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The paradigmatic shift from a Web of manual interactions to a Web of programmatic interactions driven by Web services is creating unprecedented opportunities for the formation of online business-to-business (B2B) collaborations. In particular, the creation of value-added services by composition of existing ones is gaining a significant momentum. Since many available Web services provide overlapping or identical functionality, albeit with different quality of service (QoS), a choice needs to be made to determine which services are to participate in a given composite service. This paper presents a middleware platform which addresses the issue of selecting Web services for the purpose of their composition in a way that maximizes user satisfaction expressed as utility functions over QoS attributes, while satisfying the constraints set by the user and by the structure of the composite service. Two selection approaches are described and compared: one based on local (task-level) selection of services and the other based on global allocation of tasks to services using integer programming.
Date of Publication: May 2004