Perfect Form

James Odell
The agents found in IT systems have special requirements: They must execute as software, hardware, robotics or a combination of these. Agent developers have identified several forms of agents that are important for IT system development. The list of agent characteristics presented in an earlier column, Unlocking the Secret of Agents, addresses some of these requirements. Additionally, since IT systems have special needs, software- and hardware-related forms must be considered. Those forms considered the most important to agent developers today are discussed below.

 

Software Agents
Software agents are a more specific kind of agent. At a minimum, a software agent is defined as an autonomous software entity that can interact with its environment. In other words, they are agents that are implemented using software. This means that they are autonomous and can interact with other entities, including humans, machines and other software agents in various environments and across various platforms.

Basically, software agents are design patterns for software. Tools, languages and environments can be specifically developed to support the agent-based pattern. However, the agent design pattern can also be implemented using object-oriented tools, languages and environmentsor any other tool, language and environment that is capable of supporting software entities that are autonomous, …


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