Working Paper. Version of Dec. 9, 2005.

An Overview of Some Use Cases for Semantic Web Rule Interchange

Benjamin Grosof

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sloan School of Management
50 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA;

NB: This short paper is to be posted on Dec. 9, 2005 to the author's webpage and (as a URL link) to, the public mailing list of the W3C Rule Interchange Format Working Group.

I, with collaborators, have done a number of use cases about semantically interoperable rules over the web, in publications since 1999.

A good starting place is our recent paper [1]. This has some overall summary-level discussion and links to several application scenarios, i.e., use cases, some shorter and some longer. A particularly interesting use case there is about merchant credit card authorization [2]. This one is interesting because it briefly illustrates why, and shows how, to merge authorization policies of a merchant with authorization policies of a bank/issuer. For brevity's sake, the above examples do not directly use URI names for the predicates. Nor do they use procedural attachments for actions or tests/queries. The above examples also do not use markup syntax, but rather for readability use the ASCII presentation syntax of RuleML/SWSL. However, those aspects can easily added to the examples. Some of our other detailed examples in [4][5][6] do use URI names, the markup syntax of RuleML/SWSL, and/or procedural attachments for actions and tests.

Many of our use cases are part of a line of work about the SweetDeal approach that has pioneered (semantic, web) rule-based e-contracting [3][4][5]. [3] gives a requirements analysis for rule interchange, motivated largely by e-contracting. E-contracting requires dynamic interchange with well-understood semantics for the contract content which in our approach is specified via rules. [6] gives a detailed e-commerce CRM use case, including action. [4] pioneered use of URI ontological references from rules and motivated the development of the Description Logic Programs approach. [5] refines that approach, illusrates using that approach, and goes on to represent also object-oriented (OO) style ontology with default inheritance. (Note that [5] is more recent even than [1].)

The example of such OO ontology in [5] is simple; much more along that line has been done in our other work on Courteous Inheritance and the SweetPH translation of the MIT Process Handbook structured knowledge into declarative rules in RuleML. However, that's not our main focus here.


[1] "Rule-based Policies across Multiple E-Services Tasks, using Courteous Logic Programs in RuleML, SWSL, and SweetRules". B. Grosof, C. Neogy, S. Ganjugunte. Version of July 29, 2005.

[2] Merchant credit card authorization example of [1]:

[3] "A Declarative Approach to Business Rules in Contracts". B. Grosof, J.K. Labrou, and H.Y. Chan. Proc. 1st ACM Conf. on E-Commerce, 1999. Also available at:

[4] "SweetDeal: Representing Agent Contracts with Exceptions using Semantic Web Rules, Ontologies, and Process Descriptions". B.N. Grosof and T.C. Poon. International Journal of Electronic Commerce (IJEC), 8(4):61-98, Summer 2004. Also available at:

[5] "Extending the SweetDeal Approach for E-Procurement using SweetRules and RuleML". S. Bhansali and B. Grosof. Proc. International Conference on Rules and Rule Markup Languages (RuleML-2005). Also available at:

[6] "Representing E-Commerce Rules Via Situated Courteous Logic Programs in RuleML". B.N. Grosof. Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, 3:1, 2004, 2-20. Preprint version is also available at: