Limited Mobile Agents: A Practical Approach

Jesse M. Steinberg and Joseph Pasquale
December 29, 1999

Mobile Agents are a newly emerging network application technology in which programs can travel throughout a network to run on machines other than the originating host. Extensive research on Mobile Agents has been ongoing for many years and many Mobile Agent systems have been developed. However, there has not yet been any widespread acceptance of Mobile Agents as a viable technology by the Internet community. We examine the existing forms of mobile code technology and suggest using a limited form of Mobile Agent in conjunction with proxy servers for the purpose of client customization. We explore the issues of security, flexibility, deployability, and the utility of client customization using mobile agents and proxies, with the aim of developing a practical system that can be integrated into today's Internet. The benefits of using these agents for customization include performance improvements through the reduction of network latency, as well as improving the client's interface to distributed data sources through merging, filtering, and custom displays.

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