Virtual Anarchy of Free Traders

David Wallace Croft



The "Virtual Anarchy of Free Traders" project is intended to deploy a mobile agent framework that implements usage-sensitive metering of computational resources.

Expected benefits of this framework include gaining the advantages of efficiencies inherent in an cost-based free market economony and providing an objective metric for the performance of learning systems.

The Java programming language is used for its built-in features of security, portability, mobility, object-oriented programming, and networking.


Status Update


Started writing Agorametrics and Physiocratic Agents today.


For flexibility, there is now a reliance upon the concept of "roles". See Agents, Actors, Roles, and Semantic Interfaces.

Agents that can be launched are now kept in V:\agents as serialized objects. Currently, agents must have the filename extension ".actor".

(From the previous status update report.) Although an agent currently has the authority to write to the standard output on the remote host, security restrictions currently prevent it from doing anything more -- such as returning the result of a long computation. This makes the agent framework pretty useless right now. A future modification to the HostSecurityManager will allow more flexibility at a price.



  1. Install Java version 1.1 or higher.
  2. Download and unzip it into a new directory. Be sure to preserve the directory hierarchy while unzipping.
  3. From the DOS prompt, run bat\vaft_path.bat to set your paths. This will probably need modification.
  4. Run vaft_javac_all.bat for a clean compile.
  5. Run vaft.bat.


  1. Run vaft.bat.
  2. Run vaft2.bat.
  3. Run vaft3.bat.
  4. Select HostList/Display in the VAFT3 window.
    Notice how VAFT3 now knows about VAFT.
    It received its HostInfo about VAFT from VAFT2.
  5. Kill the VAFT2 window.
  6. In the VAFT3 window, select VAFT/Launch, highlight all of the selections, and press the "Launch" button.
  7. Observe the DOS console windows: you have launched an agent into VAFT and VAFT3.

Creating Agents

Agents that can be launched are now kept in V:\agents (or whatever the argument "agent_dir" is set to) as serialized objects. Currently, agents must have the filename extension ".actor".

The file V:\agents\example.bat shows you how to serialize two example agents. You may also wish to use a bean editor but I have not tried this myself.


Working Notes to Self

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David Wallace Croft,
Posted 1998-02-22.