Workflow Management and Mobile Agents: How to Get the Best of Both Approaches

Workflow Management and Mobile Agents: How to Get the Best of Both Approaches

Antonio Corradi (University of Bologna, Italy), Alex Landini (Emil Data S.r.l., Italy) and Stefano Monti (University of Bologna, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-107-8.ch008
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Service composition is an extremely powerful and versatile way to aggregate and reuse distributed services and software components into richer and complex scenarios. Workflow Management Systems have emerged as one of the leading technologies to execute service compositions but typically fail to support distributed scenarios, where distributed services should be invoked in a scalable and effective way. Mobile Agent platforms propose a suitable framework to distribute the execution of complex service compositions, and therefore to enable scalability and improve performance. However, current proposals for MA-based WFMSs still target rather static and poorly distributed scenarios and exploit agent migration benefits only in a partial and insufficient way. The authors’ model proposes to overcome these problems via a richer and more effective agent delegation strategy that can also cope with dynamic scenarios where services can move and replicate, in order to achieve a better integration by taking advantage of both technologies.
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In ubiquitous computing scenarios, users require to access services and contents from anywhere, at anytime, and with any device at hand. This forces service provisioning support platforms to address several challenging and debated research areas, such as mobility management, multimodality, and context-awareness support. Service-oriented middleware architectures have recently emerged (Boari, 06) and propose to solve the inherent complexity and heterogeneity of such scenarios by exploiting a modular and composition-based approach. This section describes the most relevant fields of ubiquitous computing and provides an insight into the most relevant middleware support proposals for each one of them. Then, we deepen the description of service-oriented architectural approaches in designing large ubiquitous systems applications and argue on the need for a scalable and decentralized infrastructure for the execution of large complex ubiquitous services.

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