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SYNTHESIS in Russian is an abbreviation for Systems for Knowledge Integration. The SYNTHESIS group at the Institute of Informatics Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IPI RAS) specializes on various aspects of heterogeneous information resources specification, interoperation and integration in the interests of their compositional re-use for different applications. The group is building on its experience gained during various projects resulted in an expertise and basic techniques in the areas of heterogeneous database integration, canonical information models synthesis, equivalent and refining information model mapping, database machine architecture analysis. SYNTHESIS group emphasizes research and development of the compositional infrastructure supporting information consumers and resource providers cooperation in course of heterogeneous information resource mediation as well as in course of component-based information systems construction. The concept of composition is used to generalize (abstract from) various approaches leading to specific information system construction from pre-existing heterogeneous information resources. The information systems constructed over multiple pre-existing distributed heterogeneous resources may be designed and supported by various methods, modelling and architectural facilities. Information systems formed by mediation, integration or interoperation from pre-existing heterogeneous resources constitute the main focus of the SYNTHESIS group.

The main research directions of the group include:

  • the canonical semi-formal model intended for two-dimensionally uniform specifications of applications (mediators) and heterogeneous information resources;
  • a mapping of the canonical model into the formal model-theoretic notation to provide for provable justification of the semantically interoperable design;
  • a technology for refining mapping of heterogeneous definitions of various information resources into the canonical specifications (information resource model commutative mapping method based on the well-defined notion of refinement has been developed): the method preserves information and operations of types of specific information models while mapping them into the canonical types;
  • a design method specifically emphasizing reuse of the pre-existing components; the output of the existing methods are interpreted and extended (if required) in frame of the canonical SYNTHESIS model;
  • a scenario and procedure for the ontological integration of different application contexts based on associations between vectors of verbal terms used for the concepts definitions as well as their refinement relationships;
  • modeling and support of metainformation for the broad spectrum of heterogeneous information modeling (structured, semistructured and object data, services and concurrent behaviors, ontologies) including interoperation level specifying federated metainformation intended for unified access to multiple resources with relevant information;
  • developing of infrastructures for mediating heterogeneous distributed information resources in the interests of problem solving over multiple distributed heterogeneous information resources in e-science.

Currently the SYNTHESIS group is focused mostly on methods and tools for heterogeneous information resources integration applying subject mediation methodology.

The results of this work are planned to be applicable in e-science, specifically for Virtual Observatory developed for astronomers.

Supported by Synthesis Group