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Mediators in the Architecture of Future Information Systems

Wiederhold, Gio (1992) Mediators in the Architecture of Future Information Systems. IEEE Computer, 25 (3). pp. 38-49.


PDF (The original mediator paper) - Accepted Version


The installation of high_speed networks using optical fiber and high bandwidth message forwarding gateways is changing the physical capabilities of information systems. These capabilities must be complemented with corresponding software systems advances to obtain a real benefit. Without smart software we will gain access to more data, but not improve access to the type and quality of information needed for decision making. To develop the concepts needed for future information systems we model information processing as an interaction of data and knowledge. This model provides criteria for a high-level functional partitioning. These partitions are mapped into information processing modules. The modules are assigned to nodes of the distributed information systems. A central role is assigned to modules that mediate between the users’ workstations and data resources. Mediators contain the administrative and technical knowledge to create information needed for decision-making. Software which mediates is common today, but the structure, the Interfaces, and implementations vary greatly, so that automation of integration is awkward. By formalizing and implementing mediation we establish a partitioned information systems architecture, which is of manageable complexity and can deliver much of the power that technology puts into our reach. The partitions and modules map into the powerful distributed hardware that is becoming available. We refer to the modules that perform these services in a sharable and composable way as mediators. We will present conceptual requirements that must be placed on mediators to assure effective large-scale information systems. The modularity in this architecture is not only a goal, but also enables the goal to be reached, since these systems will need autonomous modules to permit growth and enable them to survive in a rapidly changing world. The intent of this paper is to provide a conceptual framework for many distinct efforts. The concepts provide a direction for an information processing systems in the foreseeable future. We also indicate some subtasks that are of research concern to us. In the long range the experience gathered by diverse efforts may lead to a new layer of high-level communication standards.

Item Type:Article
ID Code:888
Deposited By:Prof. Gio Wiederhold
Deposited On:24 Nov 2008 08:25
Last Modified:24 Nov 2008 08:25

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