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Subject: Re: [soa-rm-ra] point of action

I hope no one is surprised if I quibble with this particular 
definition, which comes close, in my opinion, but fall just short of 
the mark. I take exception with the choice of using the concept of 
force per se, though I do understand and agree with the requirement 
of making "action" transitive. I would apply a small bit of mental 
jiu jitsu on this definition, thus:

Action: the application of 'intent' to achieve an effect by an agent 
on an object.

Thus, the application of "intent" applies equally well to choosing to 
do "nothing" and allow inertia/momentum to achieve an effect, or to 
require action by some other agent to achieve, prevent or allow an 
effect. In the study of heuristics, one of the least well explored 
results is exactly this, the intentional refusal to act per se, 
which, I contend, constitutes a decision, which is, in and of itself, 
an action at a choice-point branching of a decision-tree.

BTW, this answers the last question below: Yes! and full 
responsibility or culpability applies. Needless to say, this is 
utterly critical to security. Choose not to apply a patch in time, 
and you are caught holding the hot potato if bad things happen to 
good systems.


At 7:55 AM -0400 8/17/06, Ken Laskey wrote:
>Some comments from Frank that didn't get back to the list:
>  The POA *is* the action as it is applied.
>  If the service is the glove, the POA is the iron fist:)
>  Different people have different definitions of action, (try 
>define:action in google). None of these definitions is all that 
>satisfactory to me.
>  My definition is adapted from John Sowa:
>Action: the application of force by an agent on an object with the 
>intention of achieving an effect.
>  I.e., its a kind of event. The POA is a characterization of that 
>event. (One reason I like this definition is that is includes all 
>human actions but excludes rocks rolling down the hill hitting other 
>  The service interface is the characterization of what it means to 
>perform an action. It is not the action itself though.
>  Hope that this throws a little light on the matter.
>Per Danny's response, I think he caught my question well with the 
>final line of his response below:
>>One question
>>we can ask is can we identify a point of action
>>meaningful to the reference architecture that would
>>not have a service interface?
>On Aug 17, 2006, at 1:55 AM, Danny Thornton wrote:
>>To draw another analogy for the point of action, I
>>know your mind will be the point of action for
>>processing this e-mail as you read the e-mail.  The
>>e-mail address and the english language is like a
>>service interface.
>>The SOA has many points of action, each point of
>>action potentially affecting many other points of
>>action.  We can identify points of action in a SOA
>>relevant to the reference architecture.  One question
>>we can ask is can we identify a point of action
>>meaningful to the reference architecture that would
>>not have a service interface?
>>--- Ken Laskey <<mailto:klaskey@mitre.org>klaskey@mitre.org> wrote:
>>>The following are from my notes at the ftf
>>>Point of Action (poa)
>>>-       Frank: anchoring mechanism for numerous
>>>things, e.g. policy
>>>enforcement, evaluating needs & capabilities
>>>-       Ken: how does poa relate to service
>>>interface?  Frank:
>>>service interface includes actions you can perform;
>>>each instance of
>>>use consists of performing action; actual action is
>>>poa; interface
>>>vs. poa is class vs. instance relationship; the
>>>physical action is
>>>the point of action
>>>-       [Ken] Given a policy is a desire of one
>>>participant and an
>>>agreement as part of the execution context for
>>>participants to abide
>>>by that policy (i.e. the other participant(s) agree
>>>to make that
>>>policy theirs), the policy enforcement point becomes
>>>the point of
>>>action for enforcing the agreed-upon policy.
>>>-       [Frank alternative] A policy is a constraint
>>>that represents
>>>the desire of a participant. A contract is a
>>>constraint that
>>>represents the agreed desires of two or more
>>>participants. A [policy]
>>>enforcement point is the point of action for
>>>enforcing constraints
>>>that represent either policies or contracts.
>>>I've reread this and am still having problems
>>>differentiating between
>>>service interface and point of action.  It appears
>>>that poa is more
>>>general because it is the location to which a user
>>>would send a
>>>command for action.  If the receiver is a service,
>>>then the poa would
>>>seem to be the service interface.  In the policy
>>>example, if the
>>>enforcement mechanism is accessed through a service,
>>>the PEP could be
>>>said to have a service interface.
>>>I still seem to be missing something.
>>>Ken Laskey
>>>MITRE Corporation, M/S H305     phone:  703-983-7934
>>>7515 Colshire Drive                        fax:
>>>   703-983-1379
>>>McLean VA 22102-7508
>>Do You Yahoo!?
>>Tired of spam?  Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
>Ken Laskey
>MITRE Corporation, M/S H305     phone:  703-983-7934
>7515 Colshire Drive                        fax:        703-983-1379
>McLean VA 22102-7508

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