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An agent-based approach for workflow management

By: Yu Li; Shouju Ren; Wenhuang Liu; Biqing Huang; Hongmei Gou;

2000 / IEEE / 0-7803-6583-6


This item was taken from the IEEE Conference ' An agent-based approach for workflow management ' The authors propose an agent based approach for workflow management, aiming at achieving flexible and dynamic workflow management in the distributed environment. We treat agents as autonomous entities with abilities to solve problems independently and propose an agent hierarchy as well as an agent model. The agent hierarchy consists of three kinds of agents at three neighboring levels: activity agents, role agents and actor agents. With our agent hierarchy, the gap between the dynamic workflow enactment and the static business process model can be bridged. The three levels of agents collaborate with each other through the contract-net approach and the feedback mechanism. Through such collaboration, activity-actor assignments can be achieved flexibly and dynamically; and the workflow execution can be monitored and managed in a real time fashion. The agent model consists of three sub-agents: a message-receiving one, a decision-making one and a message-sending one. Connected by two message queues, these three collaboratively operating sub-agents can complete functions of an agent effectively. Through message transfers of the message-receiving/sending sub-agents and the message based behavior-performing of the decision-making subagent, individual agents as well as the agent hierarchy can operate effectively and efficiently.