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The notion of agent more and more appears in different contexts of computer science, often with different meanings. The main acceptation is the AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Distributed AI one, where agents are essentially exploited as a technique to develop special-purpose systems exhibiting some kind of intelligent behavior. In this paper, the authors introduce a further perspective, shifting the focus from AI to computer programming and programming languages. In particular, they consider agents and related concepts as general purpose abstractions useful for programming software systems in general, conceptually extending object-oriented programming with features that - they argue - are effective to tackle some main challenges of modern software development.
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