Environment support for developing and configuring adaptive agents
Agents show considerable promise as a new paradigm for software development. However for wider adoption and deployment of agent technology, powerful design and development tools are needed. Such tools should empower software developers to cater agent solutions more efficiently and at a lower cost for their customers with rapidly changing requirements and differing application specifications. In this paper, an agent orchestration platform that allows the developers to design a complete agent-based scenario through graphical user interfaces is presented. The scenario produced by the platform is a rule based system in contrast to the existing systems where agents are coded through a programming language. In this way, the platform provides a higher level of abstraction to agent development making it easier to adapt to rapidly changing user requirements or differing software specifications. The system is highly transportable and interoperable. The platform helps to design a multi-agent system either from scratch, or by adapting existing distributed systems to multi agent systems. It contains tools that handle the agent system design both at the macro level, that is, defining the interaction between agents and at the micro level which deals with internal design of agents. Agent behaviour is modeled as a workflow of basic agent behaviour building blocks (such as receiving a message, invoking an application, making a decision or sending a message) by considering the data and control dependencies among them, and a graphical user interface is provided to construct agent behaviours. The platform allows agent templates to be constructed from previously defined behaviours. Finally through a Scenario Design Tool, a multi-agent system is designed by specifying associations among agents. The scenario is stored in a knowledge base by using the Agent Behaviour Representation Language (ABRL) which is developed for this purpose. Finally to be able to demonstrate the execution of the system on a concrete agent platform, we mapped the ABRL rules to JESS and executed the system on JADE. This work is supported by the European Commission’s IST Programme, under the contract IST-2000-31050 Agent Academy.