Languages and methods
PROforma is a declarative and object-oriented process and agent modelling language for designing and decision support and process management applications. It is a first-order logic formalism extended to support decision making and plan execution. It borrows ideas from formal specification languages (as that term is used in software engineering) and knowledge representation language (as understood in AI). Work on PROforma attracted the 20th Anniversary Gold Medal of the European Federation of Medical Informatics in Copenhagen in 1996.
PROforma is used in the Tallis application development tools and OpenClinical.net platform (see below) and is the implementation language for CREDO, MATE and other COSSAC medical projects. It is also the process representation language of Arezzo®, a commercial decision support platform which has been used to deliver a number of successful clinical applications (www.infermed.com), and a multi-agent development platform HECASE2 (Isern and Moreno, 2008).
The language, Arezzo(R) and illustrative applications are comprehensively described by John Fox and Subrata Das in their book, Safe and Sound: Artificial Intelligence in Hazardous Applications, AAAI and MIT Press, 2000. See http://www.openclinical.org/gmm_proforma.html for information about clinical applications in use and in development.
Argument Interchange Format
Following a proposal by members of COSSAC the AIF (Argument Interchange Format) was originally developed in a collaboration between the EU-funded ASPIC and AgentLink projects in 2005. It was developed as a standard format to support communication between Argumentation tools (e.g. ArgKIT components) or communication in Multi-Agent Systems. The standard started life as a skeleton for contributions from participants in a Technical Forum convened by ASPIC in Budapest in September 2006 (Wilmott et al 2006). The results were subsequentely improved and added to by online discussion to form a more substantial proposal that was published in the Knowledge Engineering Review (Rahwad et al 2007).
Software, application development tools
The Tallis toolset, originally developed by the Advanced Computation Laboratory at Cancer Research UK, is a suite of software tools to support authoring, publishing and enacting of clinical knowledge applications over the web. It includes "Composer", a graphical editor that supports the authoring process and generates process models in the PROforma language. PROforma applications are checked automatically for syntactic correctness and logical consistency and valid applications can be tested in the built-in Tester or published to a repository which enables use of the clinical application over the web using the Tallis enacment service. Tallis uses the PROforma language for modelling clinical processes. A specification language that provides an expressive but precise formalism for capturing medical expertise.
REACT (Risk, Events, Actions and their Consequences over Time
REACT is a technology for assisting in the creation and enactment of complex plans. The REACT user interface supports a planner by providing immediate feedback based on constraints, interactions, and dependencies between events and actions over time. It dynamically shows “what if” scenarios in terms of quantitative outcome measures, and presents the arguments for and against possible actions together with their justifications. It has been primarily developed for and used in medical applications but is intended as a general purpose scheduling and planning tool.
Services and platforms
OpenClinical.net is a software platform and infrastructure for designing and web-deploying decision support, workflow and other clinical services. The OpenClinical.net web site builds on the success and visibility of the OpenClinical information service and portal we established some years ago (www.openclinical.org) by providing a suite of tools and services to support research and development on decision support and knowledge management in clinical practice. Currently available resources limit the use of the OpenClinical platform and application repository to research use but the software suite is fairly complete and available for use in collaborative projects.