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Thesis Defense - Blumenthal

ECOT 831

Supporting Unstructured Activities with a Meta-Contextual Protocol
Computer Science PhD Candidate

Process-based workflow lives in tension between the conflicting demands associated with the structured automation of computational processes and the unstructured situated nature of actual office work. This dissertation defines a situation-based workflow approach that balances the prescriptive requirements of the former against the descriptive needs of the latter.

This new workflow approach is captured in the design of a Semi-Structured Information Control Network workflow model (ICNs) and an associated ICNs interpreter. This situation-based ICNs modeling formalism extends the previous process-based ICN formalism by modeling unstructured workflow activities using a representation that models the situated context in which the activity occurs. The corresponding interpreter uses an API based on a Meta-Contextual Protocol (MCP) language to support the contextual information needs of end-users who dynamically construct the contextual environments comprising an unstructured ICNs workflow activity.

In addition to describing the ICNs formalism, ICNs interpreter, and MCP language, this dissertation also describes a framework for characterizing situation-based workflow approaches. Several case studies, and associated background information, describing the limitations of process-based workflow systems addressed by the situation-based ICNs workflow approach are also presented.

Committee: Gary Nutt, Professor (Chair)
Clarence (Skip) Ellis, Professor
Clayton Lewis, Professor
James Martin, Associate Professor
Ilze Zigurs, School of Business

See also:
Department of Computer Science
College of Engineering and Applied Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
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