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Mobile Agents in Networking and Distributed Computing by Sajal K. Das, Jiannong Cao

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Chapter 2

Mobile Agent Communications

JIAN LU and XINYU FENG

State Key Laboratory for Novel Software Technology at Nanjing University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, P.R. China

2.1 INTRODUCTION

Mobile agents are regarded as the future of distributed computing. They are promising to offer a unified and scalable framework for applications in widely distributed heterogeneous open networks, such as electronic commerce, parallel computing and information retrieval. Among essential features of mobile agents, communication is a fundamental ability that enables mobile agents to cooperate with each other by sharing and exchanging information and partial results and collectively making decisions.

Much work on agent communication languages, such as Knowledge Query and Manipulation Language (KQML) [1, 2] or Foundation for Intelligent Physical Agents (FIPA) Agent Communication Language (ACL) [3], has been proposed. However, in this chapter, we do not introduce the common semantic layer for knowledge sharing. Instead we focus our discussion on the underlying transportation layer of interagent communication and are concerned solely with the delivery of opaque application data to a target agent, which is closer to the tradition of research on distributed systems.

Although process communication has been a cliché in distributed systems research, the presence of mobility raises a number of new challenges in designing message delivery protocols for effective and efficient communications between mobile agents. ...

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