Proceedings of the 3rd. World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics and The 5th. Int'l Conference on Information Systems Analysis and Synthesis (SCI'99/ISAS'99)
An Agent System for Application Initialization in an Integrated Manufacturing Environment
August 4, 1999
A great deal of research and development effort has been undertaken in recent years to integrate otherwise disconnected manufacturing production and planning (P/E) application software systems so that the enterprises can react quickly and accurately to the ever changing market dynamics. In such an integrated P/E environment it is, at times, necessary to bring in a new application in order to replace an outmoded one or to provide functionality that is not available in the existing environment. The process of introducing a new application, Application Initialization, is very complicated and can be extremely costly in terms of time and resources. In this paper we propose a multi-agent system (MAS) to assist with the application initialization process. A collection of eight agents with specialized expertise is assembled to carry out the operational steps of the initialization process. These agents interact with each other, with other applications in the environment, and with the human specialist in the process. All agents speak KQML language, supported by Jackal, a JAVA based, light-weighted and flexible agent communication infrastructure we have developed. The MAS is tested with an integrated environment involving real P/E applications. The success of the experiment demonstrates that MAS is a technically viable approach for providing flexible and inexpensive solutions to difficult tasks (application initialization and others) in the integration of manufacturing planning and execution.
Orlando, Florida, USA
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