Document title:

Agents in Ad Hoc Environments Work Plan

Document number:


Document source:

(see authors below)

Document status:

Initial draft

Date of this status:


Change history:


Revised version from TC Gateways 2nd work plan


                         Michael Berger                                                     Heikki Helin



Problem Statement: Ad hoc networks based on communication facilities like Infrared, Bluetooth and Wireless LAN as well as using technologies like Jini and UPnP enables new applications in the area of local range networks. Mobile devices, such as mobile phones and Pocket-PCs, equipped with that technology, make the communication of two devices or the establishing of an ad hoc group with more than two devices possible.


Once working in that ad hoc and short-range area, probably a device has no wide-range connection (e.g. there is no coverage at the moment or a user does not want to establish such a connection because of the cost). In that context, the agents on two mobile devices, originally created on different platforms, have to discover each other and to build an ad hoc compound[1] allowing them to communicate with each other. A compound can be based on:


         either two different complete agent platforms (one agent platform on each device), or

         two fragments[2] of different agent platforms, or

         complete platform and one fragment from a different platform.


These three cases are also applicable if there are more than two devices involved in building an ad hoc compound. Compounds also have to be robust enough to handle the migration (leaving) of devices. A further problem is, when having a device with no wide-range network connection, the application or user should also be able to generate and delete agents on that device. Current FIPA does not address such environments and functionalities.


Objective: There are three main objectives of this work plan:


         Definition of possible agent platform fragments, which can form dynamically a compound

         Definition of mechanisms and protocols for agent platform fragments to build, release, join and leave compounds

         Usage of existing approaches in the ad hoc and P2P world which provide support on different levels


Technology: The approaches will be based on developments in the area of ad hoc and short- range wireless networks technologies such as Bluetooth, IrDA, Wireless LAN, Jini, UPnP and P2P.


Specifications generated: There will be either a new specification which will take all existing specifications into account, which define FIPA2000 compliance and/or there will be changes to some or all the existing specifications listed below.


Plan for Work and Milestones: The plan is for a 16 month program of work and includes the following steps:


2002/02    Publish work plan and get acceptance from FAB

2002/02    Establish TC, open call for technical technology (CFT)

2002/04    Deadline for technical contributions

2002/05    Presentation of technical contributions, structuring, discussion

2002/10    Deliver first draft of Preliminary specification

2003/04    Submit specification for Experimental status



         [FIPA00001] FIPA Abstract Architecture Specification

         [FIPA00014] FIPA Nomadic Application Support Specification

         [FIPA00061] FIPA ACL Message Structure Specification

         [FIPA00067] FIPA Agent Message Transport Specification


Additional References:



         Wireless LAN

         Java Agent Services






         Fabio Bellifemine (TI Labs)

         Bernard Burg (HP Labs)

         Patricia Charlton (Motorola)

         Heikki Helin (Sonera)

         Kari Koivuniemi (Minutor ltd)

         Heimo Laamanen (Sonera)

         Jamie Lawrence (MIT Media Lab Europe)

         Stefan Poslad (Queen Mary, University London)

         Steven Querologico (Aether Systems)

         John Shepherdson (British Telecommunications)

         Steven Willmott (EPFL)


[1] A compound need not necessarily form a complete platform

[2] A fragment of a distributed agent platform is a non-complete FIPA-compliant agent platform. The definition of a fragment will also be influenced by the minimal FIPA and FIPA compliance level specification. E.g., a fragment of an agent platform could be just an agent and its runtime environment.