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Department of Computer Science
San Jose State University

Special Talk: Lightweight Information Integration via Mashups

By Volker Markl, IBM

When: Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Where: MacQuarrie Hall, Room 225, SJSU

Time: 3 p.m.


A mashup is a web application that combines content from two or more web services and creates a new service. They are revolutionizing web development by allowing those without extensive programming experience to quickly combine existing services in innovative ways.  Simple and lightweight Web 2.0 technologies such as RSS/ATOM feeds and AJAX are at the heart of the mashup revolution.

Situational applications are enterprise web applications built on-the-fly to solve a specific business problem. They are developed without involvement of the IT department and exist outside its control. They might combine data from a variety of enterprise sources such as SAP or Office applications, back-end databases, and content management systems. In effect, situational applications are enterprise mashups. Any distinction between mashups and situational applications will become progressively blurred as situational applications augment enterprise data with data outside the firewall.

Enterprise mashups are information heavy, as they access, filter, join, and aggregate data from multiple sources; however, these data machinations are done in the application mixed with business and presentation logic. The Mashup Fabric In Almaden (MAFIA) project is exploring simple, lightweight (in keeping with the spirit of Web 2.0) technologies that might liberate enterprise mashup developers from the details of how data is accessed and combined, much as database applications where freed from these concerns decades ago. MAFIA is developed in PHP using AJAX and further Web 2.0 concepts.

We are calling the set of technologies that would support the data processing needs of enterprise mashups a "mashup fabric". The mashup fabric will provide (1) an "ingestion layer" for receiving web feeds, accessing web services, screen scraping, and other inflow operations, (2) an "augmentation layer" for filtering and combing that data, and (3) a "presentation layer" that would support access to the augmented data via feeds, webservices, and other formats.  Support for "standardization" is one of the key aspects of a mashup fabric. Standardization allows data from different sources to be combined in meaningful ways by providing services for mapping famous concepts such as "place", "person", "product, "time" to a canonical representation.

This talk will give an overview of the activities that we plan to investigate in the MAFIA, raise some important research challenges, and discuss possibilities for an intern to contribute to the project.

Picture of Volker MarklVolker Markl is a Research Staff Member of the Advanced Optimization and Self-Managing Databases group. His research interests include: