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The main research focus of Web services is to achieve the interoperability between distributed and heterogeneous applications. Therefore, flexible composition of Web services to fulfill the given challenging requirements is one of the most important objectives in this research field. However, until now, service composition has been largely an error-prone and tedious process. Furthermore, as the number of available web services increases, finding the right Web services to satisfy the given goal becomes intractable. In this paper, toward these issues, we propose an AI planning-based framework that enables the automatic composition of Web services, and explore the following issues. First, we formulate the Web-service composition problem in terms of AI planning and network optimization problems to investigate its complexity in detail. Second, we analyze publicly available Web service sets using network analysis techniques. Third, we develop a novel Web-service benchmark tool called WSBen. Fourth, we develop a novel AI planning-based heuristic Web-service composition algorithm named WSPR. Finally, we conduct extensive experiments to verify WSPR against state-of-the-art AI planners. It is our hope that both WSPR and WSBen will provide useful insights for researchers to develop Web-service discovery and composition algorithms, and software.
Date of Publication: Jan.-March 2008