Informatica Economica Vol. 13 No. 2/2009

Issue Topic: Collaborative Systems


Collaborative Systems

Collaborative Environments. Considerations Concerning Some Collaborative Systems
Mihaela I. MUNTEAN 5
It is obvious, that all collaborative environments (workgroups, communities of practice, collaborative enterprises) are based on knowledge and between collaboration and knowledge management there is a strong interdependence. The evolution of information systems in these collaborative environments led to the sudden necessity to adopt, for maintaining the virtual activities and processes, the latest technologies/systems, which are capable to support integrated collaboration in business services. In these environments, portal-based IT platforms will integrate multi-agent collaborative systems, collaborative tools, different enterprise applications and other useful information systems.
Keywords: collaboration, collaborative environments, knowledge management, collaborative systems, portals, knowledge portals, agile development of portals

Collaboration and Virtualization in Large Information Systems Projects
Ştefan Ioan NITCHI, Alin MIHĂILĂ, Marius PODEAN 12  
A project is evolving through different phases from idea and conception until the experiments, implementation and maintenance. The globalization, the Internet, the Web and the mobile computing changed many human activities, and in this respect, the realization of the Information System (IS) projects. The projects are growing, the teams are geographically distributed, and the users are heterogeneous. In this respect, the realization of the large Information Technology (IT) projects needs to use collaborative technologies. The distribution of the team, the users' heterogeneity and the project complexity determines the virtualization. This paper is an overview of these aspects for large IT projects. It shortly present a general framework developed by the authors for collaborative systems in general and adapted to collaborative project management. The general considerations are illustrated on the case of a large IT project in which the authors were involved.
Keywords: large IT projects, collaborative systems, virtualization, framework for collaborative virtual systems

Web Content Management Systems, a Collaborative Environment in the Information Society
Daniel MICAN, Nicolae TOMAI, Robert Ioan COROŞ 20
The aim of the present paper is to analyze the main models of collaboration and the use of a Web CMS, in order to develop an online community. Taking into consideration the multitude of the existing Web CMSs on the market and their diverse functionalities, we conducted a prospective study that tests the development trends in the field, with the view of finding out which are the most important Web CMSs in practice, and which are the most important functionalities they have to possess, in order to develop a collaborative online community. The results of the study show that the most popular Web CMS is Joomla, and the most widespread programming language is PHP. Likewise, we consider that this study can help the entry-level web developers to get an overview of the most popular Web CMSs, and their functionalities.
Keywords: collaboration, content management, web content management systems

A Collaborative System Software Solution for Modeling Business Flows Based on Automated Semantic Web Service Composition
Nowadays, business interoperability is one of the key factors for assuring competitive advantage for the participant business partners. In order to implement business cooperation, scalable, distributed and portable collaborative systems have to be implemented. This article presents some of the mostly used technologies in this field. Furthermore, it presents a software application architecture based on Business Process Modeling Notation standard and automated semantic web service coupling for modeling business flow in a collaborative manner. The main business processes will be represented in a single, hierarchic flow diagram. Each element of the diagram will represent calls to semantic web services. The business logic (the business rules and constraints) will be structured with the help of OWL (Ontology Web Language). Moreover, OWL will also be used to create the semantic web service specifications.
Keywords: automated service coupling, business ontology, semantic web, BPMN, semantic web

A Metrics Approach for Collaborative Systems
Cristian CIUREA 41
This article presents different types of collaborative systems, their structure and classification. This paper defines the concept of virtual campus as a collaborative system. It builds architecture for virtual campus oriented on collaborative training processes. It analyses the quality characteristics of collaborative systems and propose techniques for metrics construction and validation in order to evaluate them. The article analyzes different ways to increase the efficiency and the performance level in collaborative banking systems.
Keywords: collaborative system, collaborative learning, virtual campus, banking, metric

A Collaborative GIS Solution for Public Transport
Liviu Adrian COTFAS, Mihai Cătălin CROICU, Dumitru COTFAS 50
The recent years brought forward a large number of solutions for automating route finding given the increased availability of geographical data. However, such solutions rarely focus on mass transit or involve the user in submitting information in a collaborative manner to further improve the available dataset and provide additional services. The system presented here intends to fully address these issues by providing a modular, extensible collaborative one-stop-shop for public transport needs based on multi-source collaborative data inputs from both official and user-submitted sources with the usage of a flexible, genetic-algorithms based route-finding application. Implementation wise, the solution is based on an open-ended system of collaborative web-services with front-ends available on mobile, desktop and web platforms. The proposed solution will not only provide users with a powerful technical solution, but will address the theoretical concern by which the increase of available GIS data is solely used for last-mile, map-like solutions
Keywords: collaborative solution, public transport, genetic algorithms, geographic information systems (GIS)

Collaborative Virtual Enterprise Environment and Decision Mining
Răzvan PETRUŞEL 59
This paper will present some meaningful insights into the analysis and modeling phases of an Enterprise Virtual Environment (EVE) prototype. The main goal of EVE is to provide an environment for collaborative decisions using a DSS-like approach. In the second part, the proposed architecture of the system will be introduced. This system is developed primarily to simulate decision situations in the academic training of students. The second goal of the system is to provide us with user activity logs that will be the starting point of decision pattern mining process. In the third part of the paper, we will provide evidence regarding the possibility of: mining decision models from user activity logs; comparing different decision making strategies of users; and building decision reference models.
Keywords: Enterprise Virtual Environment, Decision Simulation, DSS Analysis and Modeling, Decision Mining, Decision Analysis, Decision Models

Quorums Systems as a Method to Enhance Collaboration for Achieving Fault Tolerance in Distributed Systems
Ioan PETRI 68
A system that implements the byzantine agreement algorithm is supposed to be very reliable and robust because of its fault tolerating feature. For very realistic environments, byzantine agreement protocols becomes inadequate, because they are based on the assumption that failures are controlled and they have unlimited severity. The byzantine agreement model works with a number of bounded failures that have to be tolerated. It is never concerned to identify these failures or to exclude them from the system. In this paper, we tackle quorum systems, which is a particular sort of distributed systems where some storage or computations are replicated on various machines in the idea that some of them work correctly to produce a reliable output at some given moment of time. Thus, by majority voting collaboration with quorums, one can achieve fault tolerance in distributed systems. Further, we argue that an algorithm to identify faulty-behaving machines is useful to identify purposeful malicious behaviors.
Keywords: fault tolerance, quorum systems, distributed computing, byzantine faults

The Informatics of the Equity Markets - A Collaborative Approach
Claudiu VINŢE 76
This paper aims to provide a high-level overview upon the information technology that supports the electronic transactions performed on the equity markets. It is meant to offer a succinct introduction to the various technologies tailored to tackle the data transfer between the participants on an equity market, the architectural approaches regarding trading system design, and the communication in a collaborative distributed computing environment. Our intention here is not to provide solutions, or to propose definitive designs, merely to scratch the surface of this vast domain, and open the path for subsequent researches.
Keywords: securities exchange, stock order flow, trading system architecture, distributed computing, middleware, collaborative system, order-matching algorithm

Intelligent Decisional Assistant that Facilitate the Choice of a Proper Computer System Applied in Business
Nicolae MĂRGINEAN 86
The choice of a proper computer system is not an easy task for a decider. One reason could be the present market development of computer systems applied in business. The big number of the Romanian market players determines a big number of computerized products, with a multitude of various properties. Our proposal tries to optimize and facilitate this decisional process within an e-shop where are sold IT packets applied in business, building an online decisional assistant, a special component conceived to facilitate the decision making needed for the selection of the pertinent IT package that fits the requirements of one certain business, described by the decider. The user interacts with the system as an online buyer that visit an e-shop where are sold IT package applied in economy.
Keywords: database, knowledge-base, decision tree, DSS, data mining, agents, reasoning, collaborative

About Parallel Programming: Paradigms, Parallel Execution and Collaborative Systems
Loredana MOCEAN, Monica CIACA 95
In the last years, there were made efforts for delineation of a stabile and unitary frame, where the problems of logical parallel processing must find solutions at least at the level of imperative languages. The results obtained by now are not at the level of the made efforts. This paper wants to be a little contribution at these efforts. We propose an overview in parallel programming, parallel execution and collaborative systems.
Keywords: Parallel Programming, Parallel Execution, Collaborative systems, Collaborative parallel execution

Computer-Based Decision Support for Railroad Transportation Systems: an Investment Case Study
Luminita DUTA, Adrian BITULEANU, Florin Gheorghe FILIP, Ion ISTUDOR 103
In the last decade the development of the economical and social life increased the complexity of transportation systems. In this context, the role of Decision Support Systems (DSS) became more and more important. The paper presents the characteristics, necessity, and usage of DSS in transportation and describes a practical application in the railroad field. To compute the optimal transportation capacity and flow on a certain railroad, specialized decision-support software which is available on the market was used.
Keywords: decision support systems, decision tree, logistics, optimization, railroad transportation

Design of Hybrid Network Anomalies Detection System (H-NADS) Using IP Gray Space Analysis
Yogendra Kumar JAIN, Sandip S. PATIL 110
In Network Security, there is a major issue to secure the public or private network from abnormal users. It is because each network is made up of users, services and computers with a specific behavior that is also called as heterogeneous system. To detect abnormal users, anomaly detection system (ADS) is used. In this paper, we present a novel and hybrid Anomaly Detection System with the uses of IP gray space analysis and dominant scanning port identification heuristics used to detect various anomalous users with their potential behaviors. This methodology is the combination of both statistical and rule based anomaly detection which detects five types of anomalies with their three types of potential behaviors and generates respective alarm messages to GUI.
Keywords: Network Security, Anomaly Detection, Suspicious Behaviors Detection

Performance Analysis of On-Demand Routing Protocols in Wireless Mesh Networks
Arafatur RAHMAN, Saiful AZAD, Farhat ANWAR 120
Wireless Mesh Networks (WMNs) have recently gained a lot of popularity due to their rapid deployment and instant communication capabilities. WMNs are dynamically self-organizing, self-configuring and self-healing with the nodes in the network automatically establishing an adiej hoc network and preserving the mesh connectivity. Designing a routing protocol for WMNs requires several aspects to consider, such as wireless networks, fixed applications, mobile applications, scalability, better performance metrics, efficient routing within infrastructure, load balancing, throughput enhancement, interference, robustness etc. To support communication, various routing protocols are designed for various networks (e.g. ad hoc, sensor, wired etc.). However, all these protocols are not suitable for WMNs, because of the architectural differences among the networks. In this paper, a detailed simulation based performance study and analysis is performed on the reactive routing protocols to verify the suitability of these protocols over such kind of networks. Ad Hoc On-Demand Distance Vector (AODV), Dynamic Source Routing (DSR) and Dynamic MANET On-demand (DYMO) routing protocol are considered as the representative of reactive routing protocols. The performance differentials are investigated using varying traffic load and number of source. Based on the simulation results, how the performance of each protocol can be improved is also recommended.
Keywords: Wireless Mesh Networks (WMNs), IEEE 802.11s, AODV, DSR, DYMO

Addressing the telecommunications needs of the poor and needy

Enabling Mobile Communications for the Needy: Affordability Methodology, and Approaches to Requalify Universal Service Measures
Louis-Francois PAU 128
This paper links communications and media usage to social and household economics boundaries. It highlights that in present day society, communications and media are a necessity, but not always affordable, and that they furthermore open up for addictive behaviors which raise additional financial and social risks. A simple and efficient methodology compatible with state-of-the-art social and communications business statistics is developed, which produces the residual communications and media affordability budget and ultimately the value-at-risk in terms of usage and tariffs. Sensitivity analysis provides precious information on bottom-up communications and media adoption on the basis of affordability. This approach differs from the regulated but often ineffective Universal service obligation, which instead of catering for individual needs mostly addresses macro-measures helping geographical access coverage (e.g. in rural areas). It is proposed to requalify the Universal service obligations on operators into concrete measures, allowing, with unchanged funding, the needy to adopt mobile services based on their affordability constraints by bridging the gap to a standard tariff. Case data are surveyed from various countries. ICT policy recommendations are made to support widespread and socially responsible communications access.
Keywords: Affordability, Mobile communications, Media usage, Addiction, Residual budget, Social and communications regulations, Social tariffs

Underdeveloped ICT areas in Sub-Saharan Africa
Alfonso AVILA 136
As universal service in terms of ICTs provision cannot be achieved in the times agreed for several international bilateral and multilateral aid organizations. It is important to create mechanisms to reduce the lack of use of ICTs in sub-Saharan African countries. This paper specifically analyses the different ICT underdeveloped areas in the sub-Saharan African countries and the factors explain such status. At the same time, the paper proposes a set of policy guidelines that might help improving the current situation in several areas such as investment, employment, infrastructure and technology in order that some countries may overcome unfavourable ICT development. The main research question is: is there any chance that sub-Saharan African countries can overcome the critical situation in which they currently are? And if so, what are the key components and processes to develop and to do changes. In this way, a proposed framework is provided for the examination of policy makers, investors, and other stakeholders in the ICT field in these countries.
Keywords: sub-Saharan Africa, ICT, development

Mobile Operator Supports Refugees and Disabled in Georgia
Zviad KIRTAVA 147
Collapse of USSR and declaration of independence by Georgia was followed by ethnic conflicts provoked by Russia, and de-facto loosing of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, with about 300,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs). New wave of tens of thousands IDPs - mainly from South Ossetia and Shida Kartli - have emerged since recent Russian occupation of Georgian territories in August 2008. Refugees, considering their economical and psycho-social problems, are needy for communication as cell phones often remain a main hope for establishing contacts and new social networking. One of the major mobile operator (MO) – Geocell introduced during 4 months special tariff for refugees – 0, 09 GEL (0,044€) per min –70% reduction of basic rate. Around 56% of refugees have used that emergency relief measure. MO also helps deaf-mute persons by providing special SMS rate – 0, 02 GEL (1/3 of usual) and supporting computer center where it educates such disabled with future employment prospects (7 persons – at MO office).
Keywords: Georgia, Georgian-Russian war, refugees, internally displaced persons (IDP), mobile communication, mobile tariffs, needy, disabled, social responsibility

Universal Service in a Broader Perspective: The European Digital Divide
María Concepción GARCÍA-JIMÉNEZ, José Luis GÓMEZ-BARROSO 155
Ensuring universal service is a top objective in many countries in order that all the citizens can have access basic communications services. Although the ICT equipment in households and its usage by individuals are essential prerequisites for benefiting from ICTs, the situation in the European Union is far from uniform. This article provides a description of the European information society development scenario using the values reached by the member states in a set of indicators selected for measuring said progress in households. Two tools are used for providing a broader perspective of the digital divide: a composite index and the cluster analysis. Below, a study is provided on what variables are relevant for interpreting the situation that is presented.
Keywords: Information society, digital divide, universal service, European Union, ICT

Achieving Universal Access to Broadband
Morten FALCH, Anders HENTEN 166
The paper discusses appropriate policy measures for achieving universal access to broadband services in Europe. Access can be delivered by means of many different technology solutions described in the paper. This means a greater degree of competition and affects the kind of policy measures to be applied. The paper concludes that other policy measure than the classical universal service obligation are in play, and discusses various policy measures taking the Lisbon process as a point of departure. Available policy measures listed in the paper include, universal service obligation, harmonization, demand stimulation, public support for extending the infrastructure, public private partnerships (PPP), and others.
Keywords: Broadband, universal service, broadband policy, public private partnership, Lisbon process

Telecommunications for the Needy: How needed are they?
Pedro PUGA, Gustavo CARDOSO, Rita ESPANHA, Sandro MENDONÇA 175
Telecommunications, mobile and non-mobile, play a major role in our society, but their role as tools for escaping poverty remains a policy agenda still with room for progress both in Europe and around the World. Some groups in society, like the needy, have difficulties in accessing and using such technologies in ways that mirror the debates of the late 90s over the "digital divide". For some groups, like the needy, it would be more exact to address the concept of digital poverty rather than digital divide, because without access to telecommunications one might not have the same degree of opportunities to leave poverty or not to fall into poverty [34] [3] [4]. The goal of this paper is to scope the problem by departing from the Portuguese case study. Our research is empirical and highlights the telecommunication ownership and expenditures of the Portuguese population, and specially the most fragile segments within it. Such an effort is undertaken while not ignoring major issues of political economy of the contemporary globalizing networked society. Our main argument in this paper is that, if telecommunications are a needed tool for the lower income segments of the population, that is the needy, a debate around digital poverty associated to mobile telecommunications is needed in Europe too and to address such issues we need public policy commitments.
Keywords: needy, mobile telecommunications, digital poverty, digital divide, telecommunication policies

PhD Thesis Review: Knowledge Acquisition through Text Mining
Ion IVAN 189

Book Review: Information Technology and Communication for Business

Publishing guide for authors 192

Inforec Association 194