A Personal Agent Architecture for Task Automation in the Web of Data. Bringing intelligence to everyday tasks

Miguel Coronado. (2016). A Personal Agent Architecture for Task Automation in the Web of Data. Bringing intelligence to everyday tasks. Tesis doctoral. Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, ETSI Telecomunicación.

The new stage in the evolution of the Web (the Live Web or Evented Web) puts lots of social datastreams at the service of users, who no longer browse static webpages but interact with applications that present them contextual and relevant experiences. Given that each user is a potential source of events, a typical user often gets overwhelmed. To deal with that huge amount of data, multiple automation tools have emerged, covering from simple social media managers or notification aggregators to complex CRMs or smart-home Hub/Apps. As a downside, they cannot tailor to the needs of every single user. As a natural response to this downside, Task Automation Services broke in the Internet. They may be seen as a new model of mashup technology for combining social streams, services and connected devices from an end-user perspective: end-users are empowered to connect those stream however they want, designing the automations they need. The numbers of those platforms that appeared early on shot up, and as a consequence the amount of platforms following this approach is growing fast. Being a novel field, this thesis aims to shed light on it, presenting and exemplifying the main characteristics of Task Automation Services, describing their components, and identifying several dimensions to classify them. This thesis coins the term Task Automation Services (TAS) by providing a formal definition of them, their components (called channels), as well a TAS reference architecture. There is also a lack of tools for describing automation services and automations rules. In this regard, this thesis proposes a theoretical common model of TAS and formalizes it as the EWE ontology This model enables to compare channels and automations from different TASs, which has a high impact in interoperability; and enhances automations providing a mechanism to reason over external sources such as Linked Open Data. Based on this model, a dataset of components of TAS was built, harvesting data from the web sites of actual TASs. Going a step further towards this common model, an algorithm for categorizing them was designed, enabling their discovery across different TAS. Thus, the main contributions of the thesis are: i) surveying the state of the art on task automation and coining the term Task Automation Service; ii) providing a semantic common model for describing TAS components and automations; iii) populating a categorized dataset of TAS components, used to learn ontologies of particular domains from the TAS perspective; and iv) designing a agent architecture for assisting users in setting up automations, that is aware of their context and acts in consequence.