Current syndromic surveillance systems utilize centralized databases that are neither scalable in storage space nor in computing power. Such systems are limited in the amount of syndromic data that may be collected and analyzed for the early detection of infectious disease outbreaks. However, with the increased prevalence of international travel, public health monitoring must extend beyond the borders of municipalities or states which will require the ability to store vasts amount of data and significant computing power for analyzing the data. Intelligent mobile agents may be used to create a distributed surveillance system that will utilize the hard drives and computer processing unit (CPU) power of the hosts on the agent network where the syndromic information is located. This thesis proposes the design of a mobile agent-based syndromic surveillance system and an agent decision model for outbreak detection. Simulation results indicate that mobile agents are capable of detecting an outbreak that occurs at all hosts the agent is monitoring. Further study of agent decision models is required to account for localized epidemics and variable agent movement rates.
Agent-based architecture explains the rationale and basis for developing agents that can interact with users through natural language query/answer patterns developed systematically using AIML (artificial intelligence mark-up language) scripts. This thesis research document also explains the architecture for VISTA (virtual interactive story-telling agents), which is used for interactive querying in educational and recreational purposes. Agents are very effective as conversational interfaces when used along side with graphical user interface (GUI) in applications and Web pages. This architecture platform can support multiple agents with or with out sharing of knowledgebase. They are very useful as chat robots for recreational purposes, customer service and educational purposes. This platform is powered by Java servlet implementation of Program D and contained in Apache Tomcat server. The AIML scripting language defined here in is a generic form of XML language and forms the knowledgebase of the bot. Animation is provided with Microsoft® Agent technology and text-to-speech support engine.