Web Agents : towards online hybrid multi-agent systems

par Razvan Dinu

Thèse de doctorat en Informatique

Sous la direction de Jacques Ferber et de Tiberiu Stratulat.

Le président du jury était Bernard Espinasse.

Le jury était composé de Jacques Ferber, Tiberiu Stratulat, Bernard Espinasse, Virginia Dignum, Laurent Vercouter.

Les rapporteurs étaient Virginia Dignum, Laurent Vercouter.

  • Titre traduit

    Agents Web : vers des systèmes multi-agents hybrides en ligne


  • Résumé

    Multi-agent systems have been used in a wide range of applications from computer-based simulations and mobile robots to agent-oriented programming and intelligent systems in real environments. However, the largest environment in which software agents can interact is, without any doubt, the World Wide Web and ever since its birth agents have been used in various applications such as search engines, e-commerce, and most recently the semantic web. However, agents have yet to be used on the Web in a way that leverages the full power of artificial intelligence and multi-agent systems, which have the potential of making life much easier for humans. This thesis investigates how this can be changed, and how agents can be brought to the core of the online experience in the sense that we want people to talk and interact with agents instead of "just using yet another application or website". We analyze what makes it hard to develop intelligent agents on the web and we propose a web agent model (WAM) inspired by recent results in multi-agent systems. Nowadays, a simple conceptual model is the key for widespread adoption of new technologies and this is why we have chosen the MASQ meta-model as the basis for our approach, which provides the best compromise in terms of simplicity of concepts, generality and applicability to the web. Since until now the model was introduced only in an informal way, we also provide a clear formalization of the MASQ meta-model.Next, we identify the three main challenges that need to be addressed when building web agents: integration of bodies, web semantics and user friendliness. We focus our attention on the first two and we propose a set of principles to guide the development of what we call strong web agents. Finally, we validate our proposal through the implementation of an award winning platform called Kleenk. Our work is just a step towards fulfilling the vision of having intelligent web agents mediate the interaction with the increasingly complex World Wide Web.


  • Résumé

    Multi-agent systems have been used in a wide range of applications from computer-based simulations and mobile robots to agent-oriented programming and intelligent systems in real environments. However, the largest environment in which software agents can interact is, without any doubt, the World Wide Web and ever since its birth agents have been used in various applications such as search engines, e-commerce, and most recently the semantic web. However, agents have yet to be used on the Web in a way that leverages the full power of artificial intelligence and multi-agent systems, which have the potential of making life much easier for humans. This thesis investigates how this can be changed, and how agents can be brought to the core of the online experience in the sense that we want people to talk and interact with agents instead of "just using yet another application or website". We analyze what makes it hard to develop intelligent agents on the web and we propose a web agent model (WAM) inspired by recent results in multi-agent systems. Nowadays, a simple conceptual model is the key for widespread adoption of new technologies and this is why we have chosen the MASQ meta-model as the basis for our approach, which provides the best compromise in terms of simplicity of concepts, generality and applicability to the web. Since until now the model was introduced only in an informal way, we also provide a clear formalization of the MASQ meta-model.Next, we identify the three main challenges that need to be addressed when building web agents: integration of bodies, web semantics and user friendliness. We focus our attention on the first two and we propose a set of principles to guide the development of what we call strong web agents. Finally, we validate our proposal through the implementation of an award winning platform called Kleenk. Our work is just a step towards fulfilling the vision of having intelligent web agents mediate the interaction with the increasingly complex World Wide Web.


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