Activity modeling and ISO 15926

December 10, 2009

There is requirements for at least four different activity views (customer, engineer, manager, organizer —

It should be defined schema (ontology, meta-model) for activity modeling that can express data needed for each of this 4 mandatory view. Many of requirements to activity description meta-model (support of multiple views, scalability, possibility for several levels of  specialization/instantiation, possibility of enactment etc.) already discussed in field of situational method engineering. We add several other requirements:

  • it should be adjusted with upper ontology to provide integration with other models
    • artifact/product/plant models
    • actor/agents models: every activity performed by somebody
    • services (as in SOA) model: every activity should be supported with services
  • it should be rich enough to permit mapping of activity descriptions in engineering CAD systems (in two levels: workflow/routing in this CAD and describing engineering process in a level of project model)
  • it should support right model of time (Conrad Bock have extensive writings about it:
  • it should use systems approach, therefore define life cycle as ontological entity that have all this different views

Activity metamodel is mentioned in ISO 15926-4 but there is no theory in current activity division of ISO 15926-2,4 and RDL. Activity OIM should be added to RDL in 3 levels:

  • activity metamodel (concepts)
  • activity vocabularies (for different industry and national languages)
  • activity notations (to express data for this metamodel in “native’ neutral notation, not only in “mapped” environments) [currently there no way to have notations in RDL. Before we should have populate RDL with concepts from notational engineering domain, i.e. define notation ontology/metamodel.]

Where we can get core of such a activity model?

  • situational method engineering metamodel (at least this metamodel already combine engineering and management views). E.g. we can start with ISO 24744 metamodel. This way require simply encode it in one of ISO 15926 representations (e.g. prototemplate level). Also we can use proposed ISO 24774 notation for life cycle activities descriptions
  • contemporary CAD “schema”s (metamodels, ontology) — this is very interesting because in CADs already implemented linkage between activity and product models.
  • academic reviews of activity-based metamodels (e.g. works of Tyson Browning about product processes architectures —–SE%20Towards%20a%20PAF.pdf).
  • activity subontology from other ontologies like Process Specification Language, or CYC.
  • organizational ontology from DEMO (
  • lean manufacturing/construction (Goldratt, LastPlanner, factory physics etc.)
  • agent programming paradigm (for activity goals, purposes etc. modeling)
  • populate and elaborate classes of activities and work products and roles with content of

It seems to me that we should not to count agility and collaboration too much. Today we have no knowledge about interactive modeling (i.e. changing of activity metamodel with retaining already developed activity model during reflexive discussion of “what we should to do” in course of life cycle). All proposed in this post is about cooperation (activities chain of many actors), not collaboration (many actors simultaneously planning and doing one activity like in Jazz music performances).


4 Responses to “Activity modeling and ISO 15926”

  1. Kirill Lis Says:

    Should existing open standards (e.g. BPMN 2 for engineering view) be mentioned as the source of activity model core?

  2. Onno Paap Says:

    (11-Dec-2009, Onno Paap)
    I would like to confirm that the described suggestions for developing the Object Information Models of “activities” is exactly how the ISO 15926 teams have envisioned it.

    Refer to the starting “Special Interests Groups” (SIGs) organizational structure we want to set up for this purpose. A start has been made on the POSC Caesar website [1].

    A good start was also made by the class library concerning activities. Many years of work were already spent. A link to the top of the activity branch on the RDL endpoint here [2].

    Like Mr Levenchuk, I want to propose a cooperation to take this further. A project is being defined under the umbrella of Fiatech and POSC Caesar which can be (should be) given a wider basis by introducing other organizations to the table.


    • ailev Says:

      It is very interesting to form special interest group of ontologists that can develop purposeful [people/agents] activity/business process (and method) ontology. But it is difficult: people that already developing activity-related (especially business activity and methods) metamodels/ontologies/schemas is a) not knowing one another and b) not knowing ISO 15926 and believe in it’s value. It will take long time simply to gather right people and urge them to work in this SIG.

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