Moreau, Luc, Kwasnikowska, Natalia and Van den Bussche, Jan
The Foundations of the Open Provenance Model.
The Open Provenance Model (OPM) is a community-driven data model for Provenance that is designed to support inter-operability of provenance technology. Underpinning OPM, is a notion of directed acyclic graph, used to represent data products and processes involved in past computations, and causal dependencies between these. The Open Provenance Model was derived following two ``Provenance Challenges'', international, multi-disciplinary activities trying to investigate how to exchange information between multiple systems supporting provenance and how to query it. The OPM design was mostly driven by practical and pragmatic considerations, and is being tested in a third Provenance Challenge, which has just started. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the theoretical foundations of this data model. The formalisation consists of a set-theoretic definition of the data model, a definition of the inferences by transitive closure that are permitted, a formal description of how the model can be used to express dependencies in past computations, and finally, a description of the kind of time-based inferences that are supported. A novel element that OPM introduces is the concept of an account, by which multiple descriptions of a same execution are allowed to co-exist in a same graph. Our formalisation gives a precise meaning to such accounts and associated notions of alternate and refinement.
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