Internet as we know it is substantially based on a traditional client-server approach. Typically the Net is constituted by a plethora of central servers, where information are stored and offered to all the users; also these elements carry out all the complex elaborations needed in order to provide the requested services.
On the other side users interact by means of several clients (browsers, mail etc..) able to relate with the correct network nodes, and moreover this interaction is normally triggered by user’s own initiative. This scheme is the fundamental brick for almost all the actions people perform on the Web, and it’s easily understandable that is the very good way to do a quantity of things.
But the are several indications that in some contexts and cases a different approach is required.
Technology improvements bring us advanced devices (PC’s but not only) with significant storage and elaboration capabilities alongside with the possibility of a virtually omnipresent connection (fixed broadband, mobile next generation networks, wireless LAN’s…).
Meanwhile the journey of human beings in the information era has been long enough to put people in an environment in which information sources are increasing constantly and where everybody can even represent a individual source as well. Also, communication between people is being made possible in several different ways exploiting the several transmission networks.
In brief, a paradigm of direct and seamless communication between peers, where all the elements have the same capabilities and the same possibility of starting a session and acting independently, emerges from the analysis of the evolution in act.
JADE is a middleware that aims at supporting the development of applications that address this evolution as its fundament is the Peer-to-Peer intelligent agent approach.
JADE allows the development of systems of peers able:
• to work in a proactive way, according to usage rules given by owners
• to communicate and negotiate with others, directly and regardless to their role and position
• to coordinate in order to solve complex problems in a distributed way
There’s a great number of cases in which this approach leads to the building of a networks with significant advantages in respect to a classic client-server approach.
Applications fields where JADE systems can be efficiently designed and deployed are practically all, ranging from internet services, addressed to both consumer or corporate people, extending to the mobile environment and covering, with optimal results also the machine-to-machine applications sector, where peers proactivity and distributed task coordination are functionalities perfectly suited for typical automated networks requirements.
And, very interestingly, all these environments may share the same basic set of functionalities needed to support communications protocols, autonomous behaviors and peers management.
JADE realizes a JAVA-based middleware that collects all these building blocks and offers an extensive set of API’s (Application Programming Interface), alongside with an excellent suite of programming and testing tools, for an easy and intuitive development of p2p agent based applications.
Moreover the great strength of JADE is its seamless portability in different run time environment: thanks to the contribution of the European IST project called LEAP, JADE has interoperating versions for every profile of Java Machines, from the J2EE for Internet servers to the J2ME MIDP for mobile terminals.
JADE has been conceived and developed by Telecom Italia, the Telecom Italia R&D center, but from the very beginning we have chosen an open way for its proposition and growth. JADE is made available to everybody under the LGPL license and an Open Source Community has been created around it.
Thanks to the significant contribution of this Community the middleware has reached the current level of excellence and has assembled a very relevant number of entities interested in its use and development, ranging from academic and R&D groups to companies and start-ups that base some of their products and services of our middleware.
The recent institution of the JADE Governing Board marks a huge step forward in the success of JADE, with all the board members collaborating for the mission of promoting the evolution and adoption of JADE as de-facto standard middleware for agent-based applications in the mobile environment.
It marks also a renewed commitment from Telecom Italia for the spread of JADE in the hope of seeing an ever growing number of applications based upon.