“Agents are computer systems capable of flexible autonomous action in dynamic, unpredictable, typically multi-agent domains. In particular, in dynamic and open environments, heterogeneous systems must interact, span organisational boundaries, and operate effectively within rapidly changing circumstances and with dramatically increasing quantities of available information. Thus, the need for some degree of autonomy, to enable components to respond dynamically to changing circumstances while trying to achieve over-arching objectives. For example, in the domain of bioinformatics, determining protein function can involve multiple independent processes connected together, operating on multiple independent data sources, in some workflow. In this context, multi-agent systems, in which the various processes and data sources are encapsulated as agents that interact with each other, can provide a means to manage primary databases, perform sequence analyses (using existing tools), or store and present resulting information in a coherent fashion. In the domain of e-medical records, multi-agent systems may similarly provide the means to integrate disparate processes and data sources. Rather than offer new methods for performing these tasks, this instead organises existing methods for effective and flexible operation.”
That wraps up the NOCRI workshop except to say that the two concrete Next Steps to come out of it sound promising: the first being the organisation of a co-ordinating group to further knowledge sharing in informatics and the second being the creation of a web-resource for learning materials.