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The OMG standards body is looking at a Decision Model and Notation which could support/supplement the Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) standard, provide the content for the "business rule task", and provide a common standard for decision tables, trees etc as represented in decision management tools.

Now, PMML *already* provides some of these models, albeit as output from predictive modeling tools that can then be used in automated decision services. Predictive models are not the sames as (UML) software models, but in practice many vendors do use things like business object models with a close association to UML and similar constructs.

A question: is this of interest to the PMML community, and if so how can this best be realized?

Paul Vincent

Disclosures: we at TIBCO do predictive models (via Spotfire S+/Miner) and rule execution (via BusinessEvents). But not PMML at this point in time...

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Hi Paul, I am not sure I understand your question fully.

a. I am not very familiar with BPMN but I know it to be XML-based and so if OMG is looking for a way to represent trees, decision tables, and alike, probably PMML (which is also XML-based) could be of benefit to the BPMN community.

b. On the other hand, PMML could probably also benefit from having predictive models embedded into a broader business process/perspective. Most of our deployments of PMML models are part of a business process and so I can see how a bridge could be made between both standards.

Does your question relate to a or b? Thanks!

Hi Alex: apologies for any obtuseness! Let me try and explain myself better:

1. PMML (AFAIK) is used to represent predictive models (of various types, including decision trees) that are output from analytics tools and for input into "model consumers" - which can include rule engines and the such like.

2. Much business process automation is done via automating such processes modelled in BPMN models (currently stored in XPDL from WfMC, but in the latest BPMN v2 it includes its own XML format). Business decisions are usually represented as "process activities" and can include simple if-then business decisions defined as production or simple rules, through to decision trees that are defined via predictive models and represented in decision models such as decision tables. Indeed, decision tables seem to be the most common representation of such decision points.

3. DMN is a proposal to provide a common decision metamodel, as well as unified notation(s), to accompany BPMN. Clearly one source of such decision models could be PMML. However, PMML's use today seems restricted to the analytics (as opposed to business process) software community. It might be that DMN could be used to bridge between the PMML model and the BPM community.

4. Note that the main audience for DMN would be decision management tools like BRMS tools. The fact that such decisions can be mapped from PMML (in some way) may be viewed as sufficient. Alternatively there may be some interest in representing PMML as a UML metamodel as a part of DMN for easier transformations into business processes. I don't know as I am not a DMG member.

5. Note that DMN is just a concept at this point in time. We know we have a special "business rule" task in BPMN2. We know some of us would like a compatible standard for decision tables etc. On the other hand the concept of "decision" is very broad (indeed, like "process"). We shall see!

In summary, both your points a and b are valid. I suspect a. is unlikely directly as PMML has a different / unique data model. b. is a good motivation for DMG/PMML involvement, but I have no idea as to the roadmap for PMML or whether it is truly a standard of the future, or of the past, in this regard. I look forward to your views!


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