Extending the Communication Capabilities of Agents

Authors

  • Kai Jander Distributed Systems and Information Systems Group, University of Hamburg, Hamburg
  • Lars Braubach Distributed Systems and Information Systems Group, University of Hamburg, Hamburg
  • Alexander Pokahr Distributed Systems and Information Systems Group, University of Hamburg, Hamburg

Keywords:

Distributed systems, agents, agent communication, streaming, bulk transfer, futures

Abstract

Agent technology is in principle well suited for realizing various kinds of distributed systems, but in practice agents are seldomly chosen for realizing real-world applications. One reason hindering agents being used in practice is their cumbersome communication mechanism focused on speech act based message exchange which makes them hard for practitioners used to work in an object oriented way. To broaden the application spectrum of agent technology in practice and make them more accessible for object-oriented developers, this paper presents additional communication means for agents. First, it will be shown how agents can interact using strongly typed service interfaces resorting to asynchronous future based methods. These allow keeping agents autonomous and further support several recurrent interaction patterns within one method call, i.e. without having to use complex message protocols. Second, an extension for binary data streaming via virtual connections will be presented. Its usage resembles established input and output streaming APIs and lets developers transfer data between agents in the same simple way as e.g. a file is written to hard disk. Furthermore, virtual connections allow failure tolerant transmission by multiplexing data across different physical connections. Usefulness of the extensions will be further explained with a real-word example application from the area of business intelligence workflows.

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Published

2015-06-19

How to Cite

Jander, K., Braubach, L., & Pokahr, A. (2015). Extending the Communication Capabilities of Agents. COMPUTING AND INFORMATICS, 34(1), 138–166. Retrieved from http://www.cai.sk/ojs/index.php/cai/article/view/2045

Issue

Section

Special Section Articles