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Über dieses Buch

The focus of the book is on completed implementations of agent-based software systems. Here, agent technology is considered broadly, starting from development of agent platforms, all the way through systems actually implemented. The covered topics also include lessons learned during implementation of agent platforms and the reflection on the process of development and application of agent-based systems.

The book includes 10 chapters where interested reader can find discussion of important issues encountered during development of well-known agent platforms such as JADE and Jadex as well as some interesting experiences in developing a new platform that combines software agent and Web Services. Furthermore, the book shows readers several valuable examples of applications based on multi-agent systems including simulations, agents in autonomous negotiations and agents in public administration modelling.

We believe that the book will prove useful to the researchers, professors and the practitioners in all disciplines including science and technology.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Assessing Agent Applications — r&D vs. R&d

Abstract
This chapter focusses on the relevancy of implementations of software systems in which agent technology was actually used in agent-oriented conferences and journals. It discusses the discrepancy between the stated aims of agent research with regard to agent applications, and the reality as found in many (general) agent conferences as well as journals. We demonstrate this discrepancy by analysing how implementations of software systems that employed agent technology are represented in publications, both in form of conference as well as journal papers. We analyse some agent related conferences and journals, and look at the distribution of application papers at past conferences/journal issues. In order to lay foundations for a discussion of the reasons for this inconsistency as well as conclusions that can be drawn from it, we analyse relevant stakeholders for agent application papers. The aim of this chapter is to provide a basis for discussing the state and status of agent applications in research oriented conferences and journals.
Tina Balke, Benjamin Hirsch, Marco Lützenberger

The Jadex Project: Programming Model

Abstract
This chapter describes the priciples of the Jadex programming model. The programming model can be considered on two levels. The intra-agent level deals with programming concepts for single agents and the interagent level deals with interactions between agents. Regarding the first, the Jadex belief-desire-intention (BDI) model will be presented, which has been developed for agents based on XML and Java encompassing the full BDI reasoning cycle with goal deliberation and means-end reasoning. The success of the BDI model in general also led to the development goal based workflow descriptions, which are converted to traditional BDI agents and can thus be executed in the same infrastructure. Regarding the latter, the Jadex active components approach will be introduced. This programming model facilitates the interactions between agents with services and also provides a common back box view for agents that allows different agent types, being it BDI or simple reactive architectures, being used in the same application.
Alexander Pokahr, Lars Braubach, Kai Jander

Extensible Java EE-Based Agent Framework – Past, Present, Future

Abstract
EXtensible Java EE − based Agent Framework (XJAF) is a modular, FIPA-compliant multi-agent system developed by the authors of this chapter. The main motivation behind the development of XJAF was to demonstrate how existing, standardized Java EE technologies, tools, and libraries, such as JNDI, JMS, and EJB, can be used to implement a large subset of functionalities required from a multi-agent system. Immediate direct benefits of this approach are shorter development time of the system itself, delegation of agent load-balancing to the enterprise server, flatter learning curve for new developers of the system, etc. The first implementation of XJAF has been published several years ago and has since been used in several real-life applications. In the meantime, some disadvantages and weaknesses of the system were noticed, and the work is underway to provide a new implementation with an improved quality. The most recent focus of improvements has been on the addition of fault-tolerant techniques, and the increase of interoperability through a SOA-based design and web service interfaces.
Milan Vidaković, Mirjana Ivanović, Dejan Mitrović, Zoran Budimac

Agent-Based XDSL Monitoring and Optimization

Abstract
This chapter focuses on a large agent-based system developed and successfully deployed by Telecom Italia in the field of Fixed Network monitoring and optimization. Thanks to its natively distributed agent-based architecture, this system, called Wants-Assurance, continuously monitors about 3.000.000 of xDSL lines in real time. Wants-Assurance is developed on top of WADE (Workflows and Agents Development Environment) a domain independent software platform that allows creating distributed applications leveraging the agent paradigm in conjunction with the workflow metaphor. The chapter is organized as follows: section 1 presents WADE describing its architecture and main features. Section 2 gives an overview of the xDSL network domain highlighting the main phenomena that affect its quality. Section 3 focuses on the Wants-Assurance system, describes its internal architecture and shows how it exploits WADE features to face the challenges set by the application domain.
Giovanni Caire

The Jadex Project: Simulation

Abstract
Simulation is on the one hand an important application area for multi-agent systems, but on the other hand also a useful tool for building agent applications. This chapter investigates constructs and techniques that foster both usages of simulation in the context of agent technology. The vision for integrating simulation support consists in establishing simulation transparency, i.e. it should be ensured that applications can be built to a large extent without simulation specific parts. First, approaches for dealing with time in simulated and non-simulated agent execution are discussed. Afterwards the role of virtual environments in agent applications is tackled. Both technical topics are illustrated using concrete applications that further represent the different usages of simulation.
Lars Braubach, Alexander Pokahr

Agents in Simulation of Cyberattacks to Evaluate Security of Critical Infrastructures

Abstract
In the last years critical infrastructures have become highly dependent on the information technologies and exposed to cyberattacks. Because the effects of the attacks can be detrimental, it is crucial to comprehensively asses the security of the infrastructures’ information systems. This chapter describes MAlSim – the simulator of malicious software based on software agents, developed for the needs of a testbed for critical infrastructures security. The authors explain the choice of agent paradigm for the development of the toolkit, present main design decisions, overview changes to the project introduced during the implementation, and provide the details of the completed project followed by a brief description of the application of MAlSim to security evaluation of a power plant. The chapter concludes with the discussion of the perspectives for the future of agent technology based on the experiences which came during the course of the project.
Rafał Leszczyna

Simulated Multi-robot Tactical Missions in Urban Warfare

Abstract
Since late 90’s of the last century, rapid advances in technology, mechanical engineering, miniaturization, telecommunications and informatics enabled development and routine deployment of sophisticated robots in many real world domains. Besides many applications in assembly industry, e.g., in car, or electronics assembly lines, defense organizations, together with space exploration and mining industries belong to the most demanding and optimistic users of robotic technology [25]. Especially in the military domain we nowadays witness a routine deployment of robotic assets in the field.
Peter Novák, Antonín Komenda, Michal Čáp, Jiří Vokřínek, Michal Pěchouček

On the Development of Mobile Agent Systems for Wireless Sensor Networks: Issues and Solutions

Abstract
Due to the growing exploitation of wireless sensor networks (WSNs) for enhancing all major conventional application domains and enabling brand new application domains, the development of applications based on WSNs has recently gained a significant focus. Thus, design methods, middleware and frameworks have been defined and made available to support high-level programming of WSN applications. However, even though many proposals do exist, more research efforts should still be devoted to the definition of WSN-oriented methodologies and tools fully supporting the development lifecycle of WSN applications. In this chapter, we promote the use of the mobile agent paradigm for the development of WSN applications and, specifically, describe issues and solutions for the development of mobile agent systems on resource-constrained wireless sensor platforms. In particular we discuss about the design of MAPS (Mobile Agent Platform for Sun SPOTs) and TinyMAPS, our Java-based mobile agent systems for WSNs, which enable agent-oriented development of WSN applications. In particular, while MAPS can run on the capable SunSPOT sensor devices, TinyMAPS is a version of MAPS tailored for more constrained Java-based sensor platforms such as Sentilla JCreate. An analysis of MAPS and TinyMAPS is provided showing analogies and differences among the two platforms. Finally a comparison of MAPS with AFME, another Java-based mobile agent system running on SunSPOT and based on a different architecture and programming model, is presented.
Giancarlo Fortino, Stefano Galzarano

Argumentative Agents for Service-Oriented Computing

Abstract
We propose an argumentation-based agent model that supports service and partner selection in service-oriented computing settings. In this model, argumentation is also used to help agents resolve conflicts between themselves, whenever negotiation is required for the provision of complex services. The model relies upon an argumentation framework that is used in a modular architecture where Knowledge, Goals, Decisions and Priorities are manipulated by three specialized modules dealing with decision making, communication and negotiation.We formulate a distributed e-procurement process to illustrate how our agents select services and partners and can negotiate with one another.
M. Morge, J. McGinnis, S. Bromuri, P. Mancarella, K. Stathis, F. Toni

Public Administration Workflows Re-engineering: An Agent-Based M&S Approach

Abstract
Workflows in Public Administration (PA) can be mainly classified as inter-organization processes and cannot be modeled using standard methods such as Petri-nets or WF-Nets, but need new modeling paradigms to describe: i) the structure of the organization; ii) the factors that influence the execution of the workflow and iii) the actors (humans and IT systems) that interact with the workflow, generating the workload. This chapter describes the experience matured by the authors in the design and implementation of an agent-based modeling and simulation framework to support the re-engineering of Public Administration workflows. The project, started in late 2003, faced the challenge of analyze, evaluate the performance and finally re-engineer a Public Administration process of the Presidency of Counseil of Ministers: the IT infrastructure management and the service provisioning process. The project was developed at the Italian Prime Minister Office for Informatics and Telematics headed by the second Author. From the solution initially developed to solve this specific problem we built a general framework to support Public Administration processes re-engineering. This framework, named Wf-Simulator, has been successfully used in real workflow modeling and simulation. The chapter describes the initial project, the Wf-Simulator framework and three real case studies: service provisioning in PA, day hospital surgery admission and blood examination management.
Emiliano Casalicchio, Salvatore Tucci

Backmatter

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