Component based agent construction

Nikolaos Skarmeas and Keith L. Clark


In this paper, an agent architecture is proposed that can be used to integrate pre-existing components that provide the domain dependent agent functionality. The key integrating feature of the agent is an active message board that is used for inter-component, hence intra-agent communication. The board is active because it automatically forwards messages to components, they do not have to poll the message board. It does this on the basis of message pattern functions that components place on the board using advertisement messages. These functions can contain component provided semantic tests on the content of the message, they can also communicate with any other component whilst they are being applied. In addition an agent management toolkit, called ALFA, is described which offers a set of agent management services. This toolkit consists of a number of servers for storing the code of the components and symbolic descriptions of agents regarding their component makeup. A third server uses all this information to facilitate launching new agents. Two prototype systems are also presented where the toolkit has been applied. The first involves an agent based system used to control the environmental conditions in a building, and the second is an agent based network management application.

KEYWORDS: Agent based software construction, component oriented programming, agent architectures, content based routing

In International Journal of AI Tools, 11(1), 2002

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