Mobile Agent Platforms

Mobile Agent Technology (MAT) uses interworking between Mobile Agent Platforms (MAPs). Several MAPs are based on Java. These platforms are Grasshopper, Aglets, Concordia, Voyager, and Odyssey.

Each MAP has a class library that allows the user to develop agents and applications. The core abstractions are common to most platforms since they are inherent in the MA paradigm. These abstractions include agents, hosts, entry points, and proxies.

• Agents: In each platform, a base class provides the fundamental agent capability. In some platforms this base class is used for all agents (static and mobile) while in others there are two separate classes.

• Hosts: The terms hosts, environments, agencies, contexts, servers, and AgentPlaces are used to refer to the components of the framework that must be installed at a computer node and that provide the necessary runtime environment for the agents to execute.

• Entry points: The agents have to save the necessary state information to member variables, allowing the entry point method to proceed depending on the state of the computation. Platforms may have one or multiple entry points.

• Proxies: The proxy is a representative that an MA leaves when migrating from a node, and it can be used to forward messages or method invocations to an MA in a location-independent manner. Platforms may implement proxies in different ways. A significant difference is whether the arbitrary methods of an agent can be called remotely through the proxy. Platforms that support this functionality provide a utility that parses a MA's class and creates a corresponding proxy. In platforms where arbitrary Remote Method Invocation (RMI) through a proxy is not supported, the proxy object provides only a uniform, generic method to send messages, and therefore no proxy-generation utility is required.

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