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Issue No. 01 - January/February (2006 vol. 21)
ISSN: 1541-1672
pp: 11
James Hendler , University of Maryland, College Park

This issue didn't begin life as a "special issue" with a proposal for a topic, the selection of editors, a call for papers, and rigorous reviewing, as most of our issues do. Instead, the articles in this issue have all gone through our normal acceptance process for technical papers. (If you're interested in submitting a paper, visit
However, as we selected the articles for this issue, we realized that there was an "emergent" theme of AI, agents, and the World Wide Web. The topics covered here—the Semantic Web, content personalization, recommender systems, and personal agents—fit together in a clear and exciting way. Together, they indicate a breakthrough in AI—as our field explores new ways to utilize intelligent systems' powerful tools on the ever-expanding, continually changing information space that's the World Wide Web.
I had the pleasure, back in November, of addressing the AAAI Symposium on Agents and the Semantic Web. I spoke of my despair at a growing rift between these two important AI communities, caused not by animosity but by ignorance. As these technologies' communities grow and thrive, it gets harder and harder for each community to find the time to track what the other is doing. This seemed tragic to me, as some of the key investments in Semantic Web technology were explicitly aimed at helping the agents research community (for example, DAML, the acronym for the US's first major funding of the Semantic Web, stood for DARPA Agent Markup Language).
Among the solutions I suggested was that we find more venues to bring together these communities and more opportunities to mingle our papers. I was overjoyed therefore, when considering which articles to accept for this issue, to realize that our publishing queue provided an opportunity for doing exactly this: a rare case where the doctor could follow his own advice.
So, I'm happy to present this de facto special issue on AI, Agents, and the Web. The important connection between these different areas is what I hope to highlight and what I believe these articles illustrate. The fact that researchers are submitting strong papers on these aspects of our field without special calls shows the increasing importance of agents and the Web to modern intelligent systems research.

James A. Hendler is the editor in chief of IEEE Intelligent Systems. Contact him at the Dept. of Computer Science, Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742;;
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