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Fourth Annual USENIX Tcl/Tk Workshop, 1996

Agent Tcl: A flexible and secure mobile-agent system

Robert S. Gray
Department of Computer Science
Dartmouth College
Hanover, New Hampshire


An information agent manages all or a portion of a user's information space. The electronic resources in this space are often distributed across a network and can contain tremendous quantities of data. Mobile agents provide efficient access to such resources and are a powerful tool for implementing information agents. A mobile agent is an autonomous program that can migrate from machine to machine in a heterogeneous network. By migrating to the location of a resource, the agent can access the resource efficiently even if network conditions are poor or the resource has a low-level interface. Telescript is the best-known mobile-agent system. Telescript, however, requires the programmer to learn and work with a complex object-oriented language and a complex security model. Agent Tcl, on the other hand, is a simple, flexible, and secure system that is based on the Tcl scripting language and the Safe Tcl extension. In this paper we describe the architecture of Agent Tcl and its current implementation.

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