So when will the wedding take place? This seems to be the question everybody is asking about Business Rule Management (BRM) and the Semantic Web (SW). At least the buys from the European Business Rules Conference did (http://www.semantic-web-days.net/EBRC_start.htm). Last year they organized the Semantic Web Days at the EBRC 2007. It took the form of a tutorial by Gerd Wagner (University of Cottbus and REWERSE Project) and colleagues and an exhibition by innovative companies and research institutes to present the latest innovations. In the tutorial, Gerd Wagner talked about Rule Modeling and Rule Interchange between different representation formalisms. He also talked about the latter in the context of the approaches of the REWERSE European research project and the W3C RIF (Rule Interchange Format) working group of the W3C. Another project dealing with the question is the MUSING project, under coordination of our neighbors here in Saarbrücken, the DFKI, represented by the person of Thierry Declerck.
This is only one of many events tackling the question of bringing specialists of the two domains together, since they are working mainly on inherently adjacent issues. One of the characteristics of research on business rules is the variety of works from very different people with different backgrounds. Due to lack of communication and exchange, we undergo the risk of having to reinvent the wheel at each time. One will inevitably notice this if one works in the Business Rules domain and tries to get an overview and an incept of what is really going on in research about business rules.
There is no need to be an oracle to see how semantic web technologies can help business rule propagation, interchange and enforcement in systems all over the web (actually there is no reason why the same approaches could be used for most type of distributed environments and systems), but also what level of artificial intelligence awareness the use of business rules in the semantic web architecture and applications would bring. I only hope that after the REWERSE project is over, many researchers will get to know the results, take profit from the dissemination efforts of REWERSE and build on them, and that through the variety of backgrounds, positions and ideas, that we will bring Business Rule Management to the next level, being really productive in a semantic distributed environment.
Marwane El Kharbili