Towards an agent middleware framework for e-commerce
A number of challenges face the developers of distributed agent-based solutions. This is especially true for those developing agent-based solutions for electronic commerce. Key challenges include secure and efficient software agent deployment, secure communications and the difficulties of developing and monitoring agent systems deployed across a network. This paper reports on the development of a Java-based agent distribution framework which provides the following advantages for developing agent-based electronic commerce applications: (1) a secure agent dispatch mechanism based upon agent authentication and role-based security levels, (2) inter-agent communication means that include peer-to-peer communication via its own published objects as well as a multicast event service, (3) encrypted object streams for unicast and multicast communications, (4) reflective communication monitoring for agent system development and visualization, (5) mechanisms for efficient agent distribution, and (6) an easy-to-use environment for making small footprint agents. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000
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