The SIGs currently supported by AgentLink are:
One of the main activities of AgentLink has been to establish a number of special interest groups (SIGs). A SIG is a group of researchers and developers sharing an interest in a specific sub-area of agent technology. SIGs are funded to meet once or twice annually; so far, AgentLink has been able to fund between 10-15 AgentLink members to attend each SIG meeting, and typically, the same number fund themselves to attend. SIGs are not established in a top-down manner: they are formed as a result of unsolicited, refereed proposals made by AgentLink members. In the SIGs, members from industry and academia come together. Therefore, the SIGs are the place where requirements identified within the industrialist community can be drawn to the attention of the academic community. One of the main ways in which AgentLink intends to get feedback from its members, and thus be driven by the needs of the community it serves, is the establishment of a number of special interest groups or SIGs for short. These SIGs fall into two categories: industrially-oriented SIGs (the management of which falls under the industrial action part of AgentLink's activities), and research-oriented (which fall under the research coordination part of AgentLink's activities. Put crudely, the purpose of establishing SIGs is to pump prime collaborative research and development activities in specific important sub-areas of agent-based computing. The aim of establishing SIGs is therefore not to create "projects within projects" or to directly fund agent research and development. The idea is that by providing resources to bring together researchers and developers who share an interest in a particular aspect of agent systems, we will create a critical mass of activity, from which new collaborative projects and other activities will spring. For example, a reasonable expectation might be that a SIG would go on from AgentLink to apply for a working group project under the European Fifth Framework program. Any member of AgentLink can propose a SIG. Information on how to do this is available in AgentLink document 1998-003.txt. There is an ongoing call for SIG proposals. SIGs will be evaluated by the following broad criteria:
- The proposal should not have too narrow a focus -- it should of broad general interest, sufficient to attract at least 15 or so active sites in Europe. The SIG should have real potential for generating new collaborations and projects that have a realistic chance of ultimately being funded at the European level. (A corollary of this is that SIGs proposed for purely abstract, academic areas will not be likely to be supported.)
- Should have at least as much industrial relevance as a typical IST RTD proposal. (AgentLink is, after all, an IST-funded project!)
AgentLink is expecting each SIG to meet once or twice a year, with funds to support travel for a maximum of about 10-15 people per event. The basic rule is that the SIG meetings will be open to anyone interested (not necessarily AgentLink members), but funds will obviously only be available to AgentLink members. Moreover, support will only be provided to meeting participants playing an active role in the meeting, for example by presenting some work. Please note that no other kinds of support (e.g., labour) will be available for SIGs.
Finally, SIGs will not have a formal membership list. Membership will be defined by activity in the SIG!