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Definition

software agent

A software agent is a persistent, goal-oriented computer program that reacts to its environment and runs without continuous direct supervision to perform some function for an end user or another program. Some, but not all, software agents have UIs (user interfaces). A software agent is the computer analog of an autonomous robot.

Software agents represent an evolutionary step beyond conventional computer programs. Software agents can activate and run themselves, not requiring input from or interaction with a human user. Software agents can also initiate, oversee, and terminate other programs or agents including applications and online intelligent agents.

Among a great many other applications, software agents:

  • Conduct targeted Internet searches.
  • Check and prioritize incoming E-mail.
  • Test new computer games.
  • Fill out e-forms.
  • Conduct online job searches.
  • Synchronize social networking profiles.
  • Assemble customized news reports.
  • Find good deals in e-commerce.

 

This was last updated in January 2013

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