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Mobile Agents - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9781558608177, 9780080473482

Mobile Agents

1st Edition

Basic Concepts, Mobility Models, and the Tracy Toolkit

Authors: Peter Braun Wilhelm Rossak
Paperback ISBN: 9781493303687
eBook ISBN: 9780080473482
Hardcover ISBN: 9781558608177
Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann
Published Date: 17th December 2004
Page Count: 464
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Mobile agents are software nomads that act as your personal representative, working autonomously through networks. They are able to visit network nodes directly using available computing power and are not limited by platform. This emerging field is now poised to become a cornerstone for new Web-based ubiquitous computing environments. Mobile Agents provides a practical introduction to mobile agent technology and surveys the state of the art in mobile agent research. Students and researchers can use the book as an introduction to the concepts and possibilities of this field and as an overview of ongoing research. Developers can use it to identify the capabilities of the technology to decide if mobile agents are the right solution for them. Practioners can also gain hands-on experience in programming mobile agents through exploration of the source code for a complete mobile agent environment available through the companion website.

Key Features

Summarizes the state of the art in mobile agent research
Identifies the benefits and limitations of current mobile agent technology to help developers understand the possibilities of this new field
*Extensive mobile agents web portal ( with the Java source code for a complete industrial-quality environment for mobile agents, with significant parts of the system open source


Researchers and developers will find an introduction to mobile agent technology. Researchers can get an overview of ongoing and related research and topics. Developers can start to create their own mobile agent systems through the complete environment provided.

Table of Contents

Part I Motivation for and Introduction to Mobile Agents

1 Designing Innovative Distributed Systems

2 From Client-Server to Mobile Agents
2.1 A First Look at Mobile Agents
2.1.1 The Artificial Intelligence Point of View
2.1.2 The Distributed Systems Point of View
2.2 A Short History of Mobile Agents
2.2.1 The Early Approaches of Mobile Code
2.2.2 Remote Evaluation
2.2.3 Mobile Objects
2.2.4 Mobile Processes
2.2.5 Mobile Agents
2.3 Similar but Different Concepts
2.3.1 Internet Agents, Worms, and Spiders
2.3.2 Java Applets
2.3.3 Java Servlets
2.4 Why Are Mobile Agents a Good Idea?
2.5 Possible Application Domains of Mobile Agents

Part II Mobile Agents—Concepts, Functions, and Possible Problems

3 Mobile Agent Migration
3.1 The Mobile Agent Migration Process
3.1.1 Generic Framework for Agent Migration
3.1.2 Migration in the Tracy Mobile Agent Toolkit
3.2 Effective Migration as a Core Feature of Mobile Agent Toolkits
3.2.1 Mobile Agents versus Client-Server
3.2.2 Performance Analysis of Simple Mobile Agents versus Client-Server
3.2.3 Discussion of Our Results and a Further Literature Review
3.3 Design Issues of Agent Migration
3.3.1 Mobility Models
3.3.2 Examples for Mobility Models
3.3.3 Related Work—Other Classification Approaches
3.4 Reasoning about Improved Mobility Models
3.4.1 Drawbacks of Simple Migration Techniques, and Current Implementations
3.4.2 Improving the Performance of Mobile Agents
3.4.3 Performance and Migration Strategies
3.4.4 The Kalong Mobility Model
3.4.5 Kalong’s Advantages
3.4.6 Migration Optimization Techniques Proposed in the Literature

4 Mobile Agent Communication
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Classification of Communication Models for Mobile Agents
4.2.1 Message Passing
4.2.2 Information Space
4.3 Solutions to Provide Location-Transparent Communication
4.3.1 Central Server and Home Agency Solutions
4.3.2 Forwarding Pointers
4.3.3 Broadcast-Based Approaches
4.3.4 Hierarchical Approaches

5 Mobile Agent Security
5.1 Security Requirements and Cryptographic Techniques
5.1.1 Authenticity
5.1.2 Confidentiality
5.1.3 Integrity
5.1.4 Accountability
5.1.5 Availability
5.1.6 Anonymity
5.2 Taxonomy of Possible Attacks
5.2.1 Malicious Agents
5.2.2 Malicious Agencies
5.3 Introduction to the Proposed Solutions
5.4 Organizational Solutions
5.4.1 Trusted Agencies
5.4.2 Agency Reputation
5.4.3 Law
5.5 Protecting Mobile Agents
5.5.1 Preventing Attacks on Mobile Agents
5.5.2 Detecting Attacks on Mobile Agents
5.6 Protecting Agencies
5.6.1 Introduction—Java and Security
5.6.2 Agent Authentication and Authorization
5.6.3 Agent Execution

Part III The Kalong Mobility Model—Specification and Implementation

Chapter 6 Specifications of the Kalong Mobility Model
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Kalong Vocabulary
6.3 Agent Model
6.3.1 Agents and Agent Contexts
6.3.2 Agencies
6.4 Application Programming Interfaces
6.4.1 Interface Ikalong
6.4.2 Interface IAgentManager
6.4.3 Interface INetwork
6.4.4 Interface IServer
6.5 The SATP Migration Protocol
6.5.1 Introduction
6.5.2 The SATP Request and Reply Messages
6.5.3 Specification of all SATP Messages

Chapter 7 Using Kalong
7.1 Introduction
7.1.1 Kalong as Software Component
7.1.2 Kalong as Virtual Machine
7.2 Using the Kalong Component
7.2.1 Starting and Configuring Kalong
7.2.2 Interface IKalong
7.2.3 Interface IAgentManager
7.2.4 Examples to Use Interface IKalong
7.2.5 Push Agent Class and Load Other Classes
7.3 Extending Kalong
7.3.1 The Kalong Extension Interface
7.3.2 A First Example: Compression of All SATP Messages
7.3.3 How to Implement Security Solutions with Kalong

Chapter 8 Evaluation
8.1 Related Work
8.1.1 Performance Evaluation of Existing Mobile Agent Toolkits
8.1.2 Performance Comparison of Mobile Agent Toolkits
8.2 Methodology
8.2.1 Experiments and Measurements
8.2.2 Programming Agents for the Measurements
8.2.3 Test Environment
8.3 Results of the Basic Experiments
8.3.1 Transmission Time with Regard to Code Size and Network Quality
8.3.2 Transmission Time with Regard to Data Compression
8.3.3 Transmission Time with Regard to Security
8.3.4 Effect of Migration Strategies
8.3.5 Effect of Caching
8.3.6 Effect of Data Uploading
8.3.7 Effect of Code Servers
8.3.8 Effect of Mirrors

Part IV The Tracy Mobile Agent Toolkit

Chapter 9 Running a Tracy Agency
9.1 Welcome to Tracy
9.2 Installation of Tracy
9.2.1 Before You Start the Installation
9.2.2 Installation
9.2.3 Configuration
9.2.4 Configure JAAS
9.3 Starting and Stopping a Tracy Agency
9.4 Installation and Usage of Basic Plugins
9.4.1 AgencyShell
9.4.2 AgentLauncher

Chapter 10 Programming Agents with Tracy
10.1 The First Agent
10.1.1 Creating a Tracy Agent
10.1.2 How to Use Services
10.1.3 How to Register with a Service
10.2 Survival
10.3 Place
10.4 Messaging
10.4.1 Introduction
10.4.2 The Message plugin API
10.5 Migration
10.5.1 Introduction
10.5.2 Installation
10.5.3 Programming Mobile Agents
10.5.4 Programming Kalong Scripts
10.5.5 Programming Migration Strategies
10.6 Managing Logical Agency Networks
10.6.1 Introduction
10.6.2 Installing the DomainManager plugin
10.6.3 The DomainManager API



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© Morgan Kaufmann 2004
17th December 2004
Morgan Kaufmann
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About the Authors

Peter Braun

Peter Braun is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for Intelligent and Multi-Agent Systems in the Faculty of Information and Communication Technologies at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia. Previously he was a faculty member in the Software Engineering Group of the computer science department at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, Germany. He received a M.S. degree and a Ph.D. in computer science from FSU Jena. His research interests include mobile agents, especially agent migration protocols, and Grid services.

Affiliations and Expertise

Center for Intelligent and MultiAgent Systems, Faculty of Information and Communication Technologies, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia

Wilhelm Rossak

Willi Rossak is professor of Software and Systems Engineering at Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany. He specializes in the modeling and development of distributed dynamic systems with a focus on the upstream tasks of the software life cycle. He received his Diploma and Ph.D. in computer science from the Vienna University of Technology, Austria. He has published more than sixty research papers on a wide variety of topics in software and systems engineering. He also works as a consultant for the IT industry and research institutions in many countries.

Affiliations and Expertise

Software Engineering Group, Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, Germany


"I think this book will be the first standard introductory book on mobile agents" —José M. Vidal, University of South Carolina

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