Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 372-396

First online:

Technology diffusion: analysing the diffusion of agent technologies

  • Jez McKeanAffiliated withJazzle
  • , Hayden ShorterAffiliated withAepona Ltd
  • , Michael LuckAffiliated withDepartment of Computer Science, King’s College London Email author 
  • , Peter McBurneyAffiliated withDepartment of Computer Science, University of Liverpool
  • , Steven WillmottAffiliated withDept Llenguatges i Sistemes Informatics, Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya

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Despite several examples of deployed agent systems, there remain barriers to the large-scale adoption of agent technologies. In order to understand these barriers, this paper considers aspects of marketing theory which deal with diffusion of innovations and their relevance to the agents domain and the current state of diffusion of agent technologies. In particular, the paper examines the role of standards in the adoption of new technologies, describes the agent standards landscape, and compares the development and diffusion of agent technologies with that of object-oriented programming. The paper also reports on a simulation model developed in order to consider different trajectories for the adoption of agent technologies, with trajectories based on various assumptions regarding industry structure and the existence of competing technology standards. We present details of the simulation model and its assumptions, along with the results of the simulation exercises.


Agents Multi-agent systems Simulation models Technology diffusion