Interoperability standards events set for March 13-17

Too many software standards can be just as bad as no standards at all, especially if those standards don't address the issue of "interoperability," the ability to communicate across different formats. That's the concern of National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) experts who worry that incompatible standards can have the same effect as proprietary software in impeding data exchange between researchers or industrial partners. To help address the issue, NIST has organized an "interoperability week" March 13-17 on its Gaithersburg, Md., campus, as a venue for a variety of independent workshops, each addressing some aspect of interoperability.

Workshop participants will discuss interoperability or harmonization prospects for (1) XML standards used in electronic commerce to exchange supply chain data information, quotes and contract requirements; (2) Open Information and Communication Technology (ICT) standards used in the global economy for manufacturing engineering and health care data records; (3) sensor standards used in rescue efforts or to detect biological, radiological, chemical or nuclear threats; (4) advanced semantic languages (also called "upper ontologies") used in fields such as biomedical research and computer guided manufacturing processes; and (5) knowledge representation and archival methods designed to allow future researchers to access digital data perhaps hundreds of years from now.

A "collaboration expedition workshop" for federal officials, IT researchers and developers will review emerging information technologies under the Government's "Federal Enterprise Architecture" and e-government initiatives as well as offer suggestions on how focus groups on specific standards can be formed. A subsequent XML Community of Practice meeting during the week will offer participants an example of how organizations and individuals with common interests share information and leverage activities to achieve interoperability objectives. Interoperability speakers at the March 14 plenary session will include private-sector representatives and congressional policy officials.


The agenda of "Interoperability Week at NIST March 13-17 is available at

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
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