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Design and Implementation of Agent-oriented EC System by using Automated Negotiation

Design and Implementation of Agent-oriented EC System by using Automated Negotiation

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This research demonstrates the negotiation property between conflict interest software agents by using Contract Net protocol (CNP), and demonstrates the designing and implementation of this agent-oriented Electronic Commerce (EC) system. The function of this distributed decentralized system is selling and buying items within an automated negotiation between vendors and customers. It uses intelligent agents to do the job on behalf the real users in an autonomous manner. The negotiating process between these distributed agents is accomplished for item price till an agreement is reached that satisfies both negotiating parties, and the order details will be saved in a SQL-server database .The development process accomplished through a proposed methodology by melding phases from another methodologies such as: Gaia, MaSE, Tropos and MASD. This methodology capturing roles, goals, tasks and dependences, and analyzing them in high-level manner, as well as design these components to be consistence with Jadex framework to implemented it.
This research demonstrates the negotiation property between conflict interest software agents by using Contract Net protocol (CNP), and demonstrates the designing and implementation of this agent-oriented Electronic Commerce (EC) system. The function of this distributed decentralized system is selling and buying items within an automated negotiation between vendors and customers. It uses intelligent agents to do the job on behalf the real users in an autonomous manner. The negotiating process between these distributed agents is accomplished for item price till an agreement is reached that satisfies both negotiating parties, and the order details will be saved in a SQL-server database .The development process accomplished through a proposed methodology by melding phases from another methodologies such as: Gaia, MaSE, Tropos and MASD. This methodology capturing roles, goals, tasks and dependences, and analyzing them in high-level manner, as well as design these components to be consistence with Jadex framework to implemented it.

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Published by: ijcsis on May 17, 2012
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(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 10, No. 4, April 2012
Design and Implementation of Agent-orientedEC System by using Automated Negotiation
 
Asmaa Y. Hammo
College of Computers Sciences and MathematicsUniversity of MosulMosul, Iraqasmahammo@yahoo.com
Maher T. Alasaady
Computer Systems Dept.Foundation of Technical Education/MosulMosul, Iraqmaher.alasaady@yahoo.com 
 Abstract
 — 
This research demonstrates the negotiation propertybetween conflict interest software agents by using Contract Netprotocol (CNP), and demonstrates the designing andimplementation of this agent-oriented Electronic Commerce (EC)system. The function of this distributed decentralized system isselling and buying items within an automated negotiationbetween vendors and customers. It uses intelligent agents to dothe job on behalf the real users in an autonomous manner. Thenegotiating process between these distributed agents isaccomplished for item price till an agreement is reached thatsatisfies both negotiating parties, and the order details will besaved in a SQL-server database .The development processaccomplished through a proposed methodology by meldingphases from another methodologies such as: Gaia, MaSE, Troposand MASD. This methodology capturing roles, goals, tasks anddependences, and analyzing them in high-level manner, as well asdesign these components to be consistence with Jadex frameworkto implemented it.
 Keywords-Software agent; Automated negotiation; Distributed  systems; E-commerce; Contract Net Protocol; Agent based softwareengineering.
I.
 
I
NTRODUCTION
 Software is present in every aspect of our lives, pushing ustoward a world of distributed computing systems. Agentconcepts hold great promise for responding to new realities of large-scale distributed systems. Software agent is encapsulatedcomputer system, situated in some environment, and capable of flexible autonomous action in order to meet its designobjectives [19]. A Multi Agent System (MAS) is a systemcomposed of multiple interacting agents. MAS can be used tosolve problems which are difficult or impossible for anindividual agent to solve [18]. In MAS, agents send messagesto each other in order to achieve certain purposes such as:inform, warn, help, and share knowledge. These are calledspeech acts, and they are usually defined in terms of BDImodel [6]. In a BDI agent, mental attitudes can be employed tomodel its cognitive capabilities, identify its internal state, andprovide it with reasoning [8]. BDI model comprising of Beliefs(what the agent knows), Desires or goals (what the agentwants) and Intentions or plans (what the agent is doing).In recent years, agent technique and Electronic Commerce(EC) have great intention for research and development ininformation technology field, where the integrating these twofields gives a profitable opportunities for workers to do onlinetransaction in easy manner, and for developers to facilitate thedevelopment process by using a suitable tools in this trend [17].Negotiation is one of the aspects pertaining to manydifferent mechanisms of interaction to employ a set of existingconditions and constraints of a discrete-agents environment inorder to optimize specific solutions and decisions. Aninteraction mechanism (also called a negotiation protocol) canbe defined as a set of rules that govern the negotiation process[11]. E.g. FIPA Contract Net Protocol (CNP), in this protocol,one agent (the Initiator) takes the role of manager which wishesto have some task performed by one or more other agents (theParticipants). This task is commonly expressed as the price, insome domain specific way, but could also be soonest time tocompletion, fair distribution of tasks, and so on [13].The development of agent based systems in not an easytask; therefore the software engineering fundamentals havebeen required. The main purposes of Agent Based SoftwareEngineering (ABSE) are to create methodologies and tools thatenable inexpensive development and maintenance of agent-based software [10].In this research we are attempts to find the answers forthese questions:What is the appropriate model to represent the automaticnegotiation?What is the appropriate development process that facilitatesthe implementation of this system or other related systems?II.
 
RELATED WORKS
 In the last few years, many researches in the automatednegotiation and in the ABSE methodologies have beendeveloped. In automated negotiation field, Somefun and others[16], presented a paper included a method for automatednegotiation between agents for electronic transactions. Theypresents a novel system for selling bundles of news items,therefore customers bargain with the seller over the price andquality of the delivered goods. The advantage of the developedsystem is that it allows for a high degree of flexibility in theprice, quality, and content of the offered bundles. Thedisadvantages of their work are they aren't explaining thedevelopment process of the system, and they are used agentsbargaining protocol that is depend on application domaininstead of using an application independent standard protocolsuch as CNP. In [21] Youll provided in his M.Sc. thesis a
25http://sites.google.com/site/ijcsis/ISSN 1947-5500
 
(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 10, No. 4, April 2012
method for automatic negotiation between agents in EC fieldusing CNP, and develops an agent based E-market system. Theresearch was depends on a mediated agent that do thecommunication process between the seller and buyer, and
didn’t depend on two negotiating agents that are working on
behalf the buyers and sellers. Ghanza and others [14] presenteda paper included a method for automated negotiation betweenintelligent agents in EC field, and develop agent based systemusing JADE [2] framework. The development process ispresented in UML diagrams that are consistence with Object-Oriented (OO) technique instead with agent technique,therefore the developers must use its intuition to develop thesystem in UML and improvement it to represent agent in high
level of abstraction. Additionally JADE framework aren’trepresent a BDI model, therefore the system is haven’t mental
properties. Pokahr and Braubach [4] presented a paper includeda goal-oriented approach, which hides message passing detailsand allowing developers to concentrate on the domain aspectsof protocols. This approach is based on the BDI agent modeland is implemented within the Jadex agent framework. We areexploits this proposed approach, and we develop our systembased on this idea, with addition of representing the high levelconversation that will be converted to CNP, and to thisapproach in practice.In ABSE field, Wooldridge and others [20], presented amethodology for analysing and design MAS, this methodologydepended on organisational concept that illustrate the system of multiple roles, but the methodology contains two phases only,analysis and design, therefore it have a gap between thecustomer and developer, as well as a gap between the designand implementation, additionally, the methodology does notconsist with FIPA standards and BDI model. In [9] theypresented a methodology for analysing and designing MAS byusing OO technique, again this methodology contains twophases, analysis and design, the same problems repeated here.In [7] they presented a methodology for analysing and designMAS, and it deals with problem of requirement, by usingrequirement phase in two stages, early and late requirement,however it still limit implementation of the system, as well asthe methodology does not consist with FIPA standards andweakness to represent a BDI model. In [27] they presented amethodology for analysing and design MAS, and it deals withproblem of implementation by using implementation phase thatwill convert the beliefs, goals, and plans models toprogramming language codes. But it limits the requirement anddesign of the system, the triggers of plans, capturing beliefs,and capturing dependencies.III.
 
J
ADEX PLATFORM
 The Jadex platform follows BDI model. It allowsprogramming intelligent software agents in XML and Java. Toassist the interoperability of independently developed multi-agent systems, the FIPA [12] issued a set of specifications. TheFIPA standard indicates an agent platform architecture, whichclassifies services such as agent management and directoryfacilitator.Agents have beliefs in Jadex, which can be any sort of Javaobject and are accumulate in a Beliefbase. Goals are implicit orexplicit explanations of states to be realized. To accomplishthis goals the agent carries out plans, which have proceduralformula coded in Java [5].IV.
 
THE REQUIREMENTS OF EC SYSTEMS
 The most of EC systems requirements are negotiationtechnique, for example, a company (C1) wants to buy goodsfrom another company (C2) owns theses goods. In one hand,company (C1) requests to buy goods at lower price, and on theother hand, company (C2) was offered goods at highest price.The negotiation process is occurs between these two companieson goods price, each company holds final price and deadline.The current price is compared with final price for bothcompanies, if the current price is greater than or equals thefinal price, this would be acceptable to the company (C2), elseif the current price is less than or equals the final price, thiswould be acceptable to the company (C1).V.
 
THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS OF EC SYSTEM
 The development process of this system is accomplishedthrough four phases: requirement, analysis, design, andimplementation, these phases are proposed by authors throughmerging it from other methodologies:
 
The requirement phase includes two stages: initial andadvanced requirement. In initial requirement stage, thesystem is presented in simple actor diagram composed of:actors, goals, tasks, resources, and dependences. Theadvanced requirement stage includes four steps: insertingthe system actor, creating goals diagrams, creating actordiagram, and dependency analysis. The idea of this stage isexploited from Tropos [7] methodology.
 
The analysis phase includes two stages: agent architecture,and system architecture. In agent architecture stage theagents, roles, beliefs, goals, and plans models are identified.In system architecture stage, the interaction diagram andDirectory Facilitator (DF) model are constructed. The ideaof this stage is exploited from Gaia [20] methodology.
 
The design phase includes three stages: system designdiagram, agent container, and communication model. Theidea of this stage is exploited from MaSE [9] and MASD[1] methodology.
 
The implementation phase includes the representation of models that were obtained from design phase. The idea of this stage is exploited from MASD [1] methodology.
 A.
 
 Requirement Phase
When identifying the initial requirements of the system, theactors: Customer and Vender are determined in the diagram.The next step is capturing main goals to these actors, thesegoals are: (Purchase Goal) for Customer and (Sell Goal) forVender, as well as capturing soft goals (Less Price) and (OnDeadline) for Customer, (High Price) and (On Deadline) forVender. And identify the resources (Amount) and (Item) thatactors are needed. The initial requirements phase is simple andit will be understandable by stakeholders and end-users. Fig. 1illustrates the simple actor diagram.In advanced requirement phase, the first step is insertingthe (System Actor) to the diagram, and rearranges the
26http://sites.google.com/site/ijcsis/ISSN 1947-5500
 
(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 10, No. 4, April 2012
Figure 1. Simple actor diagram
dependencies to fit with the new actor, this step can identifythe system roles to other components.The second step is constructing goals' diagrams; this canbe done in three stages:
 
Decomposing of goals in (AND/OR) decomposition. InEC system, the main goals are decomposed in an ANDdecomposition. Fig. 2 illustrates the purchase and sellgoals decomposition.
Figure 2. Purchase and sell goals decomposition
 
Means-ends analysis of these goals to identify the subgoals, tasks, and resources that are needed by this goalfrom its start to the end.
 
The contribution analysis of goals, which can identify thecontribution of one goal to another in positive or negativemanner. In EC system, the (Evaluate Offers) goalcontributes positively to the soft goals, as well as the (SendOffers) goal. Fig. 3 depict the goals contribution.
Figure 3. Evaluate offers and send offers goals contribution
The third step of advanced requirement phase is themerging of simple actor diagram and goals diagrams to createthe final actor diagram.The fourth step is the dependencies analysis, in this stepthe dependencies between actors are identified through goals,tasks, and resources. This step is important to identify thepriorities of tasks at system runtime, and to identify agents'beliefs and triggers that are used in the subsequent stages. Fig.4 illustrates purchase item dependency model.
 B.
 
 Analysis Phase
The first stage of analysis phase is agent architectureanalyzing. In this stage the roles, agents, beliefs, goals, and
Figure 4. Evaluate purchase item dependency model
plans models are identified. Roles can be identified throughactors' behaviors in the actor diagram; the behavior can bedetermined through analysis of goals' paths of one actor anddetermine its role(s). This role(s) can then assign to its agent.In EC system two roles are identified: Buy and Sell. Theseroles are then modeled to describe its specifications, Fig. 5depict the buy role model.
Figure 5. Buy role model
From these roles, two agents are identified in this system:Customer and Vender. Fig. 6 illustrates assignment the roles tothese agents.
Figure 6. Assignment of the roles to agents
Agents' beliefs can be identified through the dependenciesthat were determined in requirement phase; this can be doneby transforming of pre-post conditions to the beliefs model.Agents' goals can be identified by transforming of actor'sgoals within its role to the goals model. Agents' plans can beidentified by transforming of goals' tasks from actor diagramto the plans diagrams. Plan diagram contains two parts: planhead, and plan body, the head contains information about thisplan (i.e. name, pre-post conditions, and trigger); the bodycontains the activity diagram that represents the flow of tasksfor this plan.The second stage of analysis phase is system architectureanalyzing, in this stage the interaction diagram and DF modelare constructed. Interaction diagram represents the interactionbetween agents in the system, and describes the conversationsbetween agents. This diagram can be identified bytransforming the actor's dependences to high-levelconversations. Fig. 7 depict the interaction diagram of ECsystem.Interaction diagram can represents the first step to constructsmore formal interaction between agents, therefore thedevelopers can then convert it to one of FIPA interactionprotocols such as: RP, CNP, EA, and so on.
AgentsRolesCustomerVender
 
BuySell
Buy Role
 
Description:
This role represent the buying of items, that customer can play
 
Main Goal:
Purchase goal
 
Dependency
: Seller item
 
Activities
: Search for service, Start negotiation, Evaluate offers, Pay,Receipt, Inform
 
Success
 
actions
: Inform real user & Pay
Failed
 
actions
: Declare Failure
 
Purchase Goal Dependency
 
Description
: Purchase item from vender
 Depender:
Customer
 
Dependee:
Vender
 
Dependum
: Item & Service
 
Goal
: Purchase goal
 
Pre-condition:
Item is available
 Post-condition:
Order fulfilment
 
27http://sites.google.com/site/ijcsis/ISSN 1947-5500

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