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Agents, KQML and Knowledge Sharing

October 1997

This file is a list of items added to the UMBC agents pages this month and is in maintained chronological order.
1999: July,
1998: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, June, July, Aug,
1997: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, June, July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec,
1996: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, June, July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec,
1995: Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec.

Knowledge Management Consortium

Ed Swanstrom ( has announced the formation of the Knowledge Management Consortium as a not-for-profit organization whose goal is to develop standards for "knowledge management" using the OMG as a model. The initial membership is PLATINUM Technology, Fujitsu/ICL, and Agilis Corporation as companies with interest expressed from individuals in a number of other companies. The initial group will be developing a draft of the charter over the next few weeks.

Tubular Mobile agents

Dave Halls notes two recent papers written with Jean Bacon and John Bates on their mobile agents work. Location-Oriented Multimedia, IEEE Personal Communications, October 1997. The paper describes how the Tube mobile code system (written in Scheme and supporting Scheme mobile "agents") has been used to support mobile (multimedia) applications. Higher-Order Mobile Agents on the Java Virtual Machine. This paper descreibes how higher-order mobile code can make the problem of to migrate transparently with a single function call. The have ported their own scheme-based higher-order mobile code system to run on the Java virtual machine, allowing them to take advantage of Java's ubiquity, while writing agents that have more obvious control flow and fewer side effects than their Java equivalents.

NSF's ITO Program

Les Gasser of NSF reports that the Information Technology and Organizations (ITO) Program supports research fundamental to understanding and developing computing and communications at organizational and social levels, and understanding the relationships between computation, information processing, and human social systems of all sizes and scales. Topics of research supported under this program include theory and models of organizational information/knowledge processing; networked information systems for scientific collaboration; multiagent systems/distributed artificial intelligence; coordinated work and decisionmaking; and impacts/policy implications of information technology. ITO is part of the Information, Robotics, and Intelligent Systems (IRIS) Division of NSF and will soon be rennamed as the "Computation and Social Systems Program".

Readings in Agents

Readings in Agents Edited by Michael N. Huhns and Munindar P. Singh, Foreword by Les Gasser, October 1997, Morgan Kaufman, 520 pages; paper; ISBN 1-55860-495-2. "This important collection unifies the extensive recent literature on agent technology, presenting a wealth of the finest published papers on both theory and applications. Huhns and Singh have drawn on research communities in AI, databases, distributed computing, and programming languages to assemble the most comprehensive overview of the agent world available. The editors add a summary of the field and its terminology, history, and major issues, together with introductions to each of the thematic chapters and discussions of the significance and context of the individual papers."

Agent Technology Handbook

Agent Technology Handbook (McGraw-Hill Series on Computer Communications), by Dimitris N. Chorafas Paperback, 416 pages, McGraw Hill Text, June 1, 1997, ISBN: 0070119236. "The book particularly focuses on the applications of agents in telecommunications and computer communications, including network management with agents. Using a management orientation with scores of practical examples, Chorafas discusses architecture characteristics relevant to agents, how to build and use agents, and important aspects of KQML, and C++ Telescript. Crystal-clear chapters explore how to use agents to:
  • Concurrently design software and hardware in a network
  • Improve software functionality and time to market
  • Help with mission-critical functions
  • Improve service quality through rapid deployment of knowledge robots
  • Enhance reliability and network diagnostics
  • Solve the year 2000 problem
Coverage extends to handling the risks of man-made systems, fault tolerance, and the cost of network failures, as well as application of agents to the Internet and private Intranets." 10/26/97

FIPA'97 Specifications

The Foundation for Intelligent Physical Agents ( FIPA) met in Munich this October to complete the 1997 draft of their specifications. Preliminary versions for the seven specification documents are available as Microsoft word documents and will be published in their final form by 15 November 1997. This specification is published as FIPA 97 ver. 1.0. FIPA members are undertaking field trials to validate FIPA 97. Feedbacks from members and non-members should be emailed . During 1998 FIPA will publish FIPA 97 ver. 2.0 that will incorporate whatever adaptations will be deemed necessary to take into account the results of field trials. The next FIPA meeting will be held in Palo Alto California January 26-30. Call for proposals for FIPA 98 is available. 10/26/97

Animated Interface Agents

Applied Artificial Intelligence will feature a special issue on Animated Interface Agents, to be published in 1998. This call for papers is primarily directed at the authors of papers presented at the IJCAI-97 Workshop on Animated Interface Agents. However, other authors working in this area are also encouraged to contribute papers. Submitters should advise Elisabeth André ( of their intent to submit as soon as they can, but no later than December 1 1997. The deadline for the receipt of full papers is December 12 1997. 10/26/97

From agent theory to agent implementation

From agent theory to agent implementation is a Symposium at the 14th European Meeting on Cybernetics and Systems Research (EMCSR '98), April 14-17, 1998, Vienna, Austria. Agent-based technology has made a fast inroad from highly specialized workshops on topics such as ``situatedness'' and ``embeddedness'' to mainstream textbooks. In the course of this development, it has also been driving the furthering of established notions and frameworks (e.g., the shift from ``perfect rationality'' to ``bounded optimality'' or the introduction of a ``social level'' above the ``knowledge level'') as well as favoring the intensification of interdisciplinary exchanges of ideas with as diverse fields as economics, control theory, evolutionary biology and ethology, or psychology and neurology, taking on ``irrational'' aspects of cognition in open worlds. The main objective of this symposium is to foster the exchange of ideas and experience among researchers working on theoretical and practical issues of agent technology, covering both the micro and macro aspects of agent design. The submission deadline is November 8, 1997 10/26/97

agent-oriented approaches to knowledge engineering

KAW'98 track on agent-oriented approaches to knowledge engineering, 18-23 April, 1998, Voyager Inn, Banff, Alberta, Canada. In this workshop, comparable to the Agents workshop organized last year, the challenge with which the knowledge acquisition community is faced, namely to design modeling frameworks within which agents, and interaction between agents, can be adequately modeled, will be addressed. Papers should address one or more of the aspects mentioned above. For questions please contact Frances Brazier ( or Jan Treur ( Draft papers (up to 20 pages) should be sent electronically to Brian Gaines before Oct 31, 1998. Acceptance and revision notices will be e-mailed by Dec 31, 1998. Revised papers (20 pages) should be submitted by Feb 28, 1998, so that hardcopies may be bound together for distribution at the workshop. Authors who submit papers to the workshop will be expected to help with the refereeing of papers submitted by other individuals. 10/26/97

Learning User Interests through Heuristic Phrase Extraction

The InfoFinder Agent: Learning User Interests through Heuristic Phrase Extraction, Bruce Krulwich and Chad Burkey, IEEE Expert/Intelligent Systems & Their Applications, Vol. 12, No. 5, September/October 1997. InfoFinder is an intelligent agent that learns user information interests from sets of messages or other online documents that users have classified. While this problem has been addressed by a number of recent research initiatives, InfoFinder’s approach is innovative in a number of ways. First, the agent uses heuristics to extract significant phrases from documents for learning rather than using statistical techniques. This enables it to learn highly general search criteria based on a small number of sample documents. Second, the agent's induction algorithms based on the observation that sample documents in such an application will not be uniformly distributed, because of the fact that users will tend to classify positive examples while browsing while classifying negative examples only when the agent makes a bad recommendation. Third, the agent learns standard decision trees for each user category.These decision trees are easily transformed into search query strings for standard search systems rather than requiring specialized search engines, and are significantly more expressive than other representations such as positive and negative word lists. 10/26/97

Deception, Fraud and Trust in Agent Societies

Agents'98 workshop on Deception, Fraud and Trust in Agent Societies, Minneapolis/St Paul, USA, May 9, 1998. The aim of the workshop is to bring together researchers that can contribute to a better understanding of trust and deception in agent societies. Most agent models assume secure and reliable communication to exist between agents. However, this ideal situation is seldom met in real life. Therefore, many techniques (e.g. contracts, signatures, long-term personnel relationships) have been evolved over time to detect and prevent deception and fraud in human communication, exchanges and relations, and hence to assure trust between agents. The authors must send by email the title page of their paper by January 15th with submissions sent electronically, as a postscript or MSword format file, by January 20th. For more information, contact Rino Falcone (

Agent Mediated Electronic Trading

AMET'98, Workshop on Agent Mediated Electronic Trading, Minneapolis/St Paul, USA, May 9, 1998. This workshop is part of the 2nd International Conference on Autonomous Agents (Agents'98). This workshop intends to set the scene for the assessment of the challenges that agent-based electronic commerce faces as well as the opportunities it creates. By focussing on agent mediated interactions we expect to bring together specialists from different disciplines who will contribute theoretical, methodological and application perspectives in the narrowly focused topic that nevertheless involves wide ranging concerns such as: agent architectures, institutionalization, economic-theoretic modelling, legal frameworks, policy guidelines. The deadline for paper submission is January 15, 1998.

Bots : The Origin of New Species

Bots : The Origin of New Species, Andrew Leonard, Published by Hardwired, July 1, 1997, ISBN: 1888869054. Is cyberspace the new primordial ooze in which out-of-control bots are mutating, multiplying, and engaging in a near-Darwinian struggle to survive? Where is this escalation heading? This is the first book written on the subject of bots. It is an in-depth investigation into a new reality of sky-rocketing complexity, dangerous malfunction, and masterful malice, drawing a powerful parallel between the biological and the digital evolution of species. here's a quote from J. D. Biersdorfer of The New York Times Book Review: "In his ingenious Bots: The Origin of New Species, Leonard, a writer on technology, takes an in-depth look at the various little automated bits of indigenous computer code roaming the bandwidth of cyberspace, and at how these aptly named mailbots, chatterbots, spambots, searchbots and their kind affect the lives of Internet users every day.... Writing in a blend of English and cyberjargon, Leonard cleverly uses Bots as a vehicle to explore the psychology and anthropology of popular technology." 10/26/97

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