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Software Engineering. IEE Proceedings

Issue 1 • Date Feb 1997

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Displaying Results 1 - 7 of 7
  • Research and development challenges for agent-based systems

    Page(s): 2 - 10
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1196 KB)  

    The increasing sophistication of today's information era poses certain challenges to traditional information technology (IT) systems. Agent-based software technology is rapidly evolving to meet the demands of this new information era. However, before agent-based solutions can be routinely and successfully exploited in real-world problems, certain fundamental research and software engineering issues have to be addressed. Some of the key challenges for the research and development of agent-based software systems are discussed. Our discussion is carried out from the twin viewpoints of fundamental research questions and software engineering issues View full abstract»

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  • Agent-based software engineering

    Page(s): 26 - 37
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1612 KB)  

    The technology of intelligent agents and multi-agent systems is expected to alter radically the way in which complex, distributed, open systems are conceptualised and implemented. The paper considers the problem of building a multi-agent system as a software engineering enterprise. Three issues are focused on: how agents might be specified; how these specifications might be refined or otherwise transformed into efficient implementations: and how implemented agents and multi-agent systems might subsequently be verified, to show that they are correct with respect to their specifications. These issues are discussed with reference to a number of case studies. The paper concludes by setting out some issues and open problems for future research View full abstract»

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  • Cooperative information-gathering: a distributed problem-solving approach

    Page(s): 72 - 88
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (2216 KB)  

    Two approaches to the problem of information-gathering, that may be characterised as distributed processing and distributed problem-solving, are contrasted. The former is characteristic of most existing information-gathering systems, and the latter is central to research in multi-agent systems. The features of complex information-carrying environments and the information-gathering task are examined, demonstrating both the utility of viewing information-gathering as distributed problem-solving and difficulties with viewing it as distributed processing. A new approach is proposed to information-gathering based on the distributed problem-solving paradigm and its attendant body of research in multi-agent systems and distributed artificial intelligence. This approach, called cooperative information-gathering, involves concurrent, asynchronous discovery and composition of information spread across a network of information servers. Top-level queries drive the creation of partially elaborated information-gathering plans, resulting in the employment of multiple semi-autonomous cooperative agents for the purpose of achieving goals and subgoals within those plans. The system as a whole satisfies, trading off solution quality and search cost while respecting user-imposed deadlines. Current work on distributed and agent-based approaches to information-gathering is also surveyed View full abstract»

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  • Towards a social level characterisation of socially responsible agents

    Page(s): 11 - 25
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (2780 KB)  

    A high-level framework for analysing and designing intelligent agents is presented. The framework's key abstraction mechanism is a new computer level called the social level. The social level sits immediately above the knowledge level, as defined by Newell (1982), and is concerned with the inherently social aspects of multiple-agent systems. To illustrate the working of this framework, an important new class of agent is identified and then specified. Socially responsible agents retain their local autonomy but still draw from, and supply resources to, the larger community. Through empirical evaluation, it is shown that such agents produce both good system-wide performance and good individual performance View full abstract»

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  • The agent architecture of the University of Michigan Digital Library

    Page(s): 61 - 71
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1480 KB)  

    The University of Michigan Digital Library (UMDL) architecture encapsulates the many functionalities required in a digital library as a population of modular, goal-oriented, specialised `agents'. These agents participate in markets for exchanging goods and services, and team their abilities to compose complex services. Realising the UMDL agent architecture requires us to provide sound mechanisms to encapsulate functions as agents, protocols to support the evolution of teams and agent interactions through markets, and protocols to enable interoperability among library agents that are teamed. The software-engineering aspects of our effort (the tools, techniques and experiences gained) are the focus of this paper View full abstract»

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  • Application of multi-agent systems in traffic and transportation

    Page(s): 51 - 60
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    Agent-oriented techniques offer a new approach to support the whole software development process. All the phases in the software development process are treated with a single uniform concept, namely that of agents, and a system modelled by a collection of agents is called a multi-agent system. AOTs as a new advance in information technology can help to respond to the growing interest in making traffic and transportation more efficient, resource-saving and ecological. The authors give an overview of a diverse range of applications where multi-agent systems promise to create a great impact in this domain. To demonstrate the ideas behind AOTs and their applicability in this domain, two applications under development at Daimler-Benz Research are described in some detail View full abstract»

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  • Towards agent-based software engineering for information-dependent enterprise applications

    Page(s): 38 - 50
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1620 KB)  

    Established enterprises continue to create new applications and systems without removing older ones. Legacy systems are often necessary to the new applications, but inadequate for the new environment, which can be large and widely distributed. Two applications are presented: kiosks for telephone sales and support; and information access for service technicians. These are representative of a large class of distributed information-dependent applications. This class is characterised by geographical distribution, organisational dispersion and broad implementational heterogeneity, which together form a technology barrier that hinders rapid system adaption. The approach described addresses the distribution and heterogeneity common to this class of application by creating an application-independent software agent kernel and then deploying that kernel in various specific applications according to a practical and incremental strategy View full abstract»

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