The electronic marketplace of the future will consist of a large number of services located on an open, distributed and heterogeneous platform, which will be used by an even larger number of clients. Mobile Agent Systems are considered to be a precondition for the evolution of such an electronic market. They can provide a flexible infrastructure for this market, i.e. for the installation of new services by service agents as well as for the utilization of these services by client agents.
Mobile Agent Systems basically consist of a number of locations and agents. Locations are (logical) abstractions for (physical) hosts in a computer network. The network of locations serves as a unique and homogeneous platform, while the underlying network of hosts may be heterogeneous and widely distributed. Locations therefore have to guarantee independence from the underlying hard- and software. To make the Mobile Agent System an open platform, the system furthermore has to guarantee security of hosts against malicious attacks.
(User) Agents are active, autonomous software objects, that reside (and are processed) on locations. They can communicate with other agents either locally inside one location or globally with agents on other locations. Mobile Agents furthermore can migrate from one location to another. Mechanisms for the communication between agents and for the migration of agents have to be provided by the Mobile Agent System.
Service Agents are interfaces to services. Next to the normal communication mechanisms between agents of the mobile agent system, they have access to services provided by the underlying host. Because of their machine dependent purpose, service agents are not mobile.
The Atomas project aims in developing an open agent system as an enabling technology for the evolution of a electronic marketplace. This report documents the achieved results of the second year