Höft,, Michael and Magedanz, Thomas and Quantz, Joachim
Grasshopper - The Agent Platform.
AgentLink News (3).
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In the last few years, research in agent technology has addressed two issues which are of special importance for commercial exploitation, namely standardisation and the relationship between agent technology and object oriented
technology. Today there is a common understanding that agent technology should be seen as an enhancement of distributed object technology and first agent standards are available. In particular, the Object Management Group (OMG) has produced the MASIF standard: Mobile Agent System Interoperability Facility  (see also the MASIF Overview in AgentLink News 1). Together with the more recent work
within the newly established OMG Agent Special Interest Group this can be regarded as a major milestone on the road towards a unified distributed intelligent mobile object middleware. Another important standardisation forum for agent technologies and applications is the Foundation of Intelligent Physical Agents (FIPA) .
This article provides a brief overview of Grasshopper, which is the first available MASIF-conformant mobile agent platform today . The first commercial Grasshopper version has been released in summer 1998 and is used today in several European projects, such as ANIMA, CAMELEON, FACTS, MARINE, MARINER and MIAMI. Most of these projects belong to CLIMATE, the Cluster for Intelligent Mobile
Agents in Telecommunication Environments, which is part of the European Research Programme ACTS (Advanced Communications Technologies and Services)  (see also the CLIMATE Overview in AgentLink News 2).
We also sketch extensions envisaged for future releases of Grasshopper, such as the integration of a FIPA-Add-On making Grasshopper FIPA-compliant and supporting the Agent Communication Language ACL. Given Grasshopper’s current
functionality and the scope of future releases, grasshopper can thus be characterised is an open agent platform, which offers through its standard conformance and
the related interfaces a maximum of flexibility for the development of distributed applications.
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