Intelligent software agents are a powerful technology which is attracting considerable (and growing!) interest. While there are books that cover research areas on agents or survey the field (including the excellent book by Michael Wooldridge), until now there has been no book aimed at an industrial software developer that answers not only the questions "what are agents?" and "why are they useful?" but also the crucial question: "how do I design and build intelligent software agents?".
This book aims to provide a practical introduction to building intelligent agents. It covers everything a practitioner needs to know to design and build intelligent agents including an introduction to the notion of agents, a description of the concepts involved, and a software engineering methodology covering specification, analysis, design and implementation of agents.
The core of the book is the Prometheus methodology for designing multi agent systems. This methodology has been developed over the past six or seven years in collaboration with Agent Oriented Software, a company which markets the agent development platform, JACK™ as well as agent solutions. The methodology has been used internally at Agent Oriented Software and has also been taught at industry workshops and within university courses. It has proven effective in assisting students and practitioners to develop and document their design and is now at a sufficient level of maturity that support tools have been developed.
This book is aimed at industrial software developers and at undergraduate students. It assumes knowledge of basic software engineering but does not require knowledge of Artificial Intelligence or of mathematics.