Over the last several years, measurement technology has undergone a transformation from systems with many transducers attached to a central computer to distributed measurement systems where each transducer has an attached CPU, downloadable code, and a network connection. Even though measurement technology has changed dramatically, measurement systems are still built using old-fashioned and difficult to debug program logic control (PLC) technology, which lacks important features such as fault tolerance, flexibility, and visualization capabilities. Research in software agent technology has been underway for several years, resulting in many high-performance agent systems. With a few exceptions, most existing agent systems focus on low-level technical details, such as performance, mobility and communication and do not address deployment, scaling, and especially the management issues of hundreds or thousands of agents. Many of them also ignore higher-level issues, such as intelligence and autonomous behavior. Based on experiments and case studies in two different domains, we demonstrate that software agents combined with a visual programming language address the shortcoming
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