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Interaction is at the core of multi-agent systems. The authors use agent environment as a general term to denote the medium for agent interaction. Over the last years, the agent environment has been subject of active research. In this paper, they reflect on the role of the agent environment in multi-agent systems from a middleware perspective. Their study yields the following observations: multi-agent system engineers consider distributed middleware (RMI, CORBA, etc.) as the basic platform for developing multi-agent systems, common middleware services (security, persistency, etc.) are only minimally considered in multi-agent systems, domain-specific middleware for multi-agent systems such as communication services and support for stigmergic coordination are typically developed as stand-alone services and as such difficult to compose with other services.
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