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Design issues in implementing a cooperative search among heterogeneous agents to aid information management

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 May 2001

Bell Laboratories, Information Sciences Research Center, Murray Hill, NJ 07974
Department of Computer Science, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada H3G 1M8
Department of Computer Science, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada H3G 1M8


Searching for information is an ubiquitous need in today's data-oriented environments. However, a request for search often entails the service and cooperation of tools managing a diversified set of tasks. In this article, we explore how tools in the form of cooperating agents can be deployed for information management. We describe an agent framework called GAME (goal-oriented, agent-managed environment), and focus on how GAME agents search cooperatively for information requested by a user. Cooperative search entails several issues such as coordinating agent activities, maintaining transparency to agent heterogeneity, and designing information formats to be shared among the agents that require examination. This article analyzes these issues and describes how they are handled in the GAME framework. Cooperative search effectively supports collaboration and information sharing not only among agents in a domain, but also among GAME agents developed across domains. We illustrate the application of cooperative search in task-oriented domains such as Manufacturing and Front Office showing how GAME promotes intradomain and interdomain collaboration in a Factory environment.

Research Article
© 2001 Cambridge University Press

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