AgentLink III is proposed as a follow-on to AgentLink II, the IST-funded Network of Excellence for agent-based systems established in August 2000. Agent-based systems are one of the most vibrant and important areas of research and development to have emerged in information technology in the 1990s, and underpin many aspects of the broader IST FP6.
Many observers believe that agents represent the most important new paradigm for software development since object-orientation. An agent is a computer system that is capable of flexible autonomous action in dynamic, unpredictable, typically multi-agent domains. Some application domains where agent technologies will play a crucial role include: Ambient Intelligence, the seamless delivery of ubiquitous computing, continuous communications and intelligent user interfaces to consumer and industrial devices; Grid Computing, where multi-agent system approaches will enable efficient use of the resources of high-performance computing infrastructure in science, engineering, medical and commercial applications; Electronic Business, where agent-based approaches are already supporting the automation and semi-automation of information-gathering activities and purchase transactions over the Internet; the Semantic Web, where agents are needed both to provide services, and to make best use of the resources available; Bioinformatics, where intelligent agents may support the coherent exploitation of the data revolution occurring in biology; and others including monitoring and control, resource management, and space, military and manufacturing applications, for example.
AgentLink III will act as a unifying focus for agent-based activities in these different domains. As with AgentLink and AgentLink II, the long-term goal of AgentLink III is to put Europe at the leading edge of international competitiveness in this increasingly important area.