Autonomic communication services: a new challenge for software agents
The continuous growth in ubiquitous and mobile network connectivity, together with the increasing number of networked devices populating our everyday environments, call for a deep rethinking of traditional communication and service architectures. The emerging area of autonomic communication addresses such challenging issues by trying to identify novel flexible network architectures, and by conceiving novel conceptual and practical tools for the design, development, and execution of “autonomic” (i.e., self-organizing, self-adaptive and context-aware) communication services. In this paper, after having introduced the general concepts behind autonomic communication and autonomic communication services, we analyze the key issue of defining suitable “component” models for autonomic communication services, and discuss the strict relation between such models and agent models. On this basis, we survey and compare different approaches, and eventually try to synthesize the key desirable characteristics that one should expect from a general-purpose component model for autonomic communication services. The key message we will try to deliver is that current research in software agents and multi-agent systems have the potential for playing a major role in inspiring and driving the identification of such a model, and more in general for influencing and advancing the whole area of autonomic communication.