A framework for the development of personalized, distributed web-based configuration systems
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For the last two decades, configuration systems relying on AI techniques have successfully been applied in industrial environments. These systems support the configuration of complex products and services in shorter time with fewer errors and, therefore, reduce the costs of a mass-customization business model. The European Union-funded project entitled CUSTOMER-ADAPTIVE WEB INTERFACE FOR THE CONFIGURATION OF PRODUCTS AND SERVICES WITH MULTIPLE SUPPLIERS (CAWICOMS) aims at the next generation of web-based configuration applications that cope with two challenges of today's open, networked economy: (1) the support for heterogeneous user groups in an open-market environment and (2) the integration of configurable subproducts provided by specialized suppliers. This article describes the CAWICOMS WORKBENCH for the development of configuration services, offering personalized user interaction as well as distributed configuration of products and services in a supply chain. The developed tools and techniques rely on a harmonized knowledge representation and knowledge-acquisition mechanism, open XMLbased protocols, and advanced personalization and distributed reasoning techniques. We exploited the workbench based on the real-world business scenario of distributed configuration of services in the domain of information processing-based virtual private networks.