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Issue 6 • Date Dec. 1996

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Displaying Results 1 - 16 of 16
  • Intelligent Agents: Where AI Meets Information Technology [Guest Editorial]

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  • Using Archon - 2. Electricity transportation management

    Page(s): 71 - 79
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    For pt.1 see ibid., p.64-70 (1996). The Archon software framework integrated seven heterogeneous agents-some preexisting systems and some custom built-into a functional real world application. This DAI approach provides economy, robustness, reliability and a natural representation of the domain. The article discusses the use of Archon by Iberdrola, a Spanish electric utility. To ensure that Iberdrola's transport network remains within the desired safety and economical constraints, Iberdrola uses a sophisticated data acquisition system called Scada (supervisory control and data acquisition) and several conventional application programs that help the operator (the control engineer) to analyze it (these programs are primarily designed for normal operating conditions). Whenever an unexpected event occurs, the Scada system automatically sends hundreds of alarms to the control room. Under these circumstances, the operator must rely on experiential knowledge to analyze the information, diagnose the situation, and take appropriate remedial actions to return the network to a safe state. To reduce the operators' cognitive load in such circumstances, and to help them make better decisions faster, Iberdrola decided to develop several decision support systems. They then interconnected these systems and subsequently extended them using Archon distributed AI technology. View full abstract»

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  • Using Archon - 3. Particle acceleration control

    Page(s): 80 - 86
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    For pt.2 see ibid., p.71-9 (1996). The Archon distributed AI software framework integrated two preexisting standalone systems into a consistent, flexible application. The integrated systems provide useful information to each other and improve each other's performance through cooperation. The authors describe the use of the Archon framework to build a distributed AI application for controlling, and diagnosing faults in the Proton Synchrotron, one of CERN's (the European Laboratory for Particle Physics) particle accelerators. The PS complex is the heart of CERN's accelerators and experimental facilities and also acts as an injector for the larger accelerators. View full abstract»

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  • Empirical methods for artificial intelligence [Book Review]

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  • Annual Index, Volume 11, 1996

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  • Using Archon to develop real-world DAI applications. 1

    Page(s): 64 - 70
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    Archon provides a software framework that assists interaction between the subcomponents of a distributed AI application, and a design methodology that helps structure these interactions. The Archon project has been applied to several real world industrial applications. Two of these applications, electricity transportation management and particle accelerator control, have run online in the organizations for which they were developed-Iberdrola, a Spanish electric utility, and the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN). Archon's problem solving entities are called agents; they can control their own problem solving and interact with other community members. The interactions typically involve agents cooperating and communicating with one another to enhance their individual problem solving and to better solve the overall application problem. Each agent consists of an Archon layer and an application program (known as an intelligent system) View full abstract»

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  • The toad that ate Australia

    Page(s): 13 - 15
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    In 1935, to combat an infestation of sugar cane beetles, well intentioned growers along Australia's North Queensland coast introduced a variety of Central American toad (Bufo marinus) to their canefields. The reality, however, has been different. The beetles, unfortunately, live high in the cane stalks, beyond the reach of the ground dwelling toad, which promptly set off on a 60-year march across Australia. Today, both beetle and toad are doing nicely; a one billion strong cane toad army now holds sway over 500,000 square kilometers north, west, and south of the original North Queensland beachhead. To check that advance, Australia's government is considering releasing a biological agent-a species-specific virus-that will selectively kill the invader. Firstly, however, the possible impacts of these toads must analysed in detail-the method used involves machine learning. By monitoring the population fluctuations of frog species living at the vanguard of the cane toad advance, the speed of the encroachment can be measured, as well as the damage the cane toad causes. The undertaking involves training a computer software program to automatically identify the calls that various species of frog make, monitoring the types and numbers of frogs found at several locations over successive wet seasons when the frogs are active, and marking any population declines as the wave of cane toads passes through View full abstract»

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  • Intelligent executive information systems

    Page(s): 30 - 35
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    There have been substantial changes in the technology available to support executive decision making. Perhaps the most visible change has been the rapid development of the Internet and the World Wide Web. In addition, this network infrastructure has facilitated and promoted the growth of enabling technologies, such as databases and artificial intelligence. These changes in technology have led to a change in the basic nature of executive information systems. Accordingly, the purpose of the article is to extend the structure of EISs to account for this wide range of recent technological changes View full abstract»

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  • Intelligent software: easing the burdens that computers put on people

    Page(s): 62 - 63
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    Computers currently respond only to what interface designers call direct manipulation. Nothing happens unless a person gives commands from a keyboard, mouse or touch screen. The computer is merely a passive entity waiting to execute specific, highly detailed instructions: it provides little help for complex tasks or for carrying out actions (such as searches for information) that may take an indefinite time. If untrained consumers are to employ future computers and networks effectively, direct manipulation will have to give way to some form of delegation. Researchers and software companies have set high hopes on so called software agents, which “know” users' interests and can act autonomously on their behalf. This change in functionality will most likely go hand in hand with a change in the physical ways people interact with computers, Rather than manipulating a keyboard and mouse, people will speak to agents or gesture at things that need doing. In response, agents will appear as “living” entities on the screen, conveying their current state and behavior with animated facial expressions or body language rather than windows with text, graphs, and figures View full abstract»

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  • Agent-based engineering, the Web, and intelligence

    Page(s): 24 - 29
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    Web based agents show great potential for design and engineering applications. To integrate engineering agents into the Web, researchers must resolve the conflict between HTTP's client server protocol and the peer to peer protocol required by agents. The author surveys the types and definitions of agents, eventually focusing on those useful for engineering, and on how they can be integrated with the World Wide Web. Because it is simply silly to discuss software agents without distinguishing them from other types of software, the author ventures to offer a definition. It will be iconoclastic and perhaps applicable only to a certain type of engineering agent. But it will be useful in identifying some technical implementation issues View full abstract»

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  • Distributed intelligent agents

    Page(s): 36 - 46
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    In Retsina, the authors have developed a distributed collection of software agents that cooperate asynchronously to perform goal-directed information retrieval and integration for supporting a variety of decision-making tasks. Examples for everyday organizational decision making and financial portfolio management demonstrate its effectiveness View full abstract»

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  • Nausicaa and the Sirens: A tale of two intelligent autonomous agents

    Page(s): 60 - 61
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    Nausicaa and the Sirens, mythological characters from Homer's Odyssey, have totally different characters. Nausicaa, an intelligent and modest princess, helps Odysseus on his journey to Alcinolis's city. The Sirens, however, are sea creatures who use their beautiful voices to lure mariners onto the rocks surrounding their island. These characters gave me inspiration on how to design and deploy agents for real-world tasks. Before explaining how these characters from the Odyssey relate to intelligent agents, the author discusses what forms the essence of an intelligent agent. Intelligent and autonomous systems are essential in assisting human activities in complex situations. I define an intelligent agent as a self-contained system that undertakes context-sensitive decision making and task enforcement in an open (or semi-open) environment. Agent systems should behave reasonably in a broad range of situations, a feature that distinguishes agent systems from conventional software systems View full abstract»

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  • Agents for sale: first wave of intelligent agents go commercial

    Page(s): 16 - 19
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    After years of promised prototypes, the first intelligent agents are hitting the streets, and cash registers are starting to ring. The first wave of prime time agents, as exemplified by Firefly from Firefly Networks Inc. (formerly Agents Inc.), are personal assistants that simplify Web surfing. Firefly has became a media darling-everyone from Time magazine to local TV stations is featuring the little critters. More than half a million users have Firefly agents to help them shop on the Web for music, movies, and books. Two other Web agents are just coming to market-WebTamer from AgentSoft, and WiseWire from Empirical Media. Plus we are seeing the first embedding of agent technology into application specific software such as Swiss Bank's Balet (balance sheet estimation tool) financial management system. Other agents will soon follow Firefly and its cohorts. Still in prototype or getting ready for production are various agents or agent development environments from big league players such as Microsoft, IBM, Enterprise Integration Technologies (now part of Verifone), and Andersen Consulting View full abstract»

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  • A framework for the development of multiagent architectures

    Page(s): 47 - 59
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    A high-performance software system provides the necessary facilities to experiment with various multiagent-coordination choices at different abstraction levels. The authors discuss these abstractions and empirically evaluate their usefulness for the construction of distributed systems View full abstract»

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  • On the Internet, software should be milked, not brewed

    Page(s): 87 - 88
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    The explosion of the Web raises many difficult legal and economic issues. One of the most controversial is this: how can we protect the intellectual property embedded in the computer software that gets distributed over the Internet? The Web hypertext platform, particularly hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) and Java, should encourage the quick and ubiquitous delivery of novel, ground breaking ideas for interacting with computers. Innovative user interface software, whether in the form of Java byte codes or Web browsers, should be protected by law. But this is very difficult. Software products and ideas are too easily duplicated or cloned, and software's authors are often compelled to expose the technical details of their products in order to disseminate them and create a market for their ideas and services, indirectly encouraging such cloning. The use of time stamping software to solve the Internet intellectual property problem is discussed View full abstract»

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Aims & Scope

This Periodical ceased production in 1997. The current retitled publication is IEEE Intelligent Systems.

Full Aims & Scope