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Agents and the Internet: infrastructure for mass customization

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3 Author(s)
A. D. Baker ; Enterprise Action Group, USA ; H. Van Dyke Parunak ; K. Erol

Major market trends are driving the manufacturing complex from mass production, where the manufacturer tells the customer what to buy, to mass customization, where the customer tells the manufacturing complex what to make. The Internet supports this transformation with global communication between customers and manufacturers. However, the physical realities of manufacturing impose requirements for more than just communication. In some sense, manufacturing enterprises must actually exist over the Internet as an efficiently managed distributed enterprise. Software agents offer a means to achieve this link and thus a reliable global infrastructure for mass customization. The AARIA project provides a demonstration of how the manufacturing complex can move toward mass customization by using the Internet as a natural platform for managing distributed operations and by using autonomous agents as the tools for efficiently reconfiguring available productive resources. We begin by looking at the unique requirements manufacturing imposes on the infrastructure for virtual enterprises and describing the AARIA project components for meeting them. We then describe our scheduling technologies for efficient distributed resource management

Published in:

IEEE Internet Computing  (Volume:3 ,  Issue: 5 )