Multi-Agent Systems for e-Commerce
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Multi-Agent Systems for e-Commerce Virendra C. Bhavsar Professor and Director, Advanced Computational Research Laboratory Faculty of Computer Science, University of New Brunswick Fredericton, NB, Canada [email protected] Outline. Multi-Agent Systems

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Multi-Agent Systems for e-Commerce Virendra C. Bhavsar Professor and

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Multi-Agent Systems for e-Commerce

Virendra C. Bhavsar

Professor and

Director, Advanced Computational Research Laboratory

Faculty of Computer Science, University of New Brunswick Fredericton, NB, Canada

[email protected]


  • Multi-Agent Systems

  • Multi-Agent Systems and E-Commerce Applications

  • ACORN and Extensions

  • Areas for Collaboration

  • Conclusion


  • “A software agent is an interface that looks like a person, acts like a person and even appears to think like one”

  • “An agent has mental properties, such as knowledge, belief, intention and obligation.” In addition, it may have mobility, rationality, …

Multi-Agent Systems for e-Commerce

  • User Preference Agents

  • Information Broker Agents

  • Buyer Agents

  • Seller Agents

  • Procurement Agents

  • ……….

Current Research Work

  •  Multi-Agent Systems

  • - with Dr. Ghorbani and Dr. Marsh (NRC,

  • Ottawa)

  • - Intelligent agents

  • - Keyphrase-based Information sharing

  • between agents

  • - Scalability and Performance Evaluation

  • - Applications to e-commerce and

  • bioinformatics

  • - with Dr. Mironov

  • Specification and verification of multi-agent systems

ACORN (Agent-based Community Oriented Retrieval Network) ArchitectureSteve Marsh, Institute for Information Technology, NRC Virendra C. Bhavsar, Ali A. Ghorbani, UNB- Keyphrase-based Information Sharing between Agents Hui Yu – MCS Thesis (UNB) MATA’2000 Paper- Performance Evaluation using Multiple Autonomous Virtual Users HPCS’2000 paper

ACORNAgent-Based Community-Oriented {Retrieval | Routing} Network

  • ACORN is a multi-agent based system for information diffusion and (limited) search in networks

  • In ACORN, all pieces of information are represented by semi-autonomous agents...- searches; documents; images, etc.

  • Intended to allow human users to collaborate closely

Relation to Other Work

  • Search Engines

    • Alta Vista, Excite, Yahoo, InfoSeek, Lycos, etc...

    • If the user has to search, it’s because the information diffusion is

      • not fast enough, not accurate enough

  • Recommender Systems

    • Firefly (Maes), Fab (Balabanovic)

    • Content-based or Collaborative

    • ACORN’s agents are a radical new approach, and a mixture of both...

    • ACORN is distributed

    • ACORN levers direct human-human contact knowledge

  • Matchmakers

    • Yenta (Foner)

    • Very close to the ACORN spirit, lacking in flexibility of ACORN

Relation to Other Work (cont.)

  • Web Page Watchers and Push Technologies

    • Tierra, Marimba, Channels

    • ACORN is a means of pushing new data, reducing the need to watch for changes

  • Filtering Systems

    • The filtering in ACORN is implicit in what is recommended by humans

  • ‘Knowbots’

    • Softbots (Washington, Etzioni, Weld), Nobots (Stanford, Shoham)

    • mobile agents for internet search

    • ACORN provides diffusion also


  • Uses communication between agents representing pieces of information, ACORN automates some of the processes

    • Anyone can create agents, and direct them to parties they know will be interested

    • An Agent carries user profile

    • Agents can share information

Multi-Agent SystemsB2B-B2C Extensions

  • ACORN and B2B – B2C extensions

    - User-driven personalisation

  • personalised and personalisable automatic delivery and search for information

  • directed advertisements based on user profiles and preferences

  • directed programming (both these examples based on interactive TV facilities such as those offered by iMagicTV and Microsoft interactive TV).

  • agent learning

  • data mining over large distributed networks and databases,

Multi-Agent SystemsB2B-B2C Extensions

  • ACORN and B2B – B2C extensions

    - the management of firms and user reputation (as in eBay's reputation manager, amongst others)

     finally leading into proposed standards and legal bases necessary for eCommerce

  • Perceived and actual user privacy

  • Automated and manually-driven user profile generation and update

Multi-Agent SystemsB2B-B2C Extensions

  • Adaptation to Multi-processor machines at a single as well as multiple sites to exploit CA*NETIII

  • Usability Studies

  • XML objects instead of Java objects

Trust In Information Systems - eCommerce

  • Formalization of Trust: Steve Marsh (early 1990s)

  • Prototype version of an adaptable web site for eCommerce transactions

  • Trust in information systems:

    - creation and sustainability

    - user interface technologies

  • - user perceptions, behaviors, etc. and how to

  • influence and use such user behaviors.

  • - automatic user profile generation, its use in agent-based interfaces such as the trust reasoning adaptive web sites

Trust In Information Systems - eCommerce

  • Adaptive technologies in general for eCommerce, education, entertainment

  • Personality in the user interface and how it can affect user trust and perceived satisfaction

Multi-Agent Systems for Distributed Databases

  • Problem:Businesses are faced with continuous updating of their large and distributed databases connected on intranets and the Internet

  • Multi-Agent Systems

    - Very naturally satisfy many requirements in such an environment

    - Provide a very flexible and open architecture

    - Scalability analysis with multiprocessor servers


  • Parallel and Distributed Intelligent Systems

  • Multi-Agent Systems and ACORN

  • Applications in e-Commerce

  • B2B and B2C Extensions

  • Trust in Information Systems

  • Multi-Agent Systems for Distributed Databases

  • NRC Collaborations in the above and other areas

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