Agent Technology White Paper and RFP Roadmap

Draft .02
29 November 1999


Executive Summary

The purpose of this white paper is to provide OMG with a rationale (policy, motivation) for a proposed series of Agent Technology RFPs.  The list of RFPs is culled from material covered in the Agent Technology Green Paper and discussed at OMG Agent Working Group meetings.  The rationale provides reasons to order RFPs the way we recommend below.  Nevertheless, we recognize that experience with initial RFPs may lead to later revision of this document including revising the list of RFPs or their ordering so we have not spent much time ordering later RFPs, rather providing criteria to select the initial core.

Candidate RFPs

All of these RFP candidates need more work.  Here they are only sketched at the level we talked about them during the Boston meeting.  Some additional work is needed to insure that
(a) this is the right list of RFPs and we are not missing something important
(b) the list takes into account other relevant OMG work and avoids duplication, and
(c) we are not duplicating work done on agent standards elsewhere (e.g., FIPA)

Agent identity

Message transport

  • Durable, reliable; send/receive
  • Might need to build a transport gateway
  • current OMG architecture handles this.
  • Concrete realization of FIPA transport
  • Use event or messaging style?
  • IIOP, events, CORBA, msg, Java msg, com/OLE
  • Message source and value types
  • FIPA role, OMG role, gateways
  • Agent discovery



    Content Language

    Agent security ("Trust")

    Agent/object mobility (triaged - consider requirements sooner so as not to preclude but RFP later)

    UML profile for agents & ACL & agent platforms

    Other possible RFP areas that are out of scope for the near term

    Listed below are a number of valid RFP topics but doing the work to refine them into RFPs awaits champions for each.  If someone is interested, please come to OMG Agent WG meetings and participate.

    Criteria for Sequencing RFPs

    There is more material here than can be considered in one RFP so the RFPs must be sequenced according to some adoption roadmap.

    The center of interest in the Agent Working Group is in multi agent systems that are used in application development in  robust ways in distributed environments that operate in LANS, WANs and over the web.  For the present, we are less focused on: individual agents, desktop agents, collaborative filtering, and agent-user interfaces.

    Criteria that can affect the ordering of RFPs are as follows:

    Initial Roadmap

    We recommend that the first two bundles of RFPs be: The first bundle is in several ways orthogonal to the second, at least insofar as different ACLs could be accommodated by the same Agent Interoperability services.  Also, within these bundles, the services should be separately specified as they are separable but they must work closely together so they are included in the same bundle.  We currently seem to be on the vector to work on the first bundle first and then the second but we can decide about overlap at the Mesa meeting.

    Next on the list should be Agent Security RFP when we decide what aspects of security are special to agents and go beyond object security.

    Other RFPs will be considered at a later date:  these will include some from the deferred list.

    IDL (if any) and UML extensions needed by agents will be requested as part of every agent RFP.


    Issues with current document