ERCIM News No.27 - October 1996

COBRA ­p; Common Open Brokerage Architecture

by Christoph Thomas

Overall responsibility for the work package 'Technical Development' of the COBRA project (Common Open BRokerage Architecture) was taken by the Institute for Applied Information Technology of GMD in July 1996. This project brings partners from Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom together in a major European effort to design, implement, validate, and promote an open architecture for information brokerage and distribution. COBRA is funded by the programme Advanced Communications Technologies and Services (ACTS) of the European Union.

As the basis for activities to validate and to promote standards for a Common Open Brokerage Architecture, the COBRA project will implement a distributed information brokerage service incorporating electronic trading and secure communications facilities to open standards. The technical development will be carried out mainly by Octacon Ltd. (United Kingdom) and the Institute for Applied Information Technology of GMD. Using the World Wide Web as the main communication infrastructure, it will integrate and evolve three principal technologies:
It is expected that a prototype brokerage service will be ready for pilot use by pioneer groups in the four field trials in the fourth quarter of 1997. As a result of tests under real world conditions by the pioneer groups, refinements and modifications will be implemented by mid-1998, when four large-scale field trials will be launched to validate the architecture:
'Validation' in this project will go well beyond the mere technical functioning: the pilots are intended to reach a commercial service stage in order to allow a real market assessment of the economic and business models underlying the standards.

Please contact:
Christoph Thomas - GMD
Tel: +49 2241 14 2640

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