Design and Implementation of an Agent-Based Grocery Shopping System

Kwang Hyoun JOO  Tetsuo KINOSHITA  Norio SHIRATORI  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E83-D   No.11   pp.1940-1951
Publication Date: 2000/11/25
Online ISSN: 
Print ISSN: 0916-8532
Type of Manuscript: PAPER
Category: Cooperation in Distributed Systems and Agents
electronic commerce,  distributed agent system,  cooperative protocol,  

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We propose an agent-based grocery shopping system, which automates grocery shopping process. Agents gather grocery information from several store server agents and compare it with user's preferences of groceries and stores. The agents could adapt to user's up-to-date preferences by learning from his/her evaluation of previous shopping results. The proposed agent-based grocery shopping system is composed of three role agents: a user agent, an information management agent, and a store server agent. These role agents cooperate to buy the best groceries of user preference. A role agent is formed by an organization agent. The organization agent is responsible for organizing primitive agents and coordinating message delivery. A primitive agent executes a specific task/function using the accumulated knowledge to achieve user's goal. We have designed four agent communication protocols to facilitate cooperation between the user agent, the information management agent, and the store server agent. In this paper we focus on the protocols which support the user agent. By implementing a prototype of the agent-based grocery shopping system, we have verified that it is instrumental in purchasing the best groceries of user preference from several grocery stores. We have found that, (1) our agent-based grocery shopping system reduces the user's effort to buy groceries; (2) it saves user's time to buy groceries at a store; (3) it covers functional requirements of grocery shopping system from the user's viewpoint; (4) it supports the five stages of consumer buying behavior model.