcast ready! While I was surprised about the technical details (Core Duo, DVI video output, high-resolution screen, but only onboard graphics) the design seems to step back a bit. The white model resembles some MSI notebooks, whereas the black just looks like a Dull. I'm also interesting in getting my fingers on the keyboard, since it now resembles some kind of calculator keyboard:

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