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Semantic Agents on the Internet - Ontologies for Internet Agents, Search Agents

user semantics ebxml oriented

Definition: Semantic agents belong to intelligent agents, which is a software program that exhibits a goal oriented behavior, interacts with distributed entities – including media and other agents – and attempts to satisfy user-specified requirements .

Agent-oriented programming and Agent Communication Languages (ACL) are now relatively well understood and documented. Key to all ACL’s – and all agent interactions – is a shared syntax and semantic of the domain of discourse and the interaction protocols. An ontology is an artifact that can provide such a shared model. Naturally, on the Internet, no single ontology describes all information from every attitude. In fact, the vast majority of Internet information is unstructured, informally interlinked at best, and lacking formal semantic. These facts hinder agent-based internet activities and as a result, semantic agents on the Internet tend to be specialized for particular domains; i.e. those domains providing well-structured well-specified ontologies.

Ontologies for Internet Agents

Many technologies are now beginning to play major roles in facilitating the development of global-scale Internet agent applications. One example is the project which aims to create a very large open-source general knowledge base (about 6,000 concepts, 60,000 assertions). More ‘vertically’ oriented, the OASIS Electronic Business using XML (ebXML) is a large specification of XML-encoded business collaborations, specifications, taxonomies, and structures, and has wide industry consensus. ebXML allows e-commerce software agents to programmatically understand and engage in e-commerce. Many researchers are currently examining how the rich semantics of OWL and RDF can make e-commerce registries such as ebXML and Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) (e.g. which hold descriptions of services) more descriptive, capturing the semantics of the business and operational semantics. Regardless, such ontologies allow Internet agents to programmatically interact, to more easily adapt to exception cases, and to make ad hoc decisions during goal processing.

Search Agents

Almost all Internet search Web sites (e.g. Google, Yahoo!, etc.) ask the user to enter keyword constraints. There are several problems with this approach: a) search engine invariably fails to filter out the unintended intentions of terms (e.g. to the user, does Apple mean the fruit or the company?), b) certain documents may not actually use the terms entered by the user but may nonetheless be highly relevant (e.g. they may use other terms, synonyms, etc.) These same issues are relevant to intelligent agents in the Internet, who may be tasked by their users to find information. In general, a strong notion of sermantics (e.g. as in W3C’s OWL) together with ontologies and rule-bases (or other means for making inference) partially solve these problems. Various related techniques are currently in use including: Google.com’s link structure semantics, Bayesian networks, clustering, and latent semantic indexing.

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