Worldwide Workflow : Software Applications for Asynchronous Collaboration

Period of Performance: 04/20/2000 - 11/30/2000


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Maya Design Group, Inc.
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 702
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Principal Investigator


"Worldwide Workflow" : This project explores advanced techniques for asynchronouscollaboration. The work focuses on visualization, management, andvastly scalable and robust distribution methods for shared collectionsof any type of information. We propose to design, prototype, and testa collaborative system based on repositories of declarative dataobjects (UForms) -- repositories will be replicated through the use ofrobust computational agents ("shepherds") to form a world widedataflow of information. The model introduces an abstraction calledGRIS ("Grand Repository In the Sky). Repositories can be thought ofas imperfect portals into the GRIS. Users will view the GRIS as asource of pools and streams of information that can be manipulated inboth simple and subtle ways to form workflows and collaborationgroups. Tools for visualization and configuring such a system will beexplored and attempts will be made to blend synchronous andasynchronous collaboration methods into a spectrum of tools that fadeinto the background and make the data and collaboration immediatelyperceptible to the user. It should be natural to collaborate -- notadditional work. This project should result in new architectural principles and infrastructure components for building flexible and usable asynchronous collaborative systems as well as new user interface paradigms for configuration of asynchronous collaborative applications.