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Call for Expression of Interest: Web Services and MAS

From: Donald Steiner <donald.steiner@webv2.com>
Date: Mon, 25 Nov 2002 12:21:54 -0800
To: <chat@fipa.org>, <agents@cs.umbc.edu>, <www-ws@w3.org>, <www-ws-desc@w3.org>, <www-ws-arch@w3.org>, <daml-all@daml.org>
Message-ID: <005d01c294c0$4c10db40$5a02010a@MI6>

Proposed AAMAS'03 Workshop on Web Services and Multi-Agent Integration

Call for Expression of Interest

Dear Colleague,

We have submitted a proposal for a workshop at the International
Conference for Autotnomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems (AAMAS) to be
held in Melbourne, Australia, in July 2003. The workshop will address
overlap between the new area of Web Services and Multi-Agent Systems: we
describe some of the specific issues of interest below.

We believe this workshop would generate a lot of interest in both
communities, and are calling for expressions of interest (without
commitment) to demonstrate this to the conference organizers.

If you think you would be interested in such a workshop and may
participate, please reply to Donald Steiner (donald.steiner@webv2.com)
indicating this. Also, please pass this message on to any other party
you think may be interested (apologies to anyone who receives multiple


Lawrence Cavedon, Stanford University
Adam Cheyer,      Dejima, Inc
David Kinny,      Agentis Software, Inc
David Martin,     SRI International
Donald Steiner,   WebV2, Inc.


   Proposal for AAMAS-2003 Workshop on 
   Web Services and Agent-Based Integration (WSABI)


Web Services are a relatively recent but rapidly expanding approach to
building distributed software systems across networks such as the
Internet. A Web Service is an operation typically addressed via a URI,
declaratively described using widely accepted standards, and accessed
via platform-independent XML-based messages.

While a Web Service need not fulfill all characteristics of a strong
definition of agency, the Web Services approach to building complex
software systems bears many similarities to Multi-Agent software
engineering. In particular, large systems are assembled from distributed
heterogeneous software components providing specialized services and
communicating using agreed-upon protocols. Similarly to certain
multi-agent engineering paradigms, the design process of such systems
focusses on the declarative characterization of the components'
capabilities and on a message-based paradigm of interoperation.

The development of industry standards, products, and tools for
supporting Web Service system development is proceeding at a very rapid
rate. Standards are being developed for service discovery (UDDI),
description (WSDL), coordination (BPML, BPEL4WS, WSCI), and
communication (SOAP). Major software vendors such as Microsoft, IBM and
BEA have made Web Services the cornerstone of their near-future
strategies, and a plethora of startups have sprung up offering tools and
value-adding products to support the development of Service-based

We believe the area of Web Services (WS) is of relevance and interest to
the Multi-Agent (MA) community for a number of reasons, including:
- similarities in the software architectures suggest fruitful
  cross-fertilization of design processes and methodologies;
- powerful tools being developed within the WS community (often
  available for free) which can potentially be leveraged in the
  development of MA systems;
- the heavy focus within the WS community on issues which have
  typically been at the fringe of MA development, such as security,
  reliability, and transaction integrity;
- the overlap of Web Service standards with those being defined in the
  MA community, such as KQML and FIPA: to what degree can agent-based
  systems be built to WS standards; to what extent should the MA
  community engage in steering WS standards?

Conversely, many techniques developed in the MA research community have
clear contributions to make in enhancing the WS model:
- the use of rich ontologies for declaratively describing and
  classifying capabilities of computational components, and reasoning
  models to exploit these;
- intelligent matchmaking: selecting the most appropriate service
  provider based on capability descriptions, resource usage or Quality
  of Service, etc.;
- intelligent brokering: coordinating the activities of multiple
  providers to satisfy some goal on behalf of a requester;
- powerful abstractions for modeling, designing and building complex
  component-based software systems, which address many of the more
  complex issues that WS working groups are now encountering.

The increasing acceptance of WS standards and the WS approach to
building software systems potentially provides a foundation for a more
widespread application of MA technologies. The main goals of this
workshop will be to foster cross-cultivation of innovations between the
two areas, identifying WS tools and techniques that can be leveraged in
MA system development, as well as highlighting areas from MA research
that could have significant impact on the WS paradigm.


This workshop will be of particular interest to MA researchers who are
working in e-Business (a primary application area of WS), those
interested in developing open systems, in tracking and developing
standards, and of general interest to anyone using the software-agent
paradigm for software development. We also believe that the Workshop's
topic area will be of significant interest to the wider IT community and
expect industry participation.


The workshop format will be designed to foster discussion and developing
action outcomes on key issues relating to MA research relating to WS. We
plan one or two invited tutorials discussing the current state of play
of Web Services standards, tools, and their applications. The accepted
presentations will be grouped into topic areas, with short presentations
followed by panels by the presenters to discuss specific questions and


The final dates of the timetable will be influenced by outside factors,
such as workshop approval, conflicting submission schedules, and AAMAS
deadlines for printing. However, we expect to have deadlines around the

Call for Papers: mid December
Submission deadline: mid-late February
Acceptance notification: late March
Final versions for printing: end of April
Conference dates: July 14-18
Proceedings publication schedule: to be determined

Donald Steiner
Chief Scientist
WebV2, Inc.             Phone&Fax: +1(650)940-1382
P.O. Box 3852              E-mail: Donald.Steiner@webv2.com
Los Altos, CA  94024          WWW: www.webv2.com
Received on Monday, 25 November 2002 15:24:40 UTC

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