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Workshop on Principles of Provenance (PrOPr)

November 19-20, 2007

Edinburgh, Scotland


  • (4/14/08) Workshop materials transferred to wiki
  • (12/14/07) More presentation materials posted
  • (11/28/07) Presentation materials posted
  • (11/12/07) Schedule updated
  • (11/7/07) Tentative schedule
  • (10/18/07) Accepted abstracts posted
  • (10/16/07) Travel & registration information added
  • (10/12/07) Local arrangements information updated
  • (9/12/07) Workshop announcement


Recent research in a variety of settings (databases and data warehouses, geographic information systems, scientific workflows, grid computing, and the Semantic Web) has addressed the problem of keeping track of metadata about creation and modification history, influences, ownership, and other provenance or lineage information. Such metadata is essential for making informed judgments about data quality, integrity, and authenticity. In addition, ideas about provenance are now being used in several areas of computer science such as probabilistic databases, operating systems, file synchronization, and annotation propagation. Other topics, such as version control and archiving, may also benefit from better understanding of provenance. We believe the time is ripe to develop the foundations of the topic and address questions such as:

  • What does it mean for information to be "provenance"? What is and what isn't provenance?
  • What kinds of problems does provenance address, and how does one characterize correct solutions?
  • How does one compare different models of provenance?
  • Why is provenance so hard to get right, even though it seems rather obvious?
  • Where should research efforts be focused to make the best progress?

Following an earlier informal meeting in June at the University of Pennsylvania, we organized this workshop with the goal of bringing together researchers from different backgrounds (including databases, scientific data & workflow management, and programming languages) interested in principles of provenance.

Call for participation

There will be no formal proceedings, but we have posted talk abstracts and slides on the web.

Abstract deadline:October 1, 2007. October 8, 2007 (extended!)
Notification: October 8, 2007. October 15, 2007 (extended!)
Workshop: November 19-20, 2007.


Monday, November 19
8:45-9:00 Welcome and opening remarks
Session 1Provenance in practice
9:00-9:25WASABI (Web Accessible Sequence Analysis for Biological Inference): A data management framework for AFTOL (Assembling the Fungal Tree of Life), Frank Kauff (Universitäat Kaiserslauten), Cymon Cox (Natural History Museum, London, UK), and Francois Lutzoni (Duke University)Slides
9:25-9:50Provenance Tracking in Climate Science Data Processing Systems, Curt Tilmes (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)Slides
10:00-10:30Coffee break
Session 2Provenance and security
10:30-10:55Why provenance needs its own security model, Uri Braun and PASS Team (Harvard) Slides
10:55-11:20Combining Provenance and Security Policies in a Web-based Document Management System, Brian J. Corcoran, Nikhil Swamy, and Michael Hicks (University of Maryland)Slides
11:20-11:45Programming trustworthy provenance, Andrew Cirillo, Radha Jagadeesan, Corin Pitcher, and James Riely (DePaul University)Slides
Session 3 Provenance in information retrieval/Semantic Web
2:00-2:25Provenance in Semantic Web Applications, Sergej Sizov, Bernhard Schueler, and Steffen Staab (University of Koblenz-Landau)Slides
2:25-2:50Towards a social provenance model for the Web, Andreas Harth, Axel Pollres, and Stefan Decker (National University of Ireland, Galway)Slides
2:50-3:15The use of provenance in information retrieval, Simone Stumpf, Erin Fitzhenry, and Thomas G. Dietrich (Oregon State University)Slides
3:30-4:00Coffee break
Session 4Provenance and bidirectional computation
4:00-4:25Model transformations, traceability and provenance, Perdita Stevens, University of EdinburghSlides
4:25-4:50Synchronising Diversely Implemented Databases to Support Administration of Clinical Research, Stuart Anderson, Mark Hartswood, Conrad Hughes (presenting), University of EdinburghSlides
7:30Workshop dinner
Tuesday, November 20
Session 5
9:00-9:50The Open Provenance Model, Luc Moreau (University of Southampton), Juliana Freire (University of Utah), Jim Myers, Joe Futrelle (NCSA), and Patrick Paulson (PNNL)Slides
10:00-10:30Coffee break
Session 6Provenance in databases
10:30-10:55 On the expressiveness of implicit provenance in query and update languages, Stijn Vansummeren (Hasselt University and Transnational University of Limburg) Slides
10:55-11:20Data Provenance in ETL Scenarios, Timos Sellis, Dimitris Skoutas (National Technical University of Athens), Alkis Simitsis (IBM Almaden), and Panos Vassiliadis (University of Ioannina)Slides
11:20-11:45A formal model for dataflows, runs of dataflows, and provenance within runs, Natalia Kwasnikowska and Jan Van den Bussche (Hasselt University and Transnational University of Limburg)Slides
11:45-12:10Bonus talk: Provenance semirings, Val TannenSlides
12:15-12:30Next steps and closing remarks
12:30Lunch/end of workshop


There is no registration fee. However, registration is appreciated so that we can plan appropriately for coffee/tea breaks and possibly organize a workshop dinner. Please contact James Cheney (jcheney at inf dot ed dot ac dot uk) to indicate that you will attend.

Local Arrangements

Traveling to Edinburgh

By air. Edinburgh International Airport (EDI) is the most convenient way to get to Edinburgh by air. There is a frequent and relatively inexpensive (£5 round-trip) express bus that runs between central Edinburgh (where the workshop venue and most of the suggested places to stay are) and the airport.

Glasgow Airport (GLA) is not very far away but public transportation connections are not very good to Edinburgh from Glasgow airport (there is no direct rail link).

By rail. If traveling to Edinburgh by rail, depending on where you are staying either Waverley or Haymarket station should put you within 10-15 minutes' walking distance of the conference venue or hotel.

Venue and Accommodation

The workshop will take place in Edinburgh at the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences on 19-20 November. ICMS is in downtown Edinburgh, in the New Town, and is within walking distance of several hotels or B&Bs. The ICMS web site has maps and travel information, and accommodation information that may be helpful for workshop participants.

Workshop Organizers

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