Professor Albert M. K. Cheng
University of Houston and Rice University, U.S.A
E-commerce and its Real-Time Requirements (Modelling E-commerce as a Real-Time System)
E-commerce is a product of the Internet, often known as the fourth information revolution (following writing in Mesopotamia 5000 years ago, the written book in China 3300 years ago, and Gutenberg's printing in 1455). The keynote will address the e-commerce revolution and its requirements. Instead of the traditional bipartite business supply chains linking suppliers and customers, e-supply chains connect suppliers and consumers alike directly to an on-line market place using the Internet, forming a ``star'' Internet/Web-centric commerce system. This effectively shifts the balance of power from vendors to consumers, making the need for responsive and adaptive just-in-time business models more critical.
The current state of e-commerce is fuelled by a massive number of developments in industry, government, and academia. Some of these efforts are complementary while others are divergent. This talk will discuss the technical requirements of e-commerce, such as integration, interoperability, scalability, reliability, accessibility, timeliness, and security. In particular, the presentation will show how e-commerce can often be modelled by a real-time system and hence solutions to these requirements can be more readily formulated. A real-time system must guarantee (1) the on-time delivery of results (on-time delivery of products and services to customers in e-commerce); (2) the secure delivery of these results (secure transactions in e-commerce); adaptive execution (feedback and updates in customer relations in e-commerce); and (3) fault-tolerant execution (reliable and accessible 24-hour e-commerce).