Heterogeneous Agent Systems


Software agents are the latest advance in the trend toward smaller, modular pieces of code, where each module performs a well-defined, focused task or set of tasks. Programmed to interact with and provide services to other agents, including humans, software agents act autonomously with prescribed backgrounds, beliefs, and operations. Systems of agents can access and manipulate heterogeneously stored data such as that found on the Internet.

After a discussion of the theory of software agents, this book presents IMPACT (Interactive Maryland Platform for Agents Collaborating Together), an experimental agent infrastructure that translates formal theories of agency into a functional multiagent system that can extend legacy software code and application-specific or legacy data structures. The book describes three sample applications: a store, a self-correcting auto-pilot, and a supply chain.

Table of Contents

  1. List of Figures
  2. List of Tables
  3. Preface and Acknowledgments
  4. 1. Introduction
  5. 2. IMPACT Architecture
  6. 3. Service Description Language
  7. 4. Accessing Legacy Data and Software
  8. 5. IMPACT Server Implementation
  9. 6. Agent Programs
  10. 7. Meta Agent Programs
  11. 8. Temporal Agent Programs
  12. 9. Probabilistic Agent Programs
  13. 10. Secure Agent Programs
  14. 11. Complexity Results
  15. 12. Implementing Agents
  16. 13. An Example Application
  17. 14. Conclusions
  18. Appendix
  19. References
  20. Index