Software Agent Technology

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Shahram Rahimi
Raheel Ahmad

Abstract

Software agent technology is an exciting paradigm which can be efficiently applied to many distributed computing problems, particularly those that require dynamic behavior to reach a solution. Software agent technology has emerged as an enhancement of, if not an alternative to, the traditional client/server model in such an environment. Mobile agents can migrate to a desired remote peer and take advantage of local processing rather then relying on remote procedure calls (RPC) across the network, as in the case of client/server systems. Also, agents are entities which function continuously and autonomously in a particular environment, and are able to carry out activities in a flexible and intelligent manner that is responsive to the dynamically changing environment. Ideally, an agent that functions continuously would be able to learn from experience and have capabilities to adapt to ad-hoc events and apply suitable functionality depending on the circumstances. Employment of the agent technology in the traditional client-server environments could result in more robust, flexible and better performing solutions for many applications.

In this special issue, we have collected five cutting edge research papers which are the extended versions of a selected group of the papers already published in Intelligent Agent Systems 2005 (IAS 05) special track at the 18th International FLAIRS Conference. The first paper, Agents Go Traveling, by D. O'Kane, D. Marsh, S. Shen, R. Tynan and G. M. P. O'Hare, is concerned with the infrastructure support for nomadic agents. The authors have introduced the Agent Travel Metaphor (ATM) which offers a metaphor fostering integration of control and security. The second paper is entitled Exploiting Shared Ontologies with Default Information for Web Agents, by Y. Ma, B. Jin and M. Zhou. This paper uses distributed description logic (DDL) to model the mappings between ontologies used by different agents and further makes an extension to the DDL model. A WS-Agreement Based Resource Negotiation Framework for Mobile Agents is the title of the third paper by D. G. A. Mobach, B. J. Overeinder, and F. M. T Brazier. This paper presents a negotiation infrastructure with which agents acquire time-limited resource contracts through negotiation with one or more mediators instead of individual hosting systems. The fourth paper, Agent Composition via Role-Based Infrastructures, by G. Cabri, proposes to build infrastructures based on roles, which are abstractions that enable the composition of different agents in an open scenario. Finally the last paper, unlike the first four papers, presents an application of software agents for support of student mobility. This paper is authored by M. Ganzha, W. Kuranowski and M. Paprzycki.

We have tried our best to present quality works in this special issue and certainly hope that we have achieved this goal.

Shahram Rahimi,
Raheel Ahmad

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Section
Introduction to the Special Issue