Wednesday, 16 July 2008

#crigshow - Conference 2 - Worldcomp

Agents and Web Services... Why no collaboration?

Out of all the presentations at worldcomp this one struck me as one of the most obvious but not covered areas for research in computer science. Probably the most well known agent system is that used by the travel industry where they have standard ways of interfacing with each other to find details of travel and hotels available on a global scale. This is no mean feat with the number of companies there are hooking into this network.

So why doesn't the same exist for web services or if there is such a system why isn't everyone in the open community using it?

Surely the point of web services is for people to discover and use them in their own scenarios just like the agents in the travel industry do. OK so maybe the problem lies in the fact that there are so many communities that there will never be a specific use case or framework and thus hosting a generic web service network becomes infinitely hard with the number of different APIs and Implementations.

OK so if you are going to use Agents in Web Services what issues do you need to consider? Also what do you gain through doing this?

One of the key ideas which came out of a talk at worldcomp is to use Agents to be the intelligent front to a web service. This enables an agent to track of a set of web services including information about a specific web service such as availability, versions, changing cost and and offline copy if the service allows this. So the agent becomes a Rendezvous Point for a series of web services.

So why aren't we seeing more collaboration between the Agent community and the Web Services community?

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