The AMP Problem Statement

Centralizing a corporation was once considered an efficient way to run an enterprise. Decisions and information processing occurred in an orderly, top-down, hierarchical manner. However, we are no longer in the era of mainframe computing, when both companies and applications were typically command-and-control oriented and organized in vertical silos. With the combination of the Internet, fiber optics, and PCs, the business and technology playing field has been flattened. No longer primarily top down, it has changed to more side by side—as individuals, small groups, and organizations interact around the world. Furthermore, globalization and changes in technology are causing today’s market to be in a state of constant flux. Companies that cannot adapt fast enough to thrive in new markets will be left behind.

Agent technology is a primary enabler to support this new era. In fact, without agent technology, our current technology will not scale to support the ever-increasing global interaction. In response, many companies are now building agent-based systems. These systems employ agents that can distribute functionality across a vast computing network. Furthermore, agents can not only adapt to their environment but also evolve by learning from the environment. In short, they are the ultimate in distributed computing. Such an approach prepares enterprises for an increasingly complex marketplace and enables them to respond rapidly to change.

The biggest breakthrough with agents is that they are an evolution of existing technologies. What makes it revolutionary is the way we think about and use agents to design IT systems. They are being built from today's technology and will work together with today's technology. While agents, objects, relational databases, legacy systems, service-oriented architectures, event-driven approaches, and so on each have their own niche, together they can orchestrate rich systems that none of these technologies could provide alone. For example, this RFP optionally requests support for Goal, P2P, and Cloud and Grid modeling for agents. While these technologies are general in nature, agent-based approaches can be used to support, enable and exploit these technologies in new and useful ways.

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