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This paper provides an overview of research and development activities in the field of autonomous agents and multi-agent systems. It aims to identify key concepts and applications, and to indicate how they relate to one-another. Some historical context to the field of agent-based computing is given, and contemporary research directions are presented. Finally, a range of open issues and future challenges are highlighted.doi:10.1023/a:1010090405266 fatcat:5zteqyok7rhqznbzjogsjwxwr4