Desiderata for Agent Communication Languages

James Mayfield, Yannis Labrou, and Tim Finin

This paper offers some opinions on the desirable features of languages and protocols for communication among intelligent information agents. These desiderata are divided into seven categories: form, content, semantics, implementation, networking, environment, and reliability. The Knowledge Query and Manipulation Language (KQML), is a new language and protocol for exchanging information and knowledge. This work is part of a larger effort, the ARPA Knowledge Sharing Effort, which is aimed at developing techniques and methodologies for building largescale knowledge bases which are sharable and reusable. KQML is both a message format and a message-handling protocol to support run-time knowledge sharing among agents. KQML is described and evaluated as an agent communication language relative to the desiderata.


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