HP Labs Technical Reports
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Multi-Agent Cooperation, Dynamic Workflow and XML for E-Commerce Automation
Chen, Qiming; Hsu, Meichun; Dayal, Umeshwar; Griss, Martin
Keyword(s): Dynamic agents; workflow; XML
Abstract: E-Commerce is a distributed computing environment with dynamic relationships among a large number of autonomous service requesters, brokers and providers. Agents with predefined functions but without the ability to modify behavior dynamically may be too limited for mediating E-Commerce applications properly, since they cannot switch roles or adjust their behavior to participate in dynamically formed partnerships. We have developed a Java based dynamic agent infrastructure for E-Commerce automation, which supports dynamic behavior modification of agents, a significant difference from other agent platforms. Supported by dynamic agents, mechanisms have been developed for plugging in workflow and multi-agent cooperation, and for supporting dynamic workflow service provisioning that allows workflow services to be constructed on the fly. XML is chosen as our agent communication message format. Since different problem domains have different ontology, we allow agents to comunicate with domain specific performatives and act using corresponding interpreters. Dynamic agents can carry, switch and exchange interpreters. Our approach enables document-driven agent cooperation and DTD based program generation, and further, allows agents to exchange and share ontology for multiple or even dynamic domains. In this way, the cooperation of dynamic agents supports plug-and-play commerce, mediating businesses that are built on one another's services. A prototype has been developed at HP Labs.
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