OMG Request For Information
Agent Technology in OMA
OMG Document # ec/99-03-10
Object Management Group
Framingham Corporate Center
492 Old Connecticut Path
Framingham, MA 01701-4568
Tel: +1-508-820 4300
Fax: +1-508-820 4303
Submissions Due: August 2,
1.1 Objectives of this
This OMG Request For Information (RFI) solicits
information on available agent technology and how to use it in CORBA-based
applications. This information will help guide the OMG in the adoption
of specifications that will extend the OMG Object Management Architecture
(OMA) with agent technology functionality. The
of agent technologies is described below. This RFI solicits relevant
information in several areas: requirements, architectures, designs, projects,
products, protocols, and standards (see
Being Solicited below). The information provided will be used by
the OMG to develop:
* Two points:
an Agent Technology Green Paper * that
suggests possible extensions and further population of the OMG OMA analogous
to the way the Object Services Architecture does (see References).
Responses covering Requirements, Architecture Framework, Standards, and
Interfaces will especially be used to develop and populate this agent architecture
a Roadmap for technology adoption. Responses
covering Requirements and Systems will especially be used to prioritize
technology adoption. Respondents should realize that all else being equal,
objects representing the most significant needs by the broadest range of
user communities will be the top OMG priority. If a respondent lists a
number of agent technologies, it would be helpful for them to indicate
their priorities for adoption by OMG.
a series of Requests for Proposal (RFPs) in
this area. Responses covering Interfaces will especially be considered
in developing RFPs. Those areas with the highest benefit that have mature
technology will be considered for adoption first.
This green paper is not an OMG policy
statement and should not be considered an adopted standard. Instead,
its purpose is to provide (1) an organized overview, survey, and possibly
reference model of the general area known as agent technology and (2) suggestions
for standardizing areas of this new technology using the OMG process.
It is important to point out that
Agent Working Group <http://www.objs.com/isig/agents.html> is already
moving forward to develop the Agent
Technology Green Paper <http://www.objs.com/isig/agents.html#green-paper>.
So respondents should review that green paper to see how their submissions
to this RFI improve the document.
1.2 Who Should Respond
The OMG encourages users, consultants, systems integrators,
and developers of agent tools, technologies, mechanisms, protocols, products,
and services to become involved with this process by responding to this
RFI. OMG members and non-members may submit to this RFI.
(Note: Only OMG member companies can respond to follow-on RFPs that may
result from this RFI.) Current compliance with OMG specifications
is not a prerequisite for response to this RFI. The RFI response
can consist of pre-existing product documentation, but should also be organized
and presented in accordance with this RFI.
The OMG Agent Working Group and the Domain Technical
Committee will use responses to this RFI to plan and structure a series
of RFPs soliciting OMG IDL interfaces, corresponding semantic descriptions
and sequencing constraints, and other relevant potential OMG standards.
1.3 About OMG
The Object Management Group (OMG) is the world's
largest software consortium with a membership of over 800 vendor, developer,
and end user organizations. Established in 1989, the mission of the Object
Management Group (OMG) is to enable rapid assembly of distributed reliable
interoperable applications from standardized reusable component parts.
To this end, OMG has established a distributed and object-based software
architectural framework and is populating it with a collection of component
specifications. The OMG adopts interface and protocol specifications, based
on commercially available object technology, that together define the OMG
Object Management Architecture (OMA) consisting of:
OMG adopts specifications for interfaces and protocols
by explicit vote on a technology-by-technology basis. The specifications
selected each fill in a portion of the OMA Reference Model. OMG bases its
decisions on both business and technical considerations. The OMG Technical
Committees (Platform Technology Committee - PTC, Domain Technology Committee
- DTC) provides technical guidance to the OMG in making decisions about
specifications. The TCs are composed of representatives of all OMG member
companies. The TCs are operated by a Vice President of Technology, working
full-time for the OMG itself (as opposed to being an employee of a member
a distributed message passing backplane called the
Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA),
a collection of component specifications for basic
object services (CORBAservices, the Object Services Architecture),
a higher-level collection of common facilities (CORBAfacilities,
the Common Facilities Architecture), and
collections of domain objects for a variety of domains
(e.g., manufacturing, finance, electronic commerce).
The TCs operate in a Request for Proposal mode,
requesting technology to fill open portions of the Reference Model from
international industry. The responses to such a proposal, taken within
the specific RFP response period, are evaluated by a Task Force of a TC
with the full TC then voting on a recommendation to the Board for approval
of a specific addition to the set of OMA specifications. Once a specification
is adopted by OMG, it is made available for use by both OMG members and
There is also an OMG fast track process. This
process allows faster adoption of technology in the case where an existing
OMG compliant specification exists and there is likely to be no competition.
Should the RFI responses indicate that this is the case, use of the fast
track process will be considered.
For more information on OMG, its technology adoption
process, and and OMG Agent Working Group, see:
The goal of this RFI is to canvas the industry for
technologies and required interfaces for exploiting agent technology in
applications built using OMG technology. The scope of this RFI includes
but is not limited to the following areas:
kinds of agents: mobile, intelligent, information
access, user interface, ...
kinds of agent systems, societies, and meta-agent
facilities (e.g., grid)
kinds of agent communication: agent communication
langauges like KQML or FIPA ACL, agent negotiation
kinds of ontology description mechanisms
agent and agent system interworking and federation
agent system management and administration, agent
life cycle services, system-wide properties in agent systems (-ilities,
agent security, risk management, survivability
planning and scheduling mechanisms
agent relationship to objects, OMA, CORBA, and CORBAservices
extensions to existing OMG services and facilities
(e.g., traders that support inference, secure agent extensions)
agent modeling and specification techniques
debugging, validation, and simulation approaches
3.0 Information Being
This RFI is seeking information in the categories
described below. Respondents are asked only to address those areas for
which they have expertise and/or interest. Please consider the purpose
of this RFI when responding so your time is spent on issues that will be
helpful to reviewers. It will be especially useful if submissions are phrased
to become additions or improvements to the OMG
Agent Technology Green Paper <http://www.objs.com/isig/agents.html#green-paper>.
Respondents may consider areas not explicitly requested if they feel the
information provides useful guidance.
3.1 Agent Definitions
Respondents are asked to define and/or qualify key
terminology they use. This might include the word "agent" which is
used in many senses (e.g., information agent, agent system) or terms like
ontology, grid, mobility, etc. A Glossary will be part of the Agent
Technology Green Paper.
3.2 Requirements, Issues, Risks
Respondents are asked to clearly identify:
3.2.1 user and technical
requirements within the scope of this RFI
User community requirements and industry experience
are very important in determining the urgency of technology adoption in
3.2.2 issues to take into account
in adopting technology or scheduling that adoption
3.2.3 risks in adopting technology
3.2.4 areas in which there is a
strong need today or projected in the near future
3.3 Existing Relevant Standards
Responses are requested to identify relevant standards
efforts associated with this RFI. These include de facto industry
standards as well as de jure standards developed by recognized standards
organizations. Where relevant, responses should identify:
3.3.1 standards that have a strong
Identification of standards groups that would provide
beneficial liaison with the OMG via the OMG Standards Liaison Subcommittee
is one of objectives in this RFI including understanding how OMG can work
with these as well as possible roadblocks and workarounds.
3.3.2 areas that are suffering from
a lack of standard mechanisms
3.3.3 differences between standards
as well as problems with current standards that prevent their acceptance
or cause problems in their implementation
3.3.4 the mode of standards development,
time frame of adoption and how OMG can work with other communities to avoid
duplicating their efforts
3.3.5 key standards documents and
how to obtain them
3.4 Architectural Framework
Responses are requested that identify extensions
needed to extend OMG's Object Management Architecture to support a collection
of complementary agent standards that is consistent with existing OMG CORBA,
IIOP, CORBAservices and CORBAfacilities and at the same time provides the
added benefits of agent technology. It is possible for an architectural
framework to consist of multiple levels of decomposition. The lowest level
would ideally represent specific RFPs that could be issued for technology
adoption first. It is also possible that the architecture will consist
mainly of a collection of short descriptions of complementary agent tools
and interfaces that complement other OMG standards. The architecture might
address agent systems and platforms, agent system management, security,
how agents make use of CORBA and CORBAservices, minimal to full-featured
agent systems, system dependencies, and agent system interoperability.
Respondents are especially encouraged to identify
specific candidate interface standards. This may include objects, groups
of objects, or others forms of interface.
3.6 Modifications and Enhancements of Existing OMG
Respondents are also especially encouraged
to identify existing OMG specifications that are useful for agent-based
applications but that may need modifications and/or enhancements and to
describe these needed changes.
3.7 Priorities and Roadmap
Responses are encouraged to recommend prioritization
(e.g., near or far term, high or low) for adopting agent technology standards,
especially useful will be suggestions for RFPs.
3.8 Existing and Planned Systems
Respondents are encouraged to identify where and
how agent and object technology is currently being applied together in
existing and planned systems and applications and where and how OMG technologies
can play a role to improve interoperability or scaleability.
4.0 Instructions for Responding
to this RFI
Respondents to this RFI shall designate a single
contact for receipt of all subsequent information regarding this RFI. The
name of this contact will be made available to all OMG members. Documentation
submitted in response to this RFI will be available to all OMG members.
4.1 Response due date
Responses to this RFI must be received at OMG no
later than 5:00 pm US EST (21:00 GMT) August 2, 1999. Early responses
4.2 Format of RFI Responses
The following outline is offered to assist in the
development of your response. You should include:
Although the OMG does not limit the size of responses,
you are asked to consider that the OMG will rely upon volunteer resources
with limited availability to review these responses. In order to assure
that your response receives the attention it deserves, you are asked to
consider limiting the size of your response (not counting any supporting
documentation) to approximately 25 pages.
A cover letter -- the cover letter should include
a brief summary of your response such as indicating which areas you are
responding to and indicating specific references into supporting documentation
included in your response.
Your response to any or all of the areas of information
as requested by Section 3.0 of this RFI.
If necessary, please include a glossary that maps
your terminology to OMG standard terminology. (See the Appendices to the
OMA Guide and the CORBA Specification for OMG’s standard terminology.)
If you consider supporting documentation to be
necessary, please indicate which portions of the supporting documentation
are relevant to this RFI.
NOTE: According to the Policies and Procedures
of the OMG Technical Process, proprietary and confidential material
may not be included in any response to the OMG. Responses become public
documents of the OMG. If the response is subject to copyright, it must
include a waiver of that copyright to allow unlimited duplication by OMG
staff and a limited waiver of that copyright to allow OMG members to make
up to fifty (50) copies for OMG review purposes only.
4.3 How to Submit
OMG requests responses and any supporting documentation
to be packaged in either of the following ways:
Agent Technology Desk
electronic submissions: one electronic copy in IBM
PC machine-readable format (ASCII, HTML, RTF, MIF, PDF) submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org
with subject line AGENT RFI RESPONSE: <title> accompanied by one paper
copy sent to the address below.
paper only submission: 50 paper copies of the response
and any supporting documentation sent to the address below.
Object Management Group Inc.
Framingham Corporate Center
492 Old Connecticut Path
Framingham, MA 01701-4568
The outside of packages/envelopes containing submissions
or any other communication regarding this RFI should be clearly marked
"OMG Agent RFI Response".
Other communication regarding this RFI in the
future may be addressed to:
Phone: +1-508-820 4300
Your organization should be prepared to handle
requests for additional paper copies of your response and supporting documentation.
4.4 No Reimbursements
The OMG will not reimburse submitters for any costs
in conjunction with their responses to this RFI.
5.0 Response Review Process
Responses to this RFI are to be reviewed for the
following express intention of providing OMG with technical information
and guidance in writing the forthcoming series of RFPs.
The OMG Agent Working Group will review responses
under direction of the OMG Electronic Commerce Domain Task Force.
After evaluating the responses, the OMG Agent Working Group will construct
a road map that outlines the RFPs to be issued for agent technology.
In contrast to this RFI, only OMG Contributing
Members are eligible to respond to an RFP. For further guidance on
the RFP process, see the Policies and Procedures of the OMG Technical
Process and the
RFP template <http://www.omg.org/docs/ab/98-03-02.doc>
included in the Appendices of this document. As a forewarning to
organizations who intend to respond the forthcoming RFP(s) when they are
issued, please note that responding to an RFP requires:
A Letter of Intent signed by an officer of your organization
signifying your intent to respond to the RFP and a statement of your organization’s
willingness to comply with the OMG’s requirements (e.g., your willingness
to license the proposed technology openly).
The technology submission described in accordance
to the RFP. Any technology adopted by the OMG must be commercially available
from a Corporate Member. A statement describing how the submission meets
this commercial availability requirement is required with the submission.
5.2 Clarification of
To fully comprehend the information contained within
a response to this RFI, the reviewing group may seek further clarification
on that response. This clarification may be verbal, written, or electronic.
We requests (but do not require) that submitters attend the meeting following
the RFI deadline to present their responses.
The schedule for responding to this RFI is as follows.
Please note that early responses are encouraged.
NOTE: This schedule is subject to change based
on the number of RFI responses received and the information in the responses.
RFI issued March 26, 1999
RFI responses due August 2, 1999
Review of RFI responses August 23-24, 1999 at
the OMG meeting in San Jose, CA
Road map for RFPs issued November 1999
See <http://www.omg.org/cgi-bin/doclist.pl> -or-
Agent Working Group homepage <http://www.objs.com/isig/agents.html>
Agent Technology Green Paper <http://www.objs.com/isig/agents.html#green-paper>
MASIF Revision, orbos/98-03-09: MASIF Revision
Common Object Request Broker Architecture and
Specification (CORBA), Revision 2, Object Management Group, August
CORBA Fundamentals and Programming, J. Seigel,
J. Wiley, 1996.
CORBAservices, Object Management Group, March
31, 1995, OMG TC Document 95-3-31.
The Essential CORBA, T. Mowbray & R. Zahavi,
J. Wiley, 1995.
Object Management Architecture Guide (OMA
Guide), Object Management Group, September 1995.
Object Services Architecture, Object Management
Group, August 1992, OMG TC Document 92-08-04.
Policies and Procedures of the OMG Technical Process,
Object Management Group, OMG Document pp/98-10-01 (ftp://ftp.omg.org/pub/docs/pp/98-10-01.txt).
OMG Generic RFP Template - ab/98-03-02 - .doc,