Paradigms for workflow sharing

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We have started to investigate several alternative paradigms for workflow sharing in social and collaborative sites. This includes social networking sites, collaborative web sites, and semantic wikis. This research is formative, as it will be very hard to embark on comprehensive comparative studies in this area.

We are looking at social networking sites as a possible substrate for workflow reuse. We have developed a prototype where users can share tasks with friends in their social network, and reuse techniques that others have shared. This prototype is implemented in the popular Facebook social networking site, and we are collecting data from users as we improve the design of the application’s sharing capabilities. The focus of this work is the reuse of shared techniques across users. A technique will reflect a data analysis workflow, and will be available for retrieval and reuse by others. This work is ongoing, and will integrate a library of shared workflows to offer users possible solutions to their data analysis tasks.

We are also analyzing collaborative web sites that facilitate the creation of joint repositories. One such repository is the myExperiment site (, where computational experiments are shared and can be tagged for reuse. Another such site is nanoHUB (, focused on code sharing for nanotechnology and related areas. We are analyzing these repositories, tracking reports for the projects on user requirements and feedback.

This work is reported in the following publications:

* “Social Task Networks: Personal and Collaborative Task Formulation and Management in Social 
Networking Sites”. Yolanda Gil, Paul Groth, and Varun Ratnakar. AAAI Fall Symposium Series on 
Proactive Assistant Agents, Arlington, VA, November 2010. Available as a preprint.
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