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A1 - Agents and Multiagents in the Internet and Intranets

Sunday, AM

Michael N. Huhns & Munindar P. Singh

Agents and multiagent systems or multiagents have been gathering an increasing amount of attention lately in the research community, from funding agencies, and even in the lay press. This is because of the expansion of information-rich environments, not only in the Internet at large, but also in intranets and virtual private networks. Key applications include telecommunications management, virtual enterprises, logistics, healthcare, and manufacturing automation, to name but a few. Successful agent applications in such domains will depend not only on AI techniques but also on a solid understanding of the underlying database issues.

Information-rich environments inherently involve both (a) existing, heterogeneous components within an enterprise and (b) independently designed, autonomous components that must interoperate in separate enterprises. Therefore, developing agents and multiagents in such environments requires synthesizing AI and database techniques for capturing and using semantics through abstractions such as datamodels, ontologies, transactions, relaxed transactions, and workflows.

This tutorial presents the essential background - in AI, databases, and distributed computing concepts, architectures, theories, and techniques - for anyone planning to learn about and contribute to the principles and applications of agent technology. It includes a comprehensive overview of the state of the art in several agent applications, involving not only the retrieval of information, but also its update.

This tutorial will guide practitioners by describing implemented, tested agent-based approaches to large-scale information access and management. It will introduce graduate students and others to a new area with lots of exciting and important open problems.

Prerequisite knowledge:
The background concepts in AI, databases, and distributed computing are covered within the tutorial. Thus, the tutorial is self-contained.

The presenters have a long trackrecord in the theory and practice of multiagent systems in open, information-rich environments. They have given a number of tutorials at international AI, database, and distributed computing conferences. They coedited the book "Readings in Agents", published by Morgan Kaufmann in 1998 and now in its second printing.

Professor Huhns (Ph.D., USC, 1975) edited the books "Distributed Artificial Intelligence", volumes 1 and 2, and authored over 100 papers and reports. He is serving or has served on numerous program committees, conference advisory boards, and journal editorial boards, including two IEEE magazines and one ACM transactions.
Homepage: http://www.ece.sc.edu/faculty/Huhns/

Professor Singh (Ph.D., Texas, 1993) authored a book "Multiagent Systems" and several papers on agents and databases. He is Editor-In-Chief of IEEE Internet Computing. Dr. Singh has also chaired conferences on cooperative information systems and agents.
Homepage: http://www.csc.ncsu.edu/faculty/mpsingh/

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Last modified: Mar 16, 1999