One of the main activities of AgentLink and AgentLink II was to establish a number of special interest groups (SIGs). An AgentLink SIG was a group of researchers and developers sharing an interest in a specific sub-area of agent technology. SIGs were not established in a top-down manner: they were formed as a result of mostly unsolicited, refereed proposals made by AgentLink II members. However, the SIGs of AgentLink II largely continued in the same structure as those of AgentLink. In an effort to ensure effective and appropriate representation, and to reflect the dynamism of the field, as well as to establish links to related disciplines, AL3 will establish a periodic Technical Forum (AL3-TF), in which Technical Forum Groups (TFGs) will meet to discuss issues of key interest.
The aims of the AL3 Technical Fora are:
- to facilitate the dynamic development of communities around specific areas of strategic importance for European agent R&D, enabling them to share common problems, issues, and results in a manner that other forums (e.g., academic workshops and conferences) do not allow;
- to respond dynamically to fast-changing developments;
- to develop and update the AL3 roadmap from AgentLink II;
- to provide the AL3 management committee with "bottom-up" input to its decision-making process, and hence ensure that the strategic direction of the network is reactive to the needs of its members;
- to establish links with related areas within computing, and related areas in other research disciplines, such as economics and biology;
- TFGs will be selected on a "per event" basis, in response to bids for each Technical Forum, with decisions being made in relation to links to related areas, industrial relevance and contribution to roadmapping. New areas that have no obvious forum for discussion of important issues will be prioritised.
More precisely, AL3 will accept TFG of the following sorts:
- Application-area TFGs. These TFGs are intended to focus on promising application areas for agent technology. Apart from the expansion upon AgentLink II's programme of application-area SIGs, TFGs will be encouraged to find support from other (national and European) sources in addition to AL3, and to form collaborations for projects, particularly with respect to the IST programme;
- Research-area TFGs. One of the key activities of AgentLink II was the instigation of a number of research SIGs. The corresponding TFGs in AL3 are collections of nodes, working on closely related underlying technologies. Particular emphasis here will be given to establishing links with related areas and to other disciplines, in an effort to draw together the critical mass of researchers across relevant domains;
- Inter-network TFGs. One aspect of AgentLink II's activities that proved to be of great interest to the wider IT and telecommunications communities was a number of meetings held in cooperation with other networks of excellence, such as COMPULOGNET, ONTOWEB and I3NET. These meetings provided researchers and developers working in both communities with the opportunity to meet, exchange ideas, and identify issues of common interest. This activity area will be continued and expanded in AL3, with links to related networks of excellence (such as OntoWeb II) and to related integrated projects.
TFGs will get several benefits from AL3. A number of participants per each TFG (depending on the number of TFGs at each Forum) will get support for travel. Participants will receive copies of handouts/proceedings, and organisers will delegate provision of the meeting rooms, organisation of the event, etc., to AL3 staff. Also, after several years of successful work, AgentLink is a relevant scientific brand, and the whole AL3 structure will strongly help spreading TFG's scientific results, e.g. through AL3 Raodmap.
Information on TFGs will be made available via the AL3 Web site, with a web presence ensuring the life of the group beyond the meeting itself. TFGs supported by AL3 will be required, as a condition of funding, to write a report on the TFG meeting, and on activities preceding and resulting from the meeting, for subsequent inclusion in the AL3 newsletter and the AL3 Web site. Each TFG will have a chairperson (TFG Chair), responsible for liaising with AL3, managing the activities of the TFG, and responsible for all the committments of the TFG.
For more information go to TFG Frequently Asked Questions.