Towards Reuse in Agent Oriented Information Systems: The Importance of Being Purposive

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The emergence of large information systems has pushed software specification into the area of business modelling to adequately capture and consider business requirements. At the same time, there has been a move toward techniques for specifying the behaviours of and the knowledge associated with intelligent agents as these are increasingly found as important components of those information systems. This paper presents four software models useful for specifying the requirements of an agent oriented information system. Adopting a similar notation for each model smooths the transition between models. It will be shown that it is in the relationships between these models there is scope for capturing purposive descriptions that facilitate reuse at various levels. A commentary on the importance of an explicit representation of the purpose for which a software component is intended is provided followed by an example, from the domain of military simulation, that illustrates the model and its application. The aim of this paper is to present a modelling approach that unifies business models, use case models, agent behavioural models and domain models, for the purpose of specifying an agent oriented information system.