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Monash University

FIT5031 Mobile software agents - Semester 1, 2013

This unit focuses theoretical concepts, applications and research issues of mobile software agents. Students will learn techniques to design and develop mobile agent applications. A number of different toolkits/development environments will be discussed and used for the practical component of the unit. The unit analyses mobile software agents technology with respect to their use in different application domains - focusing on pervasive applications, electronic commerce/web services and distributed data/network management. Advanced research issues/topics such as communication, coordination, security and trust for mobile agent systems will also be presented.

Mode of Delivery

Caulfield (Day)

Contact Hours

2 hrs lectures/wk, 2 hrs laboratories/wk

Workload requirements

Students will be expected to spend a total of 12 hours per week during semester on this unit as follows:

For on-campus students:
Lectures: 2 hours per week
Tutorials/Lab Sessions: 2 hours per week
and up to an additional 8 hours per week for completing lab and project work, private study and revision.

Unit Relationships




Recommended Knowledge: It is assumed that all students have a working knowledge of fundamental Java programming.

Chief Examiner

Campus Lecturer


Dengsheng Zhang



He Li

Academic Overview

Learning Outcomes

At the completion of this unit students will:
  • be conversant with the principles and theoretical concepts of mobile software agents;
  • appreciate models and approaches to building mobile agent systems;
  • demonstrate knowledge of different mobile agent toolkits and development environments;
  • utilise techniques for achieving mobile agent communication and coordination;
  • understand security issues in mobile agent systems;
  • select and apply appropriate tools for a particular application;
  • foster critical and independent analysis of how mobile agents can be applied to distributed computing applications.

Unit Schedule

Week Activities Assessment
0   No formal assessment or activities are undertaken in week 0
1 Introduction to Agents and Mobile Agents  
2 Mobile Agent Applications  
3 Mobile Agent Toolkits and Development Environments  
4 Mobile Agent Modelling  
5 Mobile Agent Security  
6 Software Agent Architectures  
7 Unit Test (in the lecture time slot - tute still on) Unit Test (in Week 7 Lecture)
8 Multi Agent Architectures  
9 Agent Communication Languages  
10 Agent Coordination Protocols  
11 Agent Oriented Software Engineering Assignment due
12 Revision Assignment interview
  SWOT VAC No formal assessment is undertaken in SWOT VAC
  Examination period LINK to Assessment Policy: http://policy.monash.edu.au/policy-bank/

*Unit Schedule details will be maintained and communicated to you via your learning system.

Assessment Summary

In-semester assessment: 50%; Examination (3 hours): 50%

Assessment Task Value Due Date
Unit Test 15% Week 7
Assignment - Practical Project 35% Week 11
Examination 1 50% To be advised

Teaching Approach

Lecture and tutorials or problem classes
This teaching and learning approach provides facilitated learning, practical exploration and peer learning.

Assessment Requirements

Assessment Policy

Faculty Policy - Unit Assessment Hurdles (http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/staff/edgov/policies/assessment-examinations/unit-assessment-hurdles.html)

Academic Integrity - Please see the Demystifying Citing and Referencing tutorial at http://lib.monash.edu/tutorials/citing/

Assessment Tasks


  • Assessment task 1
    Unit Test
    The unit test will be conducted during the Week 7 lecture time slot.  Week 7 tutorials will still run as per normal.
    Criteria for assessment:

    Correct answers to questions and quality of solutions to problems which demonstrate understanding of the learning material.

    Further details on the coverage and format of the unit test will made available on Moodle.

    Due date:
    Week 7
    The unit test will be conducted in Week 7 lecture time slot.  Week 7 tutorial will still run.
  • Assessment task 2
    Assignment - Practical Project
    You will be given a specification that you will need to implement using the JADE mobile agent toolkit. You will need to have sound knowledge of Java fundamentals in order to program the system. This is a group assignment. You will implement the system in groups of two people. You will have a demonstration and interview in the week folllowing the submission.
    Criteria for assessment:

    In Week 12 demonstration/interview both team members will need to demonstrate complete familiarity with the system/code and will need to individually change parts of the system as required by the tutor. Inability to demonstrate understanding, familiarity and competent programming skills will result in loss of marks for the individual.

    Due date:
    Week 11


  • Examination 1
    3 hours
    Type (open/closed book):
    Closed book
    Electronic devices allowed in the exam:

Learning resources

Monash Library Unit Reading List

Feedback to you

Types of feedback you can expect to receive in this unit are:
  • Graded assignments with comments
  • Interviews
  • Test results and feedback

Extensions and penalties

Returning assignments

Assignment submission

It is a University requirement (http://www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/conduct/plagiarism-procedures.html) for students to submit an assignment coversheet for each assessment item. Faculty Assignment coversheets can be found at http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/student/forms/. Please check with your Lecturer on the submission method for your assignment coversheet (e.g. attach a file to the online assignment submission, hand-in a hard copy, or use an online quiz).

Online submission

If Electronic Submission has been approved for your unit, please submit your work via the learning system for this unit, which you can access via links in the my.monash portal.

Required Resources

Please check with your lecturer before purchasing any Required Resources. Limited copies of prescribed texts are available for you to borrow in the library, and prescribed software is available in student labs.

JADE software toolkit. Students can download this free software from:


Other Information


Graduate Attributes Policy

Student services

Monash University Library

Disability Liaison Unit

Students who have a disability or medical condition are welcome to contact the Disability Liaison Unit to discuss academic support services. Disability Liaison Officers (DLOs) visit all Victorian campuses on a regular basis.

Your feedback to Us

Previous Student Evaluations of this Unit

This unit was run in Semester 1, 2012 and the feedback was quite positive.

If you wish to view how previous students rated this unit, please go to

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