Interoperability Support for E-Business Applications through Standards, Services, and Multi-Agent Systems

Interoperability Support for E-Business Applications through Standards, Services, and Multi-Agent Systems

Rainer Unland
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0146-8.ch007
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Intelligent agents can be regarded as autonomous, problem-solving computational entities with social abilities that are capable of effective pro-active behavior in open and dynamic environments. If the term entity is replaced by service the substantial overlap in interests between both communities can easily be imagined. Nevertheless, right now the main research focus of each community seems to be different. The service-oriented computing community concentrates mainly on developing service engineering methodologies. Active topics in the multi-agent systems community are collaboration, self-organization, adaptability, flexibility, proactiveness, and interoperability. The overlap between those two communities and the fact that they concentrate on different research topics can definitely be seen as a huge chance since it means that each community may be able to benefit from the research efforts of the other.
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Introduction And Motivation

Since the introduction of computers one dream has been to be able to just let the computer know what kind of problem one wants to be solved and leave it to the computer to develop, run, and manage the corresponding software. One of the first serious approaches in that direction was Z (Spivey, 1988). Z provides a set of mathematical (formal) conventions which roughly allows the user to model a computer system (hardware as well as software!) by describing its state and the necessary operations that can change its state (cf. Jacky, 1997). While Z may have been a first approach to pave the way for a declarative description of computing systems it never got popular, mainly due to its theoretical foundation (which could never be hidden at its interface) and due to the (too) many restrictions that came with it. Many other less ambitious approaches for software development on more abstract, thus, less algorithm-oriented levels were proposed but none of them got really close to the above mentioned goal of an easy to understand purely declarative application description language.

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