Problem Definition and New Requirements

Currently, there is a transition going on from the industrial society to the information and service society that supersedes operating in static markets with fixed and well-known competitors and stable customer portfolios. Characteristic of this global development is the striving for a reduction of development times (time-to-market) as well as a continuous improvement of quality while decreasing product and production costs to ensure competitiveness at the same time. The associated ever increasing degree of networking and distribution of operational processes, for instance within temporary and virtual cooperation, and the resulting increase in requirements regarding the provision, joint use and dissemination of information make new, spontaneously adaptable integration concepts necessary. The semantic processing and suitable aggregation of heterogeneous data, information and knowledge is a problem that has not been solved sufficiently yet, as is the use of available middleware technologies for the conception and architecture of integrated (operational) application and information systems. Overall, the importance of aspects of information and knowledge management as well as suitable integration technologies will steadily increase in the future.

Our Solution Approach

It is necessary to intensively research today's possibilities as well as the potentials of future approaches to information integration on the basis of pivotal concepts. In addition to methods of data and information management, this includes, for example, semantic modelling, ontologies, model mapping and transformation, etc. and thus has a close connection to the currently hotly debated knowledge management. Orthogonally to the described concepts of information integration, suitable middleware technologies are being researched and further developed, which should provide viable solutions, especially for the distribution of information and applications. Distributed object models, component models, web services, (multi-) agent systems, integration portals or also Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) can be mentioned as examples. Both the concepts of information integration and the middleware technologies provide the (information-technical) foundations for the further (domain-specific) main topics of our research area "integrated applications"!