26 Chapter 2 From Client-Server to Mobile Agents
However, Java servlets could employ mobile agents transparently to the user
to complete a task.
2.4 Why Are Mobile Agents a Good Idea?
Now we want to describe some major advantages of mobile agents and try
to explain why they will meet the demands of future distributed systems.
Although mobile agents provide a new and interesting approach to
distributed systems, there must be clear arguments in favor of mobile
agents before they are substituted for more traditional techniques. However,
although we believe that mobile agents are the most promising technology
to solve most of the problems of the networked future, it should be said that
we also believe that mobile agents will supplement many older techniques
rather than replace them.
We present four major technical advantages in detail. It is this set of
basic technical advantages that opens the chance for improved and typical
1. Delegation of tasks. Because mobile agents are simply a more speciﬁc
type of software agent, a user can employ a mobile agent as a represen-
tative to which the user may delegate tasks. Instead of using computer
systems as interactive tools that are able to work only under direct con-
trol by a user, autonomous software agents aim at taking care of entire
tasks and working without permanent contact and control. As a result,
the user can devote time and attention to other, more important things.
Thus, mobile software agents are a good means to cope with the steady
information overload we exper ience.
2. Asynchronous processing. Once mobile agents have been initialized and
set up for a speciﬁc task, they physically leave their owner’s computer sys-
tem and from then on roam freely through the Internet. Only for this ﬁrst
migration must a network connection be established. This feature makes
mobile agents suitable for nomadic computing, meaning mobile users
can start their agents from mobile devices that offer only limited band-
width and volatile network links. Because the agent is less dependent on
the network, it will be more stable than client-server–based applications.
3. Adaptable ser vice interfaces. Current techniques in distributed sys-
tems that offer application service interfaces, usually as a collection of