By Jack Krupansky
(1) An agent is an entity which acts, produces or causes effects or results, exerts power, or is is authorized to act for or in the place of another entity.
(2) An agent is an entity which has the qualities associated with agency.
(3) An agent is an entity which represents or offers a product or service but does not necessarily directly deliver that product or service.
(4) An agent is a program acting on behalf of a person, entity, or process for the purpose of exchanging information. [See W3C Web Services Architecture]
(5) An agent is a computational resource which has an identifier, an owner that is a person or organization, may provide one or more services, and may request zero or more services. [See W3C Web Services Architecture]
(6) An agent is a program acting on behalf of person or organization. [See W3C Web Services Architecture]
(7) An agent is a program that engages in actions on behalf of someone or something else. Agents realize and request Web services. In effect, software agents are the running programs that drive Web services -- both to implement them and to access them. Software agents are also proxies for the entities that own them. [See W3C Web Services Architecture]
(8) An agent is an animate entity that is capable of doing something on purpose. This definition is broad enough to include humans and other animals, the subjects of verbs that express actions, and robots and software robots. The meanings of the words animate, capable, doing, and purpose are critical to understanding what makes an agent tick. The careful definition of these words is a very difficult ontological problem. [See John Sowa Agents]
(9) An agent is a computer program capable of flexible and autonomous action in a dynamic environment, usually an environment containing other agents. [See AgentLink III Agent Technology Roadmap]
Synonym for software agent.
See the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition for "agent".
See the Wikipedia article for "agent".
The term has wide applicability outside the field of computer software, but has been "borrowed" and its meaning overloaded so that in the context of computer software systems, the term "agent" is usually as a shorthand for software agent.
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Updated: November 14, 2005 04:57:15 PM -0500
Copyright © 2005 John W. Krupansky d/b/a Base Technology