Multi-agent Systems on the Internet: Extending the Scope of Coordination towards Security and Topology

  • Marco Cremonini
  • Andrea Omicini
  • Franco Zambonelli
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1647)


The Internet is rapidly becoming the privileged environment for today’s Multi-Agent Systems. This introduces new issues in MAS’ design and development, from both a conceptual and a technological viewpoint. In particular, the dichotomy between the openness of the execution environment and the need for secure execution models makes governing agents’ interaction a really complex matter, especially when mobile agents are involved. If coordination is managing the interaction, then the issue of agent coordination is strictly related with the issues of topology (how the space where agents live and possibly move is modelled and represented), authentication (how agents are identified), and authorisation (what agents are allowed to do). To this end, we first discuss the TuCSoN model for the coordination of Internet agents, then show how it can be extended to model the space where agents live and interact as a hierarchical collection of locality domains, where programmable coordination media are exploited to rule agent interaction and to support intelligent agent exploration. This makes TuCSoN result in a single coherent framework for the design and development of Internet-based MAS, which takes coordination as the basis for dealing with network topology, authentication and authorisation in a uniform way.


Coordination Multi-Agent Systems Internet Agents Agent Mobility Security 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. [1]
    G. Cabri, L. Leonardi, and F. Zambonelli. Reactive tuple spaces for mobile agent coordination. In Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on Mobile Agents, volume 1477 of LNCS. Springer-Verlag, September 1998.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. [2]
    L. Cardelli and A. D. Gordon. Mobile ambient, 1997.
  3. [3]
    P. Ciancarini. Coordination models and languages as software integrators. ACM Computing Surveys, 28(2), June 1996.Google Scholar
  4. [4]
    P. Ciancarini, R. Tolksdorf, F. Vitali, D. Rossi, and A. Knoche. Coordinating multiagent applications on the WWW: A reference architecture. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, 24(5):362–375, 1998.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. [5]
    Coordination Languages and Models, volume 1594 of LNCS. Springer-Verlag, 1999. 3rd Intl. Conf., COORDINATION’99, Amsterdam, The Nederlands, April 1999.Google Scholar
  6. [6]
    E. Denti, A. Natali, and A. Omicini. Programmable coordination media. In Coordination Languages and Models, volume 1282 of LNCS, pages 274–288. Springer-Verlag, 1997.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. [7]
    E. Denti, A. Natali, and A. Omicini. On the expressive power of a language for programming coordination media. In Proceedings of SAC’98, Atlanta, USA, 1998.Google Scholar
  8. [8]
    E. Denti and A. Omicini. Designing multi-agent systems around an extensible communication abstraction. In Proceedings of the 4th ModelAge Workshop on Formal Models of Agents, LNAI. Springer-Verlag, 1999.Google Scholar
  9. [9]
    S. Farrell. An Internet Attribute Certificate Profile for authorisation, August 1998. Internet Draft.Google Scholar
  10. [10]
    T. Finin, R. Fritzson, D. McKay, and R. McEntire. KQML as an agent communication language. In Proc. of the Third International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management, Gaithersburg, Maryland, November 1994.Google Scholar
  11. [11]
    D. Gelernter and N. Carriero. Coordination languages and their significance. Communications of the ACM, 35(2):97–107, February 1992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. [12]
    M.R. Genesereth and R.E. Filkes. Knowledge Interchange Format: Version 3.0 reference manual. Technical Report Logic-92-1, Computer Science Department, Stanford University, 1992.Google Scholar
  13. [13]
    N. Jamali, P. Thati, and G.A. Agha. An actor-based architecture for customising and controlling agent ensembles. IEEE Intelligent Systems — Special Issue on Intelligent Agents, 1999. To appear.Google Scholar
  14. [14]
    N.M. Karnik and A.R. Tripathi. Design issues in mobile-agent programming systems. IEEE Concurrency, 6(3):52–61, 1998.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. [15]
    B. Lampson, M. Abadi, M. Burrows, and E. Wobber. Authentication in distributed systems: Theory and practice. ACM Transactions on Computer Systems, 10(4):265–310, November 1992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. [16]
    S. Lazar, I. Weerakoon, and D. Sidhu. A scalable location tracking and message delivery scheme for mobile agents. In Proc. of the IEEE WETICE’98, June 1998.Google Scholar
  17. [17]
    T.J. Lehman, S. McLaughry, and P. Wyckoff. T Spaces: The next wave.
  18. [18]
    T. Malone and K. Crowstone. The interdisciplinary study of coordination. ACM Computing Surveys, 26(1):87–119, 1994.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. [19]
    N. Minsky and J. Leichter. Law-governed Linda as a coordination model. In Object-Based Models and Languages, volume 924 of LNCS, pages 125–145. Springer-Verlag, 1994.Google Scholar
  20. [20]
    A. Omicini and F. Zambonelli. Coordination for Internet application development. Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems, 1999. Special Issue on Coordination Mechanisms and Patterns for Web Agents.Google Scholar
  21. [21]
    Proceedings of the 1999 ACM Symposium on Applied Computing (SAC’ 99), The Menger, San Antonio, Texas, February 28–March 2 1999. ACM. Track on Coordination Models, Languages and Applications.Google Scholar
  22. [22]
    T. Sander and C.F. Tschudin. Towards mobile cryptography. In IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, May 1998.Google Scholar
  23. [23]
    M. Woolridge and N. Jennings. Intelligent agents: Theory and practice. Knowledge Engineering Review, 10(2):115–152, 1995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marco Cremonini
    • 1
  • Andrea Omicini
    • 1
  • Franco Zambonelli
    • 2
  1. 1.LIA - DEISUniversità di BolognaBolognaItaly
  2. 2.DSIUniversità di ModenaModenaItaly

Personalised recommendations