Student Project Proposal:

Worldwide Competitive Electronic Business Agents


Supervisors

Ion Constantinescu
Office: INR 218, 236
Tel: +41 21 693 6679
Email: ion.constantinescu@epfl.ch
Radu Jurca
Office: INR 240
Tel: +41 21 693 6711
Email: radu.jurca@epfl.ch

Project Type

Diploma project for one student.

Description

Motivation

The future trends of current economies cannot be entirely predicted but global electronic markets will probably play an important role in it. Such markets will bring together large numbers of producers and consumers represented often by software agents. These systems will be highly dynamic - the price for one good could change in a matter of seconds.

Successful players in these markets will be those that will be able to:

A number of existing, or in development technologies will possibly be used for achieving this vision. Web Services are a high-profile technology that will enable applications to talk to each-other. Nowadays there are intense research efforts around them as they are seen as the possible next revolution in computing. Currently the technology matures as it is endorsed by all the major industrial players (IBM, Sun, Microsoft) but naturally the approach is bottom-up starting from the lowest and simplest layers and going up on the complexity stack.

Intelligent web services address issues in this higher-level part of the technology spectrum like: service descriptions, service discovery, service integration, service orchestration and service coordination.

Application integration is the process trough which existing applications are glued together to provide new functionality. Current statistics show that software companies spend 80% of the development time for application integrating and only 20% of the time for building new applications. In an Internet based on web services where millions of deployments will be available, integration will become a key critical issue.

Last, but not the least, this new model of electronic interaction is much more susceptible to fraud and deception. Humans exhibit in social interactions behavioral characteristics that are favoring honest behavior. Having purely electronic interactions lowers the social barriers for cheating for humans and thus different mechanisms should be used in order to ensure sufficient cooperation levels in the business environment. Dynamic trusting decisions, based on the agents' reputation (defined as information about the agent's past behavior), provide promising solutions for the problem of security in open distributed multi-agent systems. E-commerce systems like eBay and Amazon implement successful reputation mechanisms which were partly credited for the businesses' success.

Another important facet of reputation is that it also allows to characterize the quality of a service (say provided by an electronic agent) before actually experiencing (and paying) for that service. This property can be used in order to make optimal decisions for service integration or service composition solutions.

Example Scenarios

Project Goals

  1. T 1. Scenario Analysis and determination of requirements
  2. T 2. Design
  3. T 3. Implementation
  4. T 4. Final Wrap-up

Skills

Java, English

Environment

OS independent

Ion Constantinescu
Last modified: Thu May 13 2004