Modelling and Brokering Emergency Requests-For-Assistance

Markos F. Fragkakis

MSc Dissertation, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh, 2006.

Fragkakis, M. (2006) Modelling and Brokering Emergency Requests-For-Assistance, Master of Science Dissertation, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh, August, 2006.
The scale of the December 2004 Tsunami required a huge humantiarian relief effort, involving many different organisations and nationalities. In turn, this demanded a large coordination and communication effort, with organisations such as the Multinational Planning Augmentation Team (MPAT) [1] helping to establish task command and planning headquarters.

One of the roles of MPAT during the response was to act as an information exchange [2], and as part of this role it acted as a broker for Requests-for-assistance (RFAs), attempting to match requests for services or expertise with the corresponding service-providers and experts [3]. As an example, the following was one RFA that was successly brokered:

"Transport 400 MTs (441 tons) of High Energy Biscuits (HEBs) from Bangladesh (Zia Int'l Airport) to Banda Aceh and Medan, IN."

This brokering was performed manually; the purpose of this project is to consider ways in which this brokering task may be formalised and (perhaps partially) automated.

This may involve a number of sub-tasks:

1. An analysis of the MPAT RFA process, of the content of RFAs, and of the type of reasoning required to broker RFAs.
2. A formalisation of the description of RFAs and services/expertise using, in the first instance, OWL-S [4], an existing service description formalism.
3. An analysis of the suitability of OWL-S for this particular task, identifying any weaknesses in the expressiveness of the OWL-S ontology or its underlying logic.
4. An implementation of a brokering service able to match RFAs with potential services/experts.

Resources: Supervisors: