Introduction to Jade

JADE (Java Agent DEvelopment Framework) is a software framework fully implemented in Java language. It simplifies the implementation of multi-agent systems through a middle-ware that claims to comply with the FIPA specifications and through a set of tools that supports the debugging and deployment phase. The agent platform can be distributed across machines (which not even need to share the same OS) and the configuration can be controlled via a remote GUI. The configuration can be even changed at run-time by creating new agents and moving agents from one machine to another one, as and when required. The only system requirement is the Java Run Time version 5 or later.

The communication architecture offers flexible and efficient messaging, where JADE creates and manages a queue of incoming ACL messages, private to each agent. Agents can access their queue via a combination of several modes: blocking, polling, timeout and pattern matching based. The full FIPA communication model has been implemented and its components have been clearly distincted and fully integrated: interaction protocols, envelope, ACL, content languages, encoding schemes, ontologies and, finally, transport protocols. The transport mechanism, in particular, is like a chameleon because it adapts to each situation, by transparently choosing the best available protocol. Most of the interaction protocols defined by FIPA are already available and can be instantiated after defining the application-dependent behaviour of each state of the protocol. SL and agent management ontology have been implemented already, as well as the support for user-defined content languages and ontologies that can be implemented, registered with agents, and automatically used by the framework.

JADE is being used by a number of companies and academic groups, such as BT, Telefonica, CNET, NHK, Imperial College, IRST, KPN, University of Helsinky, INRIA, ATOS, and many others.

JADE is distributed in Open Source under the LGPL License. Further details and documentation can be found at http://jade.tilab.com/.