Tenth International Workshop CIA 2006 on


Cooperative Information Agents

September 11 - 13, 2006

                                 University of Edinburgh, UK


In cooperation with ACM SIGART, ACM SIGWeb,  ACM SIGKDD, Global Grid Forum


The Helpful Environment: Distributed Agents and Services Which Cooperate

Austin Tate (AIAI, University of Edinburgh, UK)

Imagine a future environment where networks of agents - people, robots and software agents - interact with sophisticated sensor grids and environmental  actuators to provide advice, protection and aid. The systems will be integral  to clothing, communications devices, vehicles, transportation systems, buildings, and pervasive in the environment. Vehicles and buildings could assist both their occupants and those around them. Systems would adapt and respond to emergencies whether communication were possible or not. Where feasible, local help would be used, with appropriate calls on shared services facilitated whenever this is both possible and necessary. Through this  framework requests for assistance could be validated and brokered to available  and appropriate services in a highly distributed fashion. Services would be  provided to individuals or communities through this network to add value and give all sorts of assistance beyond emergency response aspects. In emergency  situations, the local infrastructure would be augmented by the facilities of  the responder teams at any level from local police, ambulance and fire response, all the way up to international response. An emergency zone's own  infrastructure could be augmented when necessary by laying down temporary low  cost sensor grids and placing specialized devices and robotic responders into the disaster area. These would form the basis for a distributed, adaptable, and resilient "helpful environment" for every individual and organisation at  personal, family, business, regional, national and international levels.

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