Agent Name Server



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The RETSINA Agent Name Server (ANS) is a server that acts as a registry or "white pages" of agents, storing agent names, host machines, and port numbers in its cache. The ANS helps to manage inter-agent communication by providing a mechanism for locating agents.

When an agent becomes active and an ANS is available, the agent registers with an ANS by providing its name, host name, and port number. An ANS keeps a list of agent locations, so that, should agents relocate to different host machines, other agents will still be able to find them. Agents locate other agents by querying ANSs that store the location data of the agents that they wish to find. The means by which agents locate ANSs and each other has been radically revised by the addition of Discovery (see below).

The RETSINA ANS has undergone several significant upgrades, including the following major ones:

  • Security: Open-network multi-agent systems (MASs) face security threats from malicious agents. These agents may try to unregister their competitors from ANSs and Matchmakers, eavesdrop on supposedly private communications, and spoof other agents, including their own human delegators. We have developed Secure ANS to counteract these threats, by binding each agent to a unique Agent ID.

  • Discovery: Discovery has been integrated into ANS so that agents and ANSs can locate other active ANSs. Before implementation of Discovery, agents registered only with ANSs whose identities they knew in advance. Using Discovery, agents are dynamically registered and unregistered on multiple ANSs, and clients and servers update their lists of available agents and servers on a dynamic basis. As agents and ANSs come and go from the network, the client and server lists are expanded and contracted respectively. Agents can be initiated before an ANS is online, and instead of failing, they will register with an ANS when it beomes available. ANSs can be updated about agents from other servers who relay agent registrations and unregistrations to them.

  • Management: Beginning with Version 2.8, The RETSINA ANS now has an ANS GUI for ANS Management.


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