SOMA Interoperability (2)

The first two features are provided by the CORBA C/S extension of SOMA: agents can play the role of CORBA clients or can register themselves as CORBA servers to offer access points to an application outside the SOMA system. The third feature is addressed by SOMA with MASIF-compliance. Any external system can control agents of a MASIF-compliant MA system via the MAFAgentSystem interface: MASIF defines methods for suspending/resuming/terminating agents and for moving agents from an MA system to another when the two systems have a certain degree of compatibility (i.e., the same implementation language, or compatible externalization mechanisms). Agent tracking functions permit the tracing of agents registered with MAF-Finder, introduced to provide an MA name service, because the CORBA Naming Service is not suitable for entities which are mobile by nature.

The interoperability features are obtained via the CORBABridge add-on (see Figure 2), which is composed of two distinct modules: the first one (CORBA C/S) simplifies the design of SOMA entities as CORBA clients/servers; the second one (MASIFBridge) implements the MASIF functionality. Since MASIF implementation can introduce a heavy overhead for the execution place, we have decided not to extend all the places with this module: our guideline is that only one place per domain should be extended with MASIFBridge; on the other hand, the CORBA C/S module is lightweight, and many places in the same domain may use it to access to the CORBA bus, either for calling external services or for registering as servers. Any SOMA agent, resident at a CORBA C/S extended place, is able to act as a CORBA client/server through both static (IDL stub/skeleton) and dynamic (DII/DSI) invocations/registrations.

The CORBABridge add-on to a SOMA place
Figure 2. The agent execution environment with the CORBABridge extension

(click here for a larger view of the picture)

We are currently testing SOMA interoperability by designing applications in which our mobile agents cooperate with mobile agents from other MA MASIF-compliant platforms, such as Grasshopper.

In considering interoperability, SOMA does also take into account the security problems that stem from interacting with external components and provides solutions compliant with both CORBA security services and MASIF security features.

Page updated on Tuesday, 08-Jan-2002 23:38:15 CET
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