Background: Electronic markets (e-markets) for the buying and selling of goods and services over the Web are a fast-growing, multi-billion-dollar segment of the world economy. Knowledge-based techniques have already found numerous practical applications in e-markets, e.g., price-comparison shopbots, collaborative filtering in book retailing, and rule-based contracts in manufacturing supply chains. Relevant knowledge-based techniques draw on several areas of AI: knowledge representation and reasoning, learning, and communication. As more knowledge-based pieces of e-commerce have developed, issues are arising of how to put them together into overall functioning markets -- largely, via forms of agent communication. E-markets include infrastructural and intermediary services, e.g., for yellow pages, catalogs, shopping search, advertising, sales assistants, brokers/aggregators, infomediaries, reputation/trust, authentication, and payments. Intelligent software agents in this context are autonomous, cooperating processes which use rich agent communication languages to exchange information and knowledge and to coordinate their activities.
This tutorial will discuss existing techniques and their theory, currently identified challenges, and near-future opportunities for practical applications of agent communication in knowledge-based e-markets, including for product recommendation, auctions, need identification, vendor selection, and negotiation. Here, knowledge-based techniques for agent communication, ontologies, business rules, and information integration are of rising interest, in part due to the rise of XML, and have started having practical impact on real Web e-markets. Relevant emerging standards efforts in agent communication and XML have arisen largely outside of the AI research community, not just from the Knowledge Sharing Effort (KSE) within the AI research community. The tutorial gives substantial coverage to these standards efforts, including KIF, KQML and the FIPA ACL, Ontolingua, rules markup languages, RDF, and XML query languages, DARPA Agent Markup Language (DAML) and development of the peer-to-peer information sharing paradigm. The tutorial includes a briefly review of several agent-based projects that are using these emerging standards.
To find this description and perhaps an updated version, see the link at http://www.mit.edu/~bgrosof/ .
Basic general AI knowledge, in particular especially the basics of rule-based knowledge representation, is assumed.
Benjamin Grosof is Assistant Professor in Information Technology at the MIT Sloan School of Management. His research addresses e-commerce and Web technology, combining agent communication, XML, and knowledge representation for applications in contracting, negotiation, and business policies. He is PI currently for a project in the DARPA Agent Markup Language (DAML) initiative, designing knowledge-level techniques to realize the vision of the Semantic Web. Previously, he was a senior research scientist at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center. While at IBM, most recently he founded and led a project on Business Rules for E-Commerce. This produced IBM CommonRules (V2.1 currently on IBM alphaWorks), which pioneered XML agent communication of inter-operable business rules with conflict handling. He co-led its application piloting for rule-based XML agent contracting in EECOMS, a $29Million NIST industry consortium project on manufacturing supply chain management. He holds a PhD from Stanford University in Computer Science, with specialty AI, and a BA from Harvard University in Applied Mathematics, with specialty economics and management science. He is author of over 30 refereed publications, two major software releases, and one patent; and co-chaired the AAAI Conference Workshops on AI in E-Commerce (1999) and Knowledge-Based E-Markets (2000).
Home Page: http://www.mit.edu/~bgrosof/
Dr. Yannis Labrou is the Director of Technology of PowerMarket, a new B2B e-commerce company developing new services for dynamic markets. Prior to joining PowerMarket, Labrou was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Department, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and at the Institute for Global Electronic Commerce (IGEC) at UMBC. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from UMBC (1996) and a Diploma in Physics from the University of Athens, Greece. Dr. Labrou's research focuses on software agents, an area in which he has been actively involved for the past 8 years. Dr. Labrou is a founding member of the FIPA Academy and has been an active participant in the development of the FIPA specifications for software agents standards. Earlier, he was instrumental in the specification and development of KQML, the first modern agent communication language. He has served on a number of conference organizing committees, program committees, and panels, and has delivered invited tutorials and talks to conferences, research labs and universities. He is the author of more than 30 publications in research journals, books, and conferences. Before joining UMBC, Dr. Labrou worked as an intern at the Intelligent Network Technology group of the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center.
Home Page: http://www.cs.umbc.edu/~jklabrou/
Last modified 12-18-00.