Semantic unification, in philosophy, linguistics, and computer science, is the process of unifying lexically different concept representations that are judged to have the same semantic content (i.e., meaning). In business processes, the conceptual Semantic unification is defined as “the mapping of two expressions onto an expression in an exchange format which is equivalent to the given expression”. Semantic unification has a long history in fields like philosophy and linguistics. In computer science it has been used in different research areas like grammar unification, and Prolog extensions.
Semantic unification has since been applied to the fields of business processes and workflow management. In the earliest 90’s Charles Petri at Stanford University introduced the term of semantic unification for business models, later references could be found in and later formalized in Dr. Bendeck PhD thesis. Petri introduced the term “Pragmatic Semantic Unification” to refer to the approaches in which the results are tested against a running application using the semantic mappings. In this pragmatic approach, the accuracy of the mapping is not as important as its usability.
In general, the Semantic Unification in business processes is the process to find a common unified concept that match two lexicalized expressions into the same interpretation.
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- Fawsy Bendeck, WSM-P Workflow Semantic Matching Platform, PhD Thesis, Business Computer Information System, University of Trier, Germany, 2008.
- Petrie, C. (2005). "Pragmatic Semantic Unification". IEEE Internet Computing 9 (5): 96–61. doi:10.1109/MIC.2005.107.