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Agents and the Grid: Service Discovery
Moreau, Luc and Luck, Mike and Miles, Simon and Papay, Jury and Decker, Keith and Payne, Terry (2004) Agents and the Grid: Service Discovery. In: Methodologies and Software Engineering for Agent Systems --- The Agent-Oriented Software Engineering Handbook. MultiAgent Systems, Artifical Societies, and Simulated Organizations . Kluwer, pp. 413-430.
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The Grid is a large-scale computer system that is capable of coordinating resources that are not subject to centralised control, whilst using standard, open, general-purpose protocols and interfaces, and delivering non-trivial qualities of service. In this chapter, we argue that Grid applications very strongly suggest the use of agent-based computing, and we review key uses of agent technologies in Grids: user agents, able to customize and personalise data; agent communication languages offering a generic and portable communication medium; and negotiation allowing multiple distributed entities to reach service level agreements. In the second part of the chapter, we focus on Grid service discovery, which we have identified as a prime candidate for use of agent technologies: we show that Grid-services need to be located via personalised, semantic-rich discovery processes, which must rely on the storage of arbitrary metadata about services that originates from both service providers and service users. We present UDDI-MT, an extension to the standard UDDI service directory approach that supports the storage of such metadata via a tunnelling technique that ties the metadata store to the original UDDI directory. The outcome is a flexible service registry which is compatible with existing standards and also provides metadata-enhanced service discovery.
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