I was thinking these days about the possible ways of combining the multiagent paradigms and the semantic Web services approach.
A lot of research in the multiagent area dealt with the issues related to distributed architectures like discovery, matchmaking, composition, etc. The multiagent approach to distributed systems is generally driven by two main ideas:
- Every component (agent) is autonomous, i.e. capable of making decisions and acting proactively to achieve a given goal.
- Agents can communicate, exchange knowledge, collaborate or negotiate, to efficiently achieve a common goal.
While results from the multiagent research domain are promising in theory, their application in the real world was not very successful. I personally think that one of the major obstacles to a wide spread of multiagent techniques is the lack of standardisation. Many efforts were made in this sense (cf. FIPA), but there is still something missing I think: a low level standard of communication between agents. That is the problem Web services technology may resolve.
I had a discussion with Peter last week about these ideas. He told me that I should see if it is better to incorporate multiagent paradigms into Web service architectures (i.e. adding planning, knowledge sharing, autonomy, ... to Web services), or incorporating Web services standards into existing multiagent architectures (i.e. SOAP protocol, UDDI registry, DAML-S, ... ).
Some researchers are investigating the possibilities of incorporating agent behaviours into Web services. Others are exploring the concepts of autonomous Web services, and agents as Web services... What I have to do now is to read some papers discussing these ideas, then write a state of the art draft summarizing my readings. In this draft I should present an in-depth comparison of agent-based systems and Web services architectures strengths and weaknesses, and propose some possible solutions to the two paradigms integration.
An article on XML.com explains why developers should learn WSDL despite the claim that "you can develop web services effectively without hand-editing SOAP or WSDL".
An article on CNet today explains why XML is not yet widely used as a medium for B2B data exchange.
The arguments given by the author are:
- XML solutions cost as much as--if not more than--their EDI counterparts
- XML isn't widely used, and vendors are inexperienced, which means that implementation outlays are higher than those for EDI
- Technical standards remain in flux
- The installation of XML calls for process reengineering, which businesses would rather avoid after a decade of upheaval implementing enterprise software
- Many executives doubt whether their companies really want to share strategic data with partners and competitors
The article concludes by stating that:
"XML won't be adopted as the preferred technology in the near future unless its costs fall, businesses implement big XML systems internally, standards are defined and trading partners discover incentives to share additional data. Even as more companies move toward XML, we expect it to complement, not replace, EDI."
"Gartner Dataquest identifies four new application/technologies (the semantic Web, the grid, enterprise performance management (EPM) and "net fabric") as being significant areas of innovation and opportunity taking shape behind the high-profile push toward Web services".
In the Amazon Web Services developer newsletter, Amazon announced that "after much hard work by our development team, the DE (German) and JP (Japanese) versions of Amazon Web Services are now available.".
I've just read some of Roger L. Costello and David B. Jacobs tutorials found on xfront.com. These are excellent introductions to RDF, RDFS and OWL.
Concepts are well illustrated with simple comprehensive examples. A good starting point for people interested in the semantic Web.
My name is Houssein Ben-Ameur. I was born in Tunisia in 1974, and lived there until January 1999. I've attained an engineer degree in computer science from the University of Tunis El-Manar in 1997.
The years I spent in the "Faculté des Sciences de Tunis" were the best of my life. My friends are now spread around the world. Some are working in Europe, most of them in Paris (like him). Others are in Canada (him and him) and the US (him). Some have their own companies in Tunisia (here and here) and one is finishing her PhD there. Some of my friend are married and have sweet little kids.
In January 1999 I left Tunis to Quebec, where I achieved a Master degree at Laval University. Then I got a job in May 2001 as a researcher in the electronic commerce group at CIRANO (Center for Interuniversity Research on Analysis of Organizations). Now I live in Montreal and I love this city.
You may ask why am I blogging about my PhD research. Well, I think that publicly sharing my thoughts may (I hope) bring me feedback from people interested in my research area. I believe in the potential of the Net as a powerful communication and knowledge sharing media. Then, I see this blog as a way of archiving my thoughts, links I discover, papers I find interesting and astonishing ideas ;-). This should also be a discussion channel with people involved in the project I’m working on.