Collaboration at its best
AIMS5.0 is one of those projects where major findings from other research initiatives are taken to the next level, thus bringing them to life. The subject in question is a Digital Reference (DR), a holistic ontology for supply chains in the field of semiconductor. Its characteristics in turn, represent the self-image of the complete AIMS5.0 project as an intelligent collaboration between partners and other projects, for mutual benefit and growth.
The Semantic Web model will help to clearly interpret and exchange countless information and data in a complex supply chain. This way, ambitious goals in fields like quality management or sustainability can easily be achieved in a new manner. In AIMS5.0, DR and other ontologies are subject to WP4, based on the idea that in the area of the Internet of things (IoT) ontology creates a language that is understood by humans and computers alike with the aim of smooth interaction throughout the entire supply chain.
A targeted open access platform shall improve a comprehensive data exchange, and the DR stems from the previous digitalisation project Productive4.0 forming the backbone for the intended platform. Moreover, AIMS5.0 benefits from the relevant research work in the following smaller but highly specialised project SC³, which exclusively focused on DR and ontology and created the further elaborated theoretical foundation for various industrial use cases in AIMS5.0.
With ontology extended to a vital open network, the results of SC³ are now implemented on a large industrial scale. The network comprising all partners and entities including machines and even sensors opens a new chapter in terms of size and comprehensiveness. In general, the approach to work with ontology in the field of IT already dates back to years ago, but with its fundamental perfection in SC³ it is taken from its starting block to a level where the use cases make it learn to run.
Components and their relationships
To catch the idea of the specific subject of ontology, here some basic info: An ontology is a formal description of knowledge as a set of concepts that include the relationships among them. It is based on a formal specification of components such as individuals, classes, attributes and relations as well as restrictions or rules. It defines a common vocabulary for a specific domain and includes machine-interpretable definitions of concepts with the relations among them. Overall, ontologies introduce a sharable and reusable knowledge representation, and they can add new knowledge about the domain.
Transparency and shared knowledge
With regard to the use cases in AIMS5.0, the basic concept of DR/ontology is taken from SC³ and extended concerning the relevant issue. In the case of sustainability including its CO2 relevant energy consumption, for instance, all partners involved upload their measured info; and the complex international semiconductor supply chain with lots of energy consuming machines creates an enormous mass of these data points. The DR/ontology enables to structure, classify and process all these data points. This is the basis for the next step where partners can exchange and share certain data, for example when it comes to analyse further potentials in energy saving. In the end, suppliers, producers and customers have a clear picture of how “green” a produced chip is.
Workshop for all partners
During a recent workshop, Infineon’s Hans Ehm team - leader of WP4 – introduced AIMS5.0 partners to the techniques in handling DR and ontology, followed by a brainstorming and the exchange of experience in the field. “Besides sustainability, one of the other fields of practice was quality management,” a team member says, explaining the procedure. “We asked a partner to draw in power point how his data points are related to each other. A customer complaint, for example, has a customer number, his name, a complaint type and a time stamp. Then we started to draw the system of data point interrelations in an ontology file, with its typical OWL format (Web Ontology Language). To be concise, we call this procedure “DrOWLing” – a coinage of drawing and OWL. The resulting mind map, transferred into an ontology, is then a standardised “illustration”, and even machine readable.” As an exercise, first timers and those with little knowledge about ontology had the chance to create their individual DrOWLing, which will later be converted into an ontology.
Passing on the fire for new horizons
The described result is a perfect foundation for exchanging, analysing and finding new ways to optimise systems and procedures with regard to the use cases and the overall goals of AIMS5.0. The further development of the SC³ results in the project already prepare the way for a follow-up in the project SC4EU. With respect to a superordinate level, the whole approach with transparent information in a common mind-set stands for AIMS5.0 as a driving force in a collaborative network, much like a beacon passing on the fire for new horizons.