is this Project aboutAlthough there exists many implementations
of agents, the technology is generally not considered mature. A mature agent frameworks is
still a long term goal. However, agent technology is appearing in many different
disguises, from the General Magic Telescript mobile agent through to complex artificial
life form agents exhibiting complex, perhaps intelligent behaviour. Equally diverse
applications of the technology are now appearing, ranging from childrens games such
as Creatures from Cyber Life to the control and management of complex systems
such as communications networks and fighter aircraft. Major steps forward are being made
in the development and understanding of such agents and increasingly ideas are drawn from
a wide range of technical disciplines, most notably artificial intelligence, complexity
theory and distributed computing.
Much of the focus of this Study will be on autonomous mobile agents as they are likely to be highly relevant to TelCos networks and systems. Mobile agents present a dynamic way to optimise the computational and communication resource usage of future distributed application components. Earlier distribution technologies based on messaging, like OMG CORBA, are currently unable to exchange code. Java overcomes this and provides distributed applications with the capability to exchange code in addition to usual messaging and object state information. The significance of mobile agents lies in the dynamic distribution of application components into suitable locations for effective and economical computing and transport resource usage. To facilitate this, the agent software components are given the freedom to traverse the network to find hosts best able to execute their code and handle their communications. There is, however, a price to be paid for freedom of movement, including computational and code complexity overheads and the stringent security requirements that stem from the autonomous nature of the Mobile Agents.
A key issue is whether there exist a relationship between network service cost/performance and the usefulness of the mobile agent technology in certain application areas. Its not certain whether a fast, reliable and cheap transport service could eliminate the need for mobile agents or whether they have advantages which will make them a de facto part of tomorrows network.
The main objectives of this Study are to: