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USENIX Symposium on Internet Technologies and Systems, 1997

RainMan: A Workflow System for the Internet

Santanu Paul, Edwin Park, and Jarir Chaar
IBM T.J. Watson Research Center


As individuals and enterprises get interconnected via global networks, workflows that scale beyond traditional organizational boundaries and execute seamlessly across these networks will become relevant. We address the problem of designing a scalable workflow infrastructure for the Internet that supports both flexibility in workflow participation and interoperability between heterogeneous workflow system components.

RainMan is a distributed workflow system developed in Java that lives naturally on the Internet. RainMan is a loosely-coupled collection of independent services that cooperate with each other rather than a monolithic system. Some of the useful features of RainMan are browser-based workflow specification, participation, and management, and dynamic workflow modification. The RainMan system is based on RainMaker, our generic workflow framework that defines a core set of well-defined interfaces for workflow components.

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