Mobile code with Erlang

Peter Andersson <>
Fri Feb 11 10:27:48 CET 2000


I was in the Marketspace project back then , actually. I worked in one of
the two teams that developed their intelligent software agents in Erlang
(the other 2 or 3 teams used Java if I don't remember it wrong). We were
also a group of students that developed a suitable object oriented
description language for ontologies (named ALLFONS - A Little Language For
Ontologies) for the same project. (This language still exists, I believe,
but has been improved, extended and renamed since then). Like Erik said,
our agents were stationary (they executed on different machines but did not
move around in the network). The project focused on investigating how
useful agent technology can be, using intelligent agents with different
roles (e.g. personal agent, broker, etc) for collecting and exchanging
information on the Internet.

My experience is that Erlang is a great choice for this type of
application. Not only does it have excellent features for quick devolpment
and prototyping, but I found the platform independence, concurrency and the
existing socket interfaces and internet connection components to be
especially useful for developing applications such as software agents.
Also, 'yecc' makes life very easy when it comes to build a parser (like the
one we made for ALLFONS).

Actually, it was my personal experience of using Erlang in the Marketspace
project that made me run straight to Erlang Systems looking for a job right
after my University studies were finished!



Francesco Cesarini wrote:

> > According to my experience, Erlang programs run much faster than their
> > Java counterpart. Moreover, the hot code-swapping feature should make
> > it very practical to update mobile agents without bringing them down.
> I believe Uppsala University ran a project on mobile agents [for last
> year
> students] back in 1996 using Erlang, so the idea is not new. Take out
> your
> Swedish - English dictionary (or favorite web page translator) and look
> at
> If I remember correctly, it was a project partly funded by Telia (The
> Swedish
> Phone company), so I do not know if the source code is available.
> Regards,
> Francesco
> --
> Francesco Cesarini
> Erlang/OTP Consultant
> Cellular: +44-(0)79-30580433
> ECN:832-707192

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