Intelligent Agent

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Chapter 1 Intelligent Software Agent

1.1 Intelligent Agent

An Agent can be defined as follows: “An Agent is a software thing that knows how to do things that you could probably do yourself if you had the time” (Ted Seller of IBM Almaden Research Centre). Another definition is: “A piece of software which performs a given task using information gleaned from its environment to act in a suitable manner so as to complete the task successfully. The software should be able to adapt itself based on changes occurring in its environment, so that a change in circumstances will still yield the intended results” (G.W.Lecky – Thompson).

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An Intelligent Agent can be divided into weak and strong notations.

Table 1.1 shows the properties for both the notations.

Weak notation

Strong notation



Social ability


Reactivity & Proactivity


Temporal continuity


Goal oriented


Table 1.1

1.1.1 Intelligency

Intelligence refers to the ability of the agent to capture and apply domain specific knowledge and processing to solve problems. An Intelligent Agent uses knowledge, information and reasoning to take reasonable actions in pursuit of a goal. It must be able to recognise events, determine the meaning of those events and then take actions on behalf of a user. One central element of intelligent behaviour is the ability to adopt or learn from experience. Any Agent that can learn has an advantage over one that cannot. Adding learning or adaptive behaviour to an intelligent agent elevates it to a higher level of ability. In order to construct an Intelligent Agent, we have to use the following topics of Artificial Intelligence:

* Knowledge Representation

* Reasoning

* Learning [5]

1.1.2 Operation

The functionality of a mobile agent is illustrated in 1.1. Computer A and Computer B are connected via a network. In step 1 a mobile Agent is going to be dispatched from Computer A towards Computer B. In the mean time Computer A will suspend its execution. Step 2 shows this mobile Agent is now on network with its state and code. In step 3 this mobile Agent will reach to its destination, computer B, which will resume its execution. [7]

1.1.3 Strengths and Weaknesses

Many researchers are now developing methods for improving the technology, with more standardisation and better programming environments that may allow mobile agents to be used in products.

It is obvious that the more an application gets intelligent, the more it also gets unpredictable and uncontrollable.

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