FIPA 97/06/25
Source: Ian Dickinson nyrequirements


FIPA: Requirements for Agent Applications and Systems


This document is a refinement of the requirements document (nyrequirements.doc) generated at the second FIPA meeting in New York, which was then further revised by Agostino Poggi (fipareq.html). The original list was unstructured. Agostino introduced some structuring categories, and proposed that some requirements should be mandatory, and others are useful in some, but not all, circumstances. In this revision, I have attempted to further refine the categories, and clarify the requirements that agent systems will generate, for which there may be a number of potential solutions.

Intended use of this document

This document is one of a set of inputs to the FIPA standardisation activity. Other documents suggest a framework for agent applications, and identify potential applications of agent technology. Here, we attempt to characterise the requirements of agent technology consumers (see below), in order to assist the evaluation of agent technology components for inclusion in the FIPA standard.

Target audience for this document

We can consider, roughly speaking, three groups of consumers of agent technology:

This document is for use by members of FIPA, to help us to consider appropriate pieces of technology that will be of value to one or more of the above groups and help to meet their requirements. The requirements below are stated on behalf of these groups. In addition, we may hypothesise a fourth, rather harder to define interested party, in which we assume the future existence of a shared, large scale agent community. Analogously to the Internet today, individuals or companies may contribute components (agents or other resources) to the community independently, with no one group in overall control. Arguably, this scenario, if it comes to pass, will not introduce any fundamentally new requirements, but will make several of the existing ones even more stringent - for example: security, trustability, scalability and interoperability.

List of Requirements

The sections below characterise, informally, the requirements that the above listed stakeholders in agent technology. Clearly, no single agent system will exhibit all of these requirements simultaneously, nor will they place uniform emphasis on the importance of each requirement that the system does have. This list then may be used to evaluate proposals for technologies to be included in the standard by considering the degree of support for requirements they address, and whether the technology makes more difficult the meeting of any other requirements. Understanding the trade-offs implied by a proposed technology will be a key part of the process of developing the FIPA standard.

1. Agent to agent interaction

2. Agent interaction with the user

3. Agent interaction with existing information sources

4. General requirements

5. Agent design, construction, testing and delivery

Document notes

This version is dated 28 September, 1996.

Prepared by:

Ian Dickinson
Hewlett-Packard Laboratories
Bristol, U.K.

Please forward all comments and questions to the requirements working group: