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Defining agents (1)
By Carlo Revelli
CEO of Cybion

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The different types of agents:

Based on their attributes, some researchers have tried to draw up a typology of agents. Among the most interesting, it is necessary to mention the work of Hyacinth S. Nwana. This researcher at the British Telecom laboratory started by identifying a series of criteria in order to define the various classes of agents.

  • The attributes of mobility make it possible to distinguish static agents from mobile agents.
  • The attributes of operation make it possible to separate "thoughtful and passive" agents (that have a internal symbolism and a model of reasoning which enables them to negotiate or collaborate with other agents) from "reactive" agents (that on the contrary, function by using a "action-reaction" model).
  • The primary attributes are those that closely characterize the majority of the agents. In general, one distinguishes the capacity for autonomy, collaboration and learning. One can affirm that a software component that does not have at least one of these attributes is not an agent. In other words, to be defined as such, an agent must appear in one of the zones of diagram 2.10.
  • The attributes of role make it possible to understand if they are search agents, monitoring agents, e-commerce agents, etc... On a more basic level, they also make it possible to separate the agents that work on the Internet (online) from those which function outside a network (offline).

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