Global scene and current research trends

Smart agents can be used in the area of automatic environmental quality assessment process


Flexible distributed agent systems have significant potential to improve workflow in healthcare organizations where failures of communication and co-ordination can be important sources of error. Research into using software agents for the healthcare is still at its infancy, some of the projected areas (Vazquez-Salceda et al, 2003 Xu et al, 2003 Godo et al, 2003 Vicari et al, 2003 Alsinet et al, 2003 ) where bots can play a major role are as follows:

  • Distributed patient scheduling within a hospital.
  • Communication and co-operation between intelligent agents to improve patient management
  • Agents that provide remote or elderly care delivery.
  • Multi-agent systems for patient monitoring and diagnosis.
  • Multi-agent systems that improve medical training or education (e.g. tutoring systems).
  • Medical agent-based decision support systems.
  • Information agents that retrieve, compile and organize appropriate medical knowledge sourced from the Internet.
  • Co-ordination between hospitals for managing organs for transplant.

Environmental monitoring

Smart agents can be used in the area of automatic environmental quality assessment process (Athanasiandis and Mitkas, 2004). They are projected to be used as environmental management and assessment systems. Some specific functions under environmental assessment are

  • Consolidating environmental information from diverse data sources
  • Managing environmental data for supporting decision making process in EIA
  • Post processing data and facts to be dispersed into public information systems and relevant stakeholders.


Kinny et al. (1996) describes a sophisticated agent-realized air traffic control system known as OASIS. In this system, which is undergoing field trials at Sydney airport in Australia, agents are used to represent both aircraft and various air traffic control systems in operation. The agent metaphor thus provides a useful and natural way of modeling real-world autonomous components.

As an aircraft enters Sydney airspace, an agent is allocated for it, and the agent is instantiated with the information and goals corresponding to the real-world aircraft. For example, an aircraft might have a goal to land on a certain runway at a certain time. Air traffic control agents are responsible for managing the system. OASIS is implemented using the AAII’s own dMARS system. This system allows an agent to be implemented using the belief-desire-intention model of agency – one of the most popular approaches to reasoning about agents in theoretical multi-agent systems.

Electronic Commerce

Personal financial bots are used in the banking sector today to consolidate and diverse information and then use that to take intelligent well informed decisions. These agents in the coming years are thought to exert an overwhelming influence on this sector that it is positioned to completely transform the traditional retail banking. Using agents like the Gbot in the banking sector will bring the customers closer to the financial institutions as these agents through the banks can offer personalized and expert service to each and every customer. Diverse financial portfolios can be managed by these agents and will thus help in expanding these by selecting products that are exactly as per the customer’s interests.

These Bots are also projected to add value to the institutions by allowing them to raise the complexity and value of their services. The bots can be leveraged upon to deliver customer spending patterns to tailor insurance policies and other fiscal products.

SMART GRID MODELLING (iDEaS project: Southampton University)

The Intelligent Decentralized Energy-Aware Systems (iDEaS) project at Southampton University is developing and demonstrating the application of intelligent agents within the smart grid; a future vision of an electricity distribution network capable of autonomous and intelligent configuration, robust and flexible operation and two-way information flow between consumers and suppliers.

As the two way flow of data is most crucial to the Smart Grid technology such as the real time price signals for the consumer and the clear forecast of demand and supply for the utility supplier, agents are a great choice to use in real world modeling of the following

  • how a home energy management agent is capable of monitoring, visualizing and coordinating energy use within a home
  • how micro-storage of electricity, coordinated by intelligent agents, can flatten demand across the grid and reduce both costs and carbon emissions
  • How trading agents operating within a novel market mechanism can effectively and robustly distribute energy within the smart grid whilst explicitly accounting for the capacity constraints of the transmission lines.
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