Large Scale Distributed Information Systems Lab 
Director: Prof. Amit Sheth 
Dept. of Computer Science, University of Georgia 
415 Graduate Studies Research CenterAthens, GA 30602-7404 
Tel. (706) 542-2310 FAX: (706) 542-2966 

Mission Statement and Lab Profile 

Most recent review of LSDIS Lab’s research appears in:
A. Sheth, J. Miller, K. Kochut, and B. Arpinar,
Research in Multi-Organizational Processes and Semantic Information Brokering at the LSDIS Lab, SIGMOD Record,  30(4), December 2001.
Available in: gzipped Postscript,  PDF , Word, html

Two of the most active research projects are:
Semantic Association Discovery (which builds upon research in the Enabling Infocosm Theme), and METEOR-S: Semantic Web Services and Processes, Applying Semantics in Annotation, Quality of Service, Discovery, Composition, Execution (which builds upon the research in the Enterprise Integration theme).  Both projects belong to the emerging area of Semantic Web.

The following overview predates the above.

The Large Scale Distributed Information Systems Lab (LSDIS) at the University of Georgia was established in the Fall of 1994 to perform research and technology development on two complementary themes in distributed information systems: Enabling Infocosm and Enterprise Integration

Enabling Infocosm Theme.   The merging of computers and communications with significant advances in networking infrastructure has made millions of information sources with wide varieties of information accessible. This capability gives us a vision of an information rich society "infocosm", where we expect to have any information any where we want in (m)any form(s) for effective decision making and knowledge-centric activities, improved productivity, and fun. The focus of the work in this area is on creating an infrastructure for managing heterogeneous information and information brokering. Our current work in this theme is the InfoQuilt project, with the associated or past projects ADEPT, InfoHarness/VisualHarness, and VideoAnywhere.

InfoQuilt. This project intends to develop a comprehensive information brokering environment for enabling the Infocosm.  It focuses more on the logical and semantic issues though support for a large variety of metadata (content independent, content descriptive, content dependent), context, user models and ontologies for an environment consisting of heterogeneous data sources.  Current work includes logical metadata correlation of information through Metadata Reference Links (MREFs, as extension to HREFs), media-independent search of heterogeneous media (structured data, text, image, video) repositories, context representation, and support for multiple (possibly preexisting) ontologies.  The InfoQuilt system also intends to prototype a second generation World Wide Web architecture that would be fully distributed, highly scaleable and extensible utilizing agent technology where the information is managed and manipulated at logical and semantic level (rather than physical hypertext link). 

ADEPT [Alexandria Digital Earth Prototype Modeling System]. The ADEPT project is a comprehensive follow-on to the previously funded Alexandria Digital Library Project (ADL). ADEPT aims to use the Digital Earth metaphor for organizing, using, and presenting information at all levels of spatial and temporal resolution. We call the digital environments based on the Earth metaphor Iscapes (Information Landscapes). The research and development activities focus on: (a) creating geospatial information and meta-information collections; (b) building operational services for: discovering heterogeneous, distributed collections; organizing these resources into Iscapes tailored for specific applications; and collaborative use and visualization of Iscapes; (c) applying and evaluating ADEPT services in learning environments; and developing scalable, efficient, and secure systems. This project is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IS IRI-9411330. 

InfoHarness/VisualHarness. InfoHarness supports search and retrieval of heterogeneous information in intranet/Internet environments. The basic InfoHarness system, and the corresponding commercial product Adapt/X Harness from Bellcore, provide access to heterogeneous textual and semi-structured data without restructuring, reformatting and relocating the data.  It also supports logical restructuring of the information space, support for multiple third-party indices and many other features. Research in the joint Bellcore-LSDIS project funded by the Massive Digital Data System initiative addressed several new research issues, including: keyword- as well attribute-based access to data, access to multiple autonomous repositories with independent and heterogeneous indices for scaleable search with associated intelligent merging of results, access to the same repository with multiple indices to improve quality of result, and support for remote severs using CORBA.  VisualHarness system is the InfoHarness system enhanced with Zebra component, which provides customizable and extensible search of federated image repositories, in addition to text and semi-structured data, and structured (relational) databases. Through the comprehensive use of metadata of various types, it supports keyword, attribute-based and content-based search over images. 

VideoAnywhere. This industry-funded project researches the issues related to management of video in embeded (e.g., cable set top) system running a Java Virtual Machine.  It fits into the exciting and fast evolving interactive TV and video application market-place. It involves research in understanding metadata and consumer profile, caching, crawling (using agent technology), etc. 

Enterprise Integration Theme. The interoperability of existing and new information systems within and across enterprises has important implications on its competitiveness. Three important components of a comprehensive approach to enterprise integration are: heterogeneous information integration (also see the next theme), coordination through process/workflow management, and collaboration. Projects supporting this theme are as follows (two of the projects, CaTCH and CareWeb, also support the theme of telemedicine). 

METEOR [Managing End-To-End OpeRations]. The METEOR system focuses on R&D of innovative Multiparadigm Transactional Workflow Management technology. Workflow management techniques and systems developed in this project support coordination of user and automated tasks in real-world multi-enterprise heterogeneous computing environments over Web/Java and CORBA infrastructures. Technical issues involve GUI toolkit for workflow design/monitoring/simulation, automated code generation for distributed workflow application from graphical design, scheduling, EDI, multidatabase access, error/failure handling and recovery (using transactional concepts/techniques) as appropriate, and security. This project is funded through the NIST ATP initiative in Information Infrastructure for Healthcare and involves over 17 companies and R&D institutions.  We also assist our main partner  (Connecticut Hospitals Assoc.) in developing real-world applications.  METEOR software has been tested by our industry partners and can be sublicensed from a small company for commercial applications. METEOR designer has been made available free of charge to instructors conducting advanced graduate courses in this area, and METEOR technology has been licensed for commercialization by a private company. 

Other projects supporting this theme follows: 

CaTCH [Collaborative Teleconsulting for Healthcare]. This project involves integrating multimedia patient data on Intranet, medical reference data on Internet, LAN/POTS/ISDN-based Video+Data  Conferencing, and WWW/Java programming to set up remote environment and context sensitive collaboration. Medical College of Georgia is our primary application partner for this project.  One version of the system is being field trialed. 

CAPA [Course Approval Process Automation] is an operational, production workflow system developed and supported by the LSDIS.  It supports a 30+ step workflow spread over entire UGA campus with potential user-base of 130+ departments and 3500+ faculty and staff members.  It has already been used to support approval of 6000 new courses in a three-month period. 

CareWeb. It is an advanced Web-based system developed in the Georgia's Family Connections program for the Medical College of Georgia to support distance health education and collaboration among patients and healthcare workers. 

Relevant Information on the LSDIS Lab 

The LSDIS lab is directed by Professor Amit Sheth.    The Lab's activities involve active participation of Professors Krys Kochut and John Miller.  Lab’s research funding of approx. $3 million over the last four years.  Students working in the lab frequently do internships in industry during their study, participate in international conferences and are aggressively pursued by potential employers.  Through its collaborations with industry partners, the lab is able to achieve significant technology transfer.  Boeing, MCC, LGERCA and Hewlett Packard Labs have joined the LSDIS Lab as industry sponsor/affiliates.  The lab has extensive interactions with healthcare industry, with recent interactions with manufacturing and consumer electronics industries. 

LSDIS has been a member of Healthcare Open Systems Trials (HOST) , the Object Management Group (OMG) and the Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC).  The LSDIS has been supported by significant product donations (exceeding $400,000 in value) from Informix,  Iona Technologies, Virage, I-Kinetics, Visigenic, PictureTel, Persistence Software, Lucent Technologies, etc. 

LSDIS's computing resources support distributed and collaborative computing, Intra- and Internet environments, wired and wireless LAN communications, and heterogeneous media data and multimedia document creation and management.  It has approx. 40 computers including seven servers, network storage, wireless and wired LAN, and a large variety of latest relevant software products for developing and supporting distributed, Internet-based and multimedia information management software. 

We welcome you to see more up-to-date details (including demonstrations, publications, etc.) at 


 April 21, 2003