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Encyclopedia > Artificial intelligence agent

To be considered a bonafide agent, an agent (software, hardware or otherwise) must exhibit the behavioural qualities of agenthood. Essentially this means perceiving the software environment through sensors and acting on the environment through actuators. This must be accomplished autonomously. Computer software (or simply software) refers to one or more computer programs and data held in the storage of a computer for some purpose. ... Hardware is equipment such as fasteners, keys, locks, hinges, wire, chains, plumbing supplies, tools, utensils, cutlery and machine parts, especially when they are made of metal. ... Behavior or behaviour refers to the actions or reactions of an object or organism, usually in relation to the environment. ... A sensor is a technological device or biological organ that detects, or senses, a signal or physical condition. ... An actuator is the mechanism by which an agent acts upon an environment. ...

Agents are one of the most prominent and attractive technologies in computer science at the beginning of the new millennium. The technologies, methods, and theories of agents and multiagent systems are currently contributing to many diverse domains such as information retrieval, user interfaces, electronic commerce, robotics, computer mediated collaboration, computer games, education and training, ubiquitous computing, and social simulation. They not only are a very promising technology, but are also emerging as a new way of thinking, a conceptual paradigm for analyzing problems and for designing systems, for dealing with complexity, distribution, and interactivity, while providing a new perspective on computing and intelligence.

A mail transfer agent for example decides when to transfer and deliver the mail, and does so asynchronously and independently from the behaviours of other agents in the system. A mail transfer agent or MTA (also called a mail server, or a mail exchange server in the context of the Domain Name System) is a computer program or software agent which transfers electronic mail messages from one computer to another. ...

Agents generally --and including some software agents-- have the ability to learn and to reason, logically or otherwise. They may discover facts and rules about the world or about others and may assess and argue these truths and may alter their ontology. Learned redirects here. ... Look up Fact in Wiktionary, the free dictionary Fact is the following: Generally a fact is an event that has happened, or a statement that is generally regarded as true — whether one accepts it as real (true) or not. ... Rule has several meanings: A rule in mathematics is something which is always true. ... In philosophy, ontology (from the Greek όντος = prep. ...


Agent Environments

Environments in which agents operate can be defined in different ways. It is helpful to view the following definitions as referring to the way the environment appears from the point of view of the agent itself.

Observable & partially observable

In order for an agent to be considered an agent some part of the environment - relevant to the action being considered - must be observable. In some cases (particularly in software) all of the environment will be observable by the agent. This, while useful to the agent, will generally only be true only of relatively simple environments.

Deterministic, stochastic & strategic

An environment that is fully deterministic is one in which the subsequent state of the environment is wholly dependent on the preceding state and the actions of the agent. If an element of interference or uncertainty occurs then the environment is stochastic. Note that a deterministic yet partially observable environment will appear to be stochastic to the agent. The term deterministic may refer to: the more general notion of determinism from philosophy, see determinism a type of algorithm as discussed in computer science, see deterministic algorithm scientific determinism as used by Karl Popper and Stephen Hawking deterministic system in mathematics deterministic system in philosophy deterministic finite state machine... Stochastic, from the Greek stochos or goal, means of, relating to, or characterized by conjecture; conjectural; random. ... A strategy is a long term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal. ...

And environment state wholly determined by the preceding state and the actions of multiple agents is called strategic.

Episodic & sequential

This refers to the task environment of the agent. If each task that the agent must perform does not rely upon past performance, and will not effect future performance then it is episodic. Otherwise it is sequential. An episode is to television and radio what a chapter is to a book: a part of a sequence of a body of work. ... Exit numbers on Interstate 4 in Volusia County, Florida. ...

Static & dynamic

A static environment, as the name suggests, is one that does not change from one state to the next while the agent is considering its course of action. In other words - the only changes to the environment as those caused by the agent itself. A dynamic environment will change - and thus if an agent does not respond in a timely manner, this counts as a choice to do nothing. Static can refer to more than one thing: Used in everyday speech as shorthand for static electricity, or as a slang term for hardheadedness (as in Dont give me static). In consumer electronics, static is a synonym for white noise. ... The word dynamics can refer to: a branch of mechanics; see dynamics (mechanics) the volume of music; see dynamics (music) When used referring to mechanics, it is referring to the study of the motion of both rigid bodies and particles. ...

Discrete & continuous

This distinction refers to whether or not the environment is composed of a finite or infinite number of possible states. A discrete environment will have a finite number of possible states, however, if this number is extremely high, then it becomes virtually continuous from the agents perspective. The word discrete comes from the Latin word discretus which means separate. ... Look up Continuum in Wiktionary, the free dictionary Continuum can refer to: Continuum (mathematics), sets such as the real line Continuum hypothesis - There is no set whose size is strictly between that of the integers and that of the real numbers. ...

Single-agent & multiple agent

An environment is only considered multiple agent if the agent under consideration must act co operatively with another agent to achieve some task or goal. Otherwise another agent is simply viewed as a stochastically behaving part of the environment.

Overview of environments

rising order of complexity →
Observable Partially observable
Deterministic Stochastic
Episodic Sequential
Static Dynamic
Discrete Continuous
Single-agent Multiple agent

See also

Machine learning is an area of artificial intelligence concerned with the development of techniques which allow computers to learn. More specifically, machine learning is a method for creating computer programs by the analysis of data sets. ... In engineering and mathematics, control theory deals with the behaviour of dynamical systems over time. ... Free will is the philosophical doctrine that holds that our choices are ultimately up to us. ... The Semantic Web is a project that intends to create a universal medium for information exchange by giving meaning (semantics), in a manner understandable by machines, to the content of documents on the Web. ...


  • Russell, S., & Norvig, R. (2003), Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, 2nd edition, Prentice Hall: New Jersey

  Results from FactBites:
DesktopMates.com - Artificial Intelligence (886 words)
Artificial Intelligence is the wave of the future and will one day become the standard on how we will interact with our computers.
Both rely on and use the same artificial speech engines and voice recognition technology which is one of the foundations of artificial intelligence and both can have characters performing similar tasks and duties for you, but this about where the similarities end.
All MS Agent characters are installed into a special default character folder which is part of the MS Agent core components on your system.
Intelligent agent - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (649 words)
In computer science, an intelligent agent (IA) is a software agent that exhibits some form of artificial intelligence that assists the user and will act on their behalf, in performing repetitive computer-related tasks.
These agents, also known as "predictive agents", are intelligent agents that observe and report on equipment.
There are hundreds of intelligent agents, or 'bots', for a wide variety of tasks.
  More results at FactBites »



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