Multi-Agent Active Services for Online Social Networks

Multi-Agent Active Services for Online Social Networks

Enrico Franchi (University of Parma, Italy), Agostino Poggi (University of Parma, Italy) and Michele Tomaiuolo (University of Parma, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5884-4.ch004
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Abstract

This chapter has the goal of showing how multi-agent systems can be a suitable means for supporting the development and the composition of services in dynamic and complex environments. In particular, the chapter copes with the problem of developing services in the field of social networks. After an introduction on the relationships between multi-agent systems, services, and social networks, the chapter describes how multi-agent systems can support the interaction and the collaboration among the members of a social network through a set of active services.
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Background

Agent, software agent and multi-agent system are terms that find their way in a number of research areas, including artificial intelligence, databases, operating systems and computer networks literature, as well as in several application areas, including business process management, network management, power systems control and space exploration (Pěchouček & Mařík, 2008; Bordini, 2009). Although there is no universally accepted definition for the term agent (Genesereth & Ketchpel, 1994; Wooldridge & Jennings, 1995; Russell & Norvig, 2003), all definitions agree that an agent is essentially a special software component that is:

  • Autonomous: As it should operate without the direct intervention of humans or others and should have control over its actions and internal state.

  • Social: As it should cooperate with humans or other agents in order to achieve its tasks.

  • Reactive: Because it should perceive its environment and respond in a timely fashion to changes that occur in the environment.

  • Pro-Active: As it should not simply act in response to its environment, but should also be able to exhibit goal-directed behavior by taking the initiative.

Moreover, some definitions assert that if necessary an agent can be:

  • Mobile: Showing the ability to travel between different nodes in a computer network.

  • Truthful: Providing the certainty that it will not deliberately communicate false information.

  • Benevolent: Always trying to perform what is asked to it.

  • Rational: Always acting in order to achieve its goals, and never to prevent its goals being achieved.

  • Able to Learn: Adapting itself to fit its environment and to the desires of its users.

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