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Visual Modeling for Agent-Based Applications
December 1998 (vol. 31 no. 12)
pp. 31-38

Programmers have tools to specify, customize, and control mobile agent behavior. But there are no such tools for nonprogrammers.

Developing tools to specify mobile agents and their itineraries is not simple. The fluid state of agent-related standards, emerging proprietary solutions, and workstation technology all influence the design of such tools.

This article describes the work being done on the interface to the Agent Inception System. The AIS helps both programmers and nonprogrammers create agent-based applications, including information retrieval, courseware acquisition, videoconference setup, network management, and electronic commerce.

The system's interface, the Iconic Modeling Tool (IMT), uses icons to help users visualize and model mobile agents and their itineraries. The IMT is a simple and intuitive tool for modeling mobile agent itineraries. It is designed to be easier for novice users to learn than an agent scripting language or a programming language like Java.

As yet there are no formal statistics on user interaction with the IMT, but in preliminary experiments, users were able to create even a complex agent in less than four minutes.

Benjamin Falchuk, Ahmed Karmouch, "Visual Modeling for Agent-Based Applications," Computer, vol. 31, no. 12, pp. 31-38, Dec. 1998, doi:10.1109/2.735848
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