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The Fourth and Last Provenance Challenge

Early Success For the Fourth Provenance Challenge

Back at IPAW 2006, in Chicago, we discussed the needs for provenance standardization. This discussion initiated the successful Provenance Challenge series, with three editions PC1, PC2, and PC3 [1]. The Provenance Challenge activity was instrumental in designing the Open Provenance Model [2], a model for provenance with take-up well beyond the original Provenance Challenge community.

Events at the World Wide Consortium Incubator on Provenance [3] have taken over our initial move towards a last challenge PC4. The incubator group, including some of us, dedicated significant time towards making the Incubator a success. This resulted in the recent creation of the W3C Provenance Working Group, several of us are also involved in.

Since we all have a limited bandwidth for community activities, it is not realistic to run both activities in parallel. Furthermore, the inter-operability motivation of PC4 is being pursued by the W3C Provenance Working Group, with the rigor of a standardization body.

Given this, we feel it would be best to end the Provenance Challenge series, and declare its success in having set the agenda for provenance inter-operability. This would not be the end of this mailing list or the wiki. These facilities are welcome to be used for continued community building, announcements, etc.

The success of the challenge is really a testament to the vitality and dedication of this community.

Does it mean there is no more challenge related to provenance? Surely not, but they will simply be tackled in a different form.

Best regards,

Luc Moreau and Paul Groth



The FirstProvenanceChallenge (PC1) was designed to compare expressiveness of provenance systems. It was followed by the SecondProvenanceChallenge (PC2) to exchange provenance information between systems. The consensus that followed led to a proposal for the Open Provenance Model (OPM), a data model for provenance. OPM was tested during the ThirdProvenanceChallenge (PC3). Following the success of this challenge, an open-source governance approach was adopted for OPM, which led to revision OPM v1.1.

Three considerations are motivating the launch of a novel challenge:

Hence, the purpose of the Fourth and Last Provenance Challenge is to apply the Open Provenance Model to a broad end-to-end scenario, and demonstrate novel functionality that can only be achieved by the presence of an an interoperable solution for provenance. This challenge, the last one in this successful series, will be its natural conclusion since it will exploit OPM in an end-to-end scenario, following steps understanding provenance (PC1), posing the problem of provenance inter-operability (PC2), and testing the OPM solution (PC3).

In parallel, we note the activities of the W3C Incubator on Provenance, which has collected use cases, derived requirements, and is in the process of beginning a technology roadmap. The Incubator and PC4 are complementary activities, which should cross-fertilize each other. Incubator's use cases and requirements can influence the PC4 scenario, whereas PC4 practical experience with OPM can inform the incubator.

Whilst inter-operability is a pragmatic consideration, it entails fundamental research questions. The fourth challenge remains a research activity, and we will aim to disseminate results. Following PC1, a special issue was published by Concurrenty and Computation: Practice and Experience. A special issue is under preparation for PC3 with the journal Future Generation Computer Systems. It is proposed that a book of contributed articles will be published after PC4.

Proposed Process

As previously, the process, scope, aims and timetable will be community-driven. We propose here a process to bootstrap the PC4 activity, inspired by PC3.


PC4 Scoping Workshop

-- LucMoreau - 29 Mar 2010 -- PaulGroth - 12 Jul 2010
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