SYNTHESIS in Russian is an abbreviation for Systems for Knowledge Integration.
The SYNTHESIS group at the Institute of Informatics Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences
(IPI RAS) specializes on various aspects of heterogeneous information resources specification,
interoperation and integration in the interests of their compositional re-use for
different applications. The group is building on its experience gained during various projects
resulted in an expertise and basic techniques in the areas of heterogeneous database integration,
canonical information models synthesis, equivalent and refining information model mapping,
database machine architecture analysis. SYNTHESIS group emphasizes research and
development of the compositional infrastructure supporting information consumers and
resource providers cooperation in course of heterogeneous information resource mediation
as well as in course of component-based information systems construction.
The concept of composition is used to generalize (abstract from) various approaches
leading to specific information system construction from pre-existing
heterogeneous information resources. The information systems constructed over multiple
pre-existing distributed heterogeneous resources may be designed and supported
by various methods, modelling and architectural facilities. Information systems
formed by mediation, integration or interoperation from pre-existing heterogeneous
resources constitute the main focus of the SYNTHESIS group.
The main research directions of the group include:
- the canonical semi-formal model intended for two-dimensionally uniform
specifications of applications (mediators) and heterogeneous information resources;
- a mapping of the canonical model into the formal model-theoretic notation to
provide for provable justification of the semantically interoperable design;
- a technology for refining mapping of heterogeneous definitions of various
information resources into the canonical specifications (information resource
model commutative mapping method based on the well-defined notion of refinement
has been developed): the method preserves information and operations of types of
specific information models while mapping them into the canonical types;
- a design method specifically emphasizing reuse of the pre-existing components;
the output of the existing methods are interpreted and extended (if required) in frame of
the canonical SYNTHESIS model;
- a scenario and procedure for the ontological integration of different application
contexts based on associations between vectors of verbal terms used for the concepts definitions
as well as their refinement relationships;
- modeling and support of metainformation for the broad spectrum of
heterogeneous information modeling (structured, semistructured and object data,
services and concurrent behaviors, ontologies) including interoperation level
specifying federated metainformation intended for unified access to multiple
resources with relevant information;
- developing of infrastructures for mediating heterogeneous distributed
information resources in the interests of problem solving over multiple
distributed heterogeneous information resources in e-science.
Currently the SYNTHESIS group is focused mostly on methods and tools for
heterogeneous information resources integration applying subject mediation methodology.
The results of this work are planned to be applicable in e-science, specifically for Virtual
Observatory developed for astronomers.