Mark S. Fox

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Mark S. Fox (born 1952) is a Canadian computer scientist and Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto, known for the development of Constraint Directed Scheduling in the 1980s and the TOVE Project to develop an ontological framework for enterprise modeling and enterprise integration in the 1990s.


  • There is a paradigm shift towards a distributed and integrated enterprise. Currently, computer systems that support enterprise functions were created independently. This hampers enterprise integration Therefore, there is a need for a computer based data model which provides a shared and well defined terminology of an enterprise, and has the capability to deductively answer common sense questions.
    This paper discusses how TOVE tackles these needs by defining a framework for modeling generic level representations such as activities, time, and resources. Since there has never been a well-defined set of criteria to evaluate such models, this paper also introduces a set of evaluation criteria which may be used to evaluate modelling efforts.

Methodology for the Design and Evaluation of Ontologies (1995)[edit]

Michael Grüninger and Mark S. Fox (1995) "Methodology for the Design and Evaluation of Ontologies."

  • As information systems play a more active role in the management and operations of an enterprise, the demands on these systems have also increased. Departing from their traditional role as simple repositories of data, information systems must now provide more sophisticated support to manual and automated decision making; they must not only answer queries with what is explicitly represented in their Enterprise Model, but must be able to answer queries with what is implied by the model. The goal of the TOVE Enterprise Modelling project is to create the next generation Enterprise Model, a Common Sense Enterprise Model. By common sense we mean that an Enterprise Model has the ability to deduce answers to queries that require relatively shallow knowledge of the domain.
    • p. 1: Introduction
  • In enterprise modelling, we want to define the actions performed within an enterprise, and define constraints for plans and schedules which are constructed to satisfy the goals of the enterprise. This leads to the following set of informal competency questions:
    • Temporal projection - Given a set of actions that occur at different points in the future, what are the properties of resources and activities at arbitrary points in time?
    • Planning and scheduling - what sequence of activities must be completed to achieve some goal? At what times must these activities be initiated and terminated?
    • Execution monitoring and external events - What are the effects of the occurrence of external and unexpected events (such as machine breakdown or the unavailability of resources) on a plan or schedule?
    • Time-based competition - we want to design an enterprise that minimizes the cycle time for a product. This is essentially the task of finding a minimum duration plan that minimizes action occurrences and maximizes concurrency of activities.
    • p. 3-4

An Organization Ontology for Enterprise Modelling (1997)[edit]

Mark S. Fox, Mihai Barbuceanu, Michael Gruninger, and Jinxin Lin (1997) "An Organization Ontology for Enterprise Modelling" in: Simulating Organizations: Computational Models of Institutions and Groups, M. Prietula, K. Carley & L. Gasser (Eds), Menlo Park CA: AAAI/MIT Press, pp. 131-152.

  • We consider an organization to be a set of constraints on the activities performed by agents. This view follows that of Weber, who views the process of bureaucratization as a shift from management based on self-interest and personalities to one based on rules and procedures.
    Mintzberg [1983] provides an early (and informal) analysis of organization structure distinguishing among five basic parts of an organization and five distinct organization configurations that are encountered in practice. This “ontology” includes several mechanisms that together achieve coordination, like goals, work processes, authority, positions and communication. The various parts of an organization are distinguished by the specific roles they play in achieving coordination with the above means.
    The “language/action perspective” (Winograd 1987) on cooperative work in organizations provides an ontology that emphasizes the social activity by which “agents” generate the space of cooperative actions in which they work, rather than the mental state of individuals. The basic idea is that social activity is carried out by language and communication.
    • p. 2-3

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