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PLANGENT: an approach to making mobile agents intelligent

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5 Author(s)
Ohsuga, A. ; Toshiba Corp., Tokyo, Japan ; Nagai, Y. ; Irie, Y. ; Hattori, M.
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Network environments give computer users the option of employing distributed information and services to complete a task. However, gathering information and using services distributed in networks requires knowing exactly what kinds of information and services are required for a task, where they are, and how they can be obtained or utilized. Tracking down the answers to these questions can be difficult, time consuming tasks for users. Mobile agent technology is expected to release them from having to do so. Instead, “intelligent” mobile agents will comprehend the user's requirements, search network nodes autonomously for appropriate information and services, and return with the answers. But several problems must be solved before we can expect agents to perform such actions effectively. We focus on the question of intelligence as a prerequisite for agent functions. What sort of intelligence is expected of agents? We have adopted a model based on the ability to make flexible plans. Specifically, we think mobile agents must be able to: understand user requirements; plan actions that will satisfy the requirements act according to the plan; modify the plan according to actual conditions when they differ from those initially expected; and execute the modified plan. We have implemented these functions in the Plangent system and validated their effectiveness in several example applications. We describe how we combined these planning functions with mobile agent facilities, and show how the agents behave intelligently in an example application of personal travel assistance

Published in:

Internet Computing, IEEE  (Volume:1 ,  Issue: 4 )