OMG - FIPA Liaison
OMG Document # liaison/93-03-03 (same as ec/99-03-12)
send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
To be filled in for each organization which is a candidate for a
formal Liaison Statement to be generated by the Liaison Subcommittee and
ratified by the OMG TC and BOD.
* need to replace references
in document to old FIPA drogo web site with new www.fipa.org
Organization Contact Information
Name: Foundation for Intelligent Physical
c/o S.I.A. - C.P. 3176
Strada Antica di Collegno, 253
I-10146 Torino (Italy)
Tel.: +39 011 7720 294
Fax: +39 011 725 679
deprecated site: http://drogo.cselt.stet.it/fipa/
Primary Contact within the Organization
Chair or secretariat: Leonardo Chiariglione
Liaison Champion within OMG
OMG Member: "Francis G. McCabe"
Concise statement of the proposed relationship
between the organization and the OMG.
Purpose of the liaison
The reason to create the OMG-FIPA Liaison Agreement
is to encourage agent technology standards to evolve consistent with object
technology standards and to further coordination between OMG and FIPA's
related work toward agent technology standards.
1a What does the organization do?
The purpose of FIPA is to promote the development
of specifications of generic agent technologies that maximize interoperability
within and across agent-based applications.
A dated snapshot of the FIPA agent reference architecture
is at http://drogo.cselt.stet.it/fipa/yorktown/nyframework.htm.
FIPA has developed a collection of standards related to this architecture.
At its January 1999 meeting in Korea, FIPA created
an Architecture Technical Committee (chaired by Francis McCabe) to develop
an agent reference architecture to guide FIPA in the development of future
agent technology standards. The architecture will be abstract, possibly
using UML for more precise specifications, and will likely support mapping
from UML to instantiations (e.g., Java, XML, IDL).
It is worth noting that in the same time frame,
OMG's Agent Working Group (which reports to Internet Platform SIG and Electronic
Commerce Domain Task Force) has developed an Agent RFI and is developing
an Agent Green Paper (architecture paper) to guide OMG in the development
of an agent technology roadmap for future agent standards. Shared
membership between OMG and FIPA and this fortuitous timing makes it possible
for OMG and FIPA specifications to become well aligned.
1b To what OMG processes is the organization's
work related and why?
Both OMG and FIPA are non-profit organizations whose
members develop reference architectures and then define specifications
(not implementations) for the main interfaces in the reference architecture.
FIPA normative specifications primarily address domain generic platform
agent interfaces. FIPA uses informative domain specific scenarios
in a formal way to validate their platform interfaces and supply information
to potential users of their specifications.
2a What is the benefit to OMG
of liaison with the organization?
OMG does not currently have an agent reference architecture
nor an established body of work in the agent area. Agents are likely
to become more important in systems development in the coming years.
Standardized means of treating agents and agent systems will be desirable
to OMG. Because it is likely that agent technology and object technology
specifications will eventually overlap (e.g., both need namespaces, have
lifecycle services, use persistence, address mobility, etc.) then it is
desirable that the two families of specifications not conflict needlessly.
FIPA's new agent reference architecture will develop
well-defined abstract architectures and map these to concrete instantiations.
OMG specifications may provide a good basis for these instantiations, providing
services such as naming, object transport and messaging. In addition, there
may be agent specific services that OMG must support. It is important to
co-ordinate these efforts in order to ensure that there is a good synergy
between the two specification efforts.
2b What is the benefit to the organization
of liaison with OMG?
FIPA has adopted UML and IIOP as required standards.
However, on the whole, FIPA standards are more abstract than OMG standards.
OMG standards will for the most part be used to inform FIPA's standardization
3a How should the organization act
as a requirements source for OMG?
FIPA collects agent technology requirements.
One FIPA document on these is at http://drogo.cselt.stet.it/fipa/yorktown/nyrequirements.htm.
FIPA's informative domain specifications provide scenarios of use to inform
application developers how to use FIPA normative specifications.
In addition, the FIPA architectural specification process should create
requirements for the OMG agent working group.
3b How should OMG act as a requirements
source for the organization?
OMG plans to issue an Agent Technology RFI in 1999
requesting information on agent technology and then to issue one or more
Agent Technology RFPs that result in agent specifications. FIPA is
invited to respond and help organize the responses into an Agent Technology
Green Paper that can be viewed as a natural extension or elaboration of
the OMG Object Management Architecture and that is complementary to FIPA's
Agent Reference Architecture effort.
Since OMG also has an existing set of specifications
that may provide support to implementations of FIPA compliant agent systems,
it should inform the FIPA architecture process with a pragmatic understanding
of available distributed object oriented architectures, services, facilities,
and interchange formats.
4 How and when should OMG adopted specifications
be introduced into the organization?
FIPA recognizes that CORBA is an important platform
for the development of agent systems. In addition, FIPA recognizes
that there are many CORBAservices - such as message transport and event
notification services - and other OMG standards - such as UML - which are
important for its requirements. FIPA intends to make its standards
compatible where possible with these services and standards. Where
necessary, FIPA intends to use OMG revision processes to communicate any
extension or changes to OMG standards.
5, 6, and 7 concern divergence
from OMG specifications:
5 How should OMG best minimize divergence
from OMG specifications arising during the organization's adoption process?
Acting now to establish a strong and active liaison
will help converge OMG and FIPA specifications. It is in both organization's
interests to coordinate since both are concerned with interoperability
and an OMG-only or FIPA-only solution will not serve this end. Working
together on a common abstract agent architecture is one way to minimize
divergence. OMG racing ahead with individual agent specifications
in the absence of an agent architecture might not best serve OMG or FIPA
in the long run.
6 How should OMG handle divergence
from OMG specifications in the organization's newly-adopted product?
FIPA does not create products other than specifications
and any divergent proposals for FIPA specifications would be handled via
a strong active liaison.
7 What role should OMG play in the
organization's amendment and interpretation processes after OMG specifications
have been adopted by the organization?
Any questions of interpretation of OMG specifications
would be referred to the OMG Agent Working Group via the established liaison.
8 Who will provide conformance testing?
FIPA currently has no conformance testing model.
The newly formed Architecture TC in FIPA does have as part of its charter
conformance and compatibility testing.