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AIC Seminar Series

BDI Agents: From Research to Commercialization

Michael GeorgeffAgentis International

Date:  Thursday, November 29th 2001 at 4:00pm

Location:  EJ228  (Directions)


This talk will be an informal discussion of the process of taking an advanced technology from research lab to funded start up. Over the last 15 years, BDI (Belief Desire Intention) Agent Technology has been successfully applied to a range of complex real-time applications, such as handling malfunctions on the Space Shuttle, controlling large-scale air combat scenarios, and air traffic management. These applications have to operate in highly dynamic and unpredictable environments-a task that has always been difficult for conventional technologies. Agent Technology was a breakthrough in the way these applications were built and operated. First, it could scale to handle the most difficult real-time problems, no matter how dynamic and unpredictable the environment. Second, it was easy to build and modify applications, because the agent software could automatically manage most of the complexity previously left to the developer. Most of this work took place in research labs such as SRI, DFKI in Germany, and the Australian Artificial Intelligence Institute (AAII).

In the business arena, the complexity of business applications also started to outstrip conventional solutions. Initially focused on the Back Office, the need for automation has since moved to the Front Office and, with the advent of the Internet, beyond the enterprise to include suppliers, customers and partners. This progression of automation has introduced more and more complexity into the software solutions and has driven the need for faster changes to these solutions. Seeing this as an opportunity for Agent Technology, AAII decided to form Agentis International Inc with the aim of being the leading provider of high-performance Business Process Management Systems. With some initial seed funding, the company was migrated to the US in early 2000. In July 2001 it closed its first major A round of funding with Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Partech International.

This talk will describe the path from the research world to start up, from the formation of the initial concept to its realization in a commercial product, and the key success factors and problems encountered along the way.

   Bio for Michael Georgeff

Dr. Michael Georgeff was raised in Australia and is the founder and Chief Technical Officer of Agentis International. He is recognized as the worldwide authority in intelligent agent systems and has dedicated his career to the development, the promotion and the implementation of intelligent agent systems in space, military and business environments.

Dr. Georgeff was previously a Program Director in the Artificial Intelligence Center at SRI International. He was also a member of Stanford University’s Center for the Study of Language and Information, a group of philosophers, computer scientists, and linguistics whose aim was to explore the frontiers of human and machine cognition.

In 1988, Dr Georgeff was invited back to Australia by the Prime Minister, Mr. Robert Hawke, to set up an advanced computing research organization. He served as the Director of the Australian Artificial Intelligence Institute (AAII) for eleven years. Dr Georgeff established AAII as a world leader in software agent technology.

Dr. Georgeff has been the principal investigator for major U.S. and Australian projects including a NASA-sponsored project automating fault diagnosis on the space shuttle.

Dr Georgeff was 1997 Chair of the world’s premier AI conference, the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence. He has also served on the program and organizing committees of many major international AI conferences including the International Conference on Multi-Agent Systems and the International Conference on Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning.

Dr Georgeff is on the editorial board of a number of major AI journals, including Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems, the International Journal of Computational Intelligence, the Journal of Logic and Computation, the Journal of AI Research, and the International Journal of Applied Intelligence.

Dr Georgeff was prior President and now sits on the Board of AI’s most prestigious governing body, the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence. He is previous Chair of the Steering Committee for the Pacific Rim International Conference on Artificial Intelligence, the major AI organization in Asia and Pacific. He is a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence and the Australian Computer Society, a member of the Association for Computing Machinery and a member of the New York Academy of Sciences. He has a B.Sc. in Physics and Mathematics from Melbourne University; a B.E. in Aeronautical Engineering from Sydney University, and a Ph.D. from Imperial College, London.

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