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How Agents from Different E-Commerce Enterprises Cooperate

Chen, Qiming; Hsu, Meichun; Kleyner, Igor


Keyword(s): inter-enterprise agent cooperation; cooperative business process management

Abstract: Using agent technology to support E-Commerce automation is a promising direction. However, the previous "proof-of-concept" efforts do not scale well in E-Commerce automation. An essential reason is that the conventional agent infrastructures are primarily designed for intra-enterprise business partnership. Agents across enterprise boundaries are unlikely to be organized into the same "agent group" and under a centralized coordination. We tackle the issue of scaling inter-enterprise agent cooperation from the following three angles. First, we have introduced the Point of Presence (POP) approach for integrating message-based agent communication with interface-based service invocation. This approach allows us to unify the messaging service interface for all the agents, and therefore greatly simplify both server-side and client-side interface implementation and maintenance. Next, we have developed the agent-embedded cooperative process manager, for elevating multi-agent cooperation from the conversation level to the business process level, and from centralized process management to peer-to-peer cooperative process management. Finally, we propose the conceptual separation of agent cooperation messaging network from the bulk data network. These emerging technologies are integrated with the E-Carry agent infrastructure, an autonomous and decentralized system we developed at HP Labs. The feasibility of this approach has been demonstrated in a prototyping system.

17 Pages

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