JADE offers the following list of features to the agent programmer:
- FIPA-compliant Agent Platform, which includes the AMS (Agent Management System), the DF (Directory Facilitator), and the ACC (Agent Communication Channel), all automatically activated at the agent platform startup;
- distributed agent platform. The agent platform can be split on several hosts (provided that there is no firewall between them). Only one Java application, and therefore only one Java Virtual Machine, is executed on each host. Agents are implemented as one Java thread and Java events are used for effective and lightweight communication between agents on the same host. Parallel tasks can be still executed by one agent, and JADE schedules these tasks in an efficient way;
- a number of FIPA-compliant DFs (Directory Facilitator) can be launched and federated;
- programming interface to simplify registration of agent services with one, or more, domains (i.e. DF);
- transport mechanism and interface to send/receive messages to/from other agents;
- FIPA-compliant MTPs (Message Transport Protocol) to connect different agent platforms;
- lightweight transport of ACL messages inside the same agent platform, as messages are transferred encoded as Java objects, rather than strings, in order to avoid marshaling and unmarshaling procedures. When sender or receiver do not belong to the same platform, the message is automatically converted to /from the FIPA compliant string format. In this way, this conversion is hidden to the agent programmers that only need to deal with the same class of Java object;
- library of FIPA interaction protocols ready to be used;
- automatic registration of agents with the AMS;
- FIPA-compliant naming service: at startup agents obtain their GUID (Globally Unique Identifier) from the platform;
- graphical user interface to remotely manage the life-cycle of agents and agent containers.
- graphical tools for debugging the multi-agent system, like the dummy agent to send/receive ACL messages and the sniffer agent to monitor the ongoing communication between several agents.
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