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What are mobile agents?

  • Agents are programs which act on behalf of an owner.

  • Mobile agents are autonomous programs which move through a network, performing tasks on remote systems on behalf of, and under the authority of, their owners.

  • Usually the goal of a mobile agent is to perform calculations or run expensive queries while actually located at a remote site, rather than by passing requests over the network, as in traditional client-server computing.

  • Mobile agent tasks can sometimes be completed asynchronously, and with reductions in the amount and frequency of communication across the network.

  • The agents can decide where to go on the network, or they may follow a prescribed itinerary.

  • These remote sites which can accept mobile agents are called places.

  • The agent's ability to migrate code, data, state, and authority for execution at a remote place makes agents very promising for distributed artificial intelligence.

  • Network latency and connectivity issues which plague the client-server model should be less of an issue with a mobile agent system since the agent performs calculations on a remote place, returning to its home node with only a final result.