Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 September 1999
The rapid development of the field of agent-based systems offers a new and exciting paradigm for the development of sophisticated programs in dynamic and open environments, particularly in distributed domains such as web-based systems of various kinds, and electronic commerce. However, the speed of progress has been such that it has also brought with it a new set of problems. This paper reviews the current state of research into agent-based systems, considering reasons for the way the field has grown, and pointing at the way it might continue to progress. It pays particular attention to problems with defining the nature of agents, the technologies that have enabled the rapid progress to date, and ways in which work can be consolidated through the development of large-scale applications, and the integration with theoretical foundations.
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