Document title:

Agent Configuration Management Work Plan

Document number:


Document source:

FIPA Configuration TC

Document status:


Date of this status:


Change history:


Initial draft


Revisions made according to FAB comments


Typo and textual refinements


Submission to the FAB


FAB comments (see end)


                                Jonathan Dale                                  Bernard Burg

                         <>               <>


This work plan addresses the area of agent configuration management which would allow FIPA platforms to manage and maintain large populations of platforms and agents, to define the configurations and dependency links between these entities and to provide management and configuration methods for federated platforms and communities of agents.


Problem Statement: The FIPA Agent Management technical committee has placed its focus on defining basic operations for managing small groups of agents which are regarded as simple and potentially unrelated entities. This approach allows FIPA developers to construct and execute small agent communities, but shows its limits in the large scale deployment of several thousands of cooperating and collaborating agents which are potentially spread across numerous, distributed platforms.


Objective: In developing such applications, extensions to existing management actions (as specified in [FIPA00023]) and the introduction of new high-level constructs are required which would allow:

·         The definition and management of the configuration of a single platform, for example in defining and setting the configuration of a platform according to transport mechanisms, memory space, language, available devices, etc.

·         The definition of high-level, federated management primitives to allow the management of  constellations of agents and platforms.

·         The provision of a dependency notation to allow the expression of relationship between agents, to allow the bootstrapping of platforms and to provide the automated control of related clusters of agents.

·         The provision of facilities for the execution, termination, suspension and resumption of agent communities and federated platforms.

·         The definition of monitoring primitives for agent communities and federated platforms.


Technology: This work plan will concentrate on developing and specifying the framework for an agent management configuration environment based upon FIPA 2000 specifications. This will include specifying the following:

·         Multi-agent management.

·         Cross platform management.

·         Multi-platform management.

·         Dependency and profile representation notation.

·         Primitives to support agent configuration management.


Specifications Generated: The goal of this work plan is to generate a specification in the following areas, at the Standard maturity level:

·         FIPA Agent Configuration Management.


Plan for Work: The technical committee constituted by this work plan will take overall responsibility for producing and generating the agent management configuration specification. The technical committee intends to work as a whole, but may assign sub-committees to deal with other tasks as and when necessary. Work to meet the plan goals will take place at FIPA meetings in the first instance, but interim meetings may be specified with the consent of the technical committee and the FIPA membership.


         Specifically, this technical committee will:

·         Identify the existing agent management primitives from [FIPA00023] and decide how they fit into the agent management configuration specification.

·         Identify and specify additional primitives that are necessary to support an agent management configuration environment (state monitoring of agents/platforms and primitives necessary to manage agent/platforms).

·         Investigate existing dependency notations and investigate the support and ramifications of multiple dependency notations (perhaps by creating a library of dependency notations).

·         Develop mechanisms to support the semi-automatic configuration and deployment of agents.

·         Specify a profile notation for representing service level agreements and dependency information between agents/platforms.

·         Enhance the capabilities of the AMS/DF to support agent configuration management tasks.


Milestones: It is anticipated that the initial work of agent configuration management would begin in 2000/07 with Preliminary specifications being available by 2001/07, Experimental being proposed around 2001/10 and Standard being presented to the FIPA membership by 2002/01.


Future Work: Future work in this area is anticipated to centre around the specification of policies, agreements and contracts between agents to form further dependency information.


Dependencies: The specification generated by this work plan will integrate closely with and be based upon [FIPA00023]. It will represent an optional part of the FIPA standards set. This specification should not result in changes to other FIPA specifications and will probably form a complementary extension to [FIPA00023].


         External dependencies will be based upon and around the dependency notations identified.



·         Jonathan Dale, Fujitsu Labs of America

·         Stefan Poslad, Imperial College

·         Bernard Burg, Motorola

·         Phil Buckle, Nortel Networks

·         Kiyoshi Kogure, NTT

·         Takahiro Kawamura, Toshiba

·         Michael Berger, Siemens


FAB Comments:

This work plan has been approved and has been assigned to the Configuration Technical Committee.