Experiments with the Knowbot Software
We have several web-based demonstrations of the Knowbot software. We also use Knowbot programs as "couriers" to manage access to digital objects while enforcing terms and conditions for use. Here are some of our initial projects (see also our list of papers).
Knowbot service station co-located with web server
A Knowbot service station runs at the same site as a web server (either on the same host or at least on a host connected to the server through a local area network), which allows efficient access to the pages served by the web server. This enables applications such as custom indexing and searching, and change notification. We have a number of small demonstrations in this area.
Knowbot programs providing active web content
A Knowbot service station integrated with a web server can allow access to active (as well as passive) content delivered by Knowbot programs. This provides a safe alternative to user-installed CGI scripts, since Knowbot programs are executed in a restricted environment where they are prevented from causing harm to the hosting environment (e.g. they cannot access arbitrary parts of the the file system or execute arbitrary external programs).
Knowbot programs will be used to negotiate access mechanisms to distributed digital library collections. Five different test suites, each with its own access mechanisms, are provided by the University of Illinois, Carnegie Mellon University, U.C. Berkeley, U.C. Santa Barbara and Cornell University. This experiment will be used to demonstrate the effectiveness of mobile agents to negotiate access.
Intellectual property rights management
A Knowbot program carrying information can protect it from most forms of unauthorized access. CNRI is using the Knowbot software as a building block in an experimental distributed rights management system funded by DARPA. A Knowbot program carrying such information will mediate all accesses to the information in accordance with stated terms and conditions for access.