Natasha Correia Queiroz Lino
Semantic Based Support for Visualisation in Complex Collaborative Planning Environments

Ph.D., School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, June 2007

Visualisation in intelligent planning systems [Ghallab et al., 2004] is a subject that has not been given much attention by researchers. Among the existing planning systems, some well known planners do not propose a solution for visualisation at all, while others only consider a single approach when this solution sometimes is not appropriate for every situation.

Thus, users cannot make the most of planning systems because they do not have appropriate support for interaction with them. This problem is more enhanced when considering mixed-initiative planning systems, where agents that are collaborating in the process have different backgrounds, are playing different roles in the process, have different capabilities and responsibilities, or are using different devices to interact and collaborate in the process.

To address this problem, we propose a general framework for visualisation in planning systems that will give support for a more appropriate visualisation mechanism. This framework is divided into two main parts: a knowledge representation aspect and a reasoning mechanism for multi-modality visualisation. The knowledge representation uses the concept of ontology to organise and model complex domain problems. The reasoning mechanism gives support to reasoning about the visualisation problem based on the knowledge bases available for a realistic collaborative planning environment, including agent preferences, device features, planning information, visualisation modalities, etc. The main result of the reasoning mechanism is an appropriate visualisation modality for each specific situation, which provides a better interaction among agents (software and human) in a collaborative planning environment.

The main contributions of this approach are: (1) it is a general and extensible framework for the problem of visualisation in planning systems, which enables the modelling of the domain from an information visualisation perspective; (2) it allows a tailored approach for visualisation of information in an AI collaborative planning environment; (3) its models can be used separately in other problems and domains; (4) it is based on real standards that enable easy communication and interoperability with other systems and services; and (5) it has a broad potential for its application on the Semantic Web.

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