Mobile agents for mobile computing

Robert Gray, Dartmouth College
David Kotz, Dartmouth College
Saurab Nog, Dartmouth College
Daniela Rus, Dartmouth College
George Cybenko, Dartmouth College

Dartmouth Computer Science Technical Report PCS-TR96-285


Mobile agents are programs that can move through a network under their own control, migrating from host to host and interacting with other agents and resources on each. We argue that these mobile, autonomous agents have the potential to provide a convenient, efficient and robust programming paradigm for distributed applications, particularly when partially connected computers are involved. Partially connected computers include mobile computers such as laptops and personal digital assistants as well as modem-connected home computers, all of which are often disconnected from the network. In this paper, we describe the design and implementation of our mobile-agent system, Agent Tcl, and the specific features that support mobile computers and disconnected operation. These features include network-sensing tools and a system that allows an agent to transparently move between mobile computers, regardless of when the computers connect to the network.