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.
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).
ANS has undergone several significant upgrades, including
the following major ones:
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
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.
Beginning with Version 2.8, The RETSINA ANS now has an ANS
GUI for ANS Management.