February 14 – 19 , 2021, Dagstuhl Seminar 21072

Autonomous Agents on the Web


Olivier Boissier (Ecole des Mines – St. Etienne, FR)
Andrei Ciortea (Universität St. Gallen, CH)
Andreas Harth (Fraunhofer IIS – Nürnberg, DE)
Alessandro Ricci (Università di Bologna, IT)

For support, please contact

Susanne Bach-Bernhard for administrative matters

Michael Gerke for scientific matters


List of Participants
Shared Documents
Dagstuhl Seminar Schedule [pdf]


The vision of autonomous agents on the Web is almost as old as the Web itself: in a keynote at the First International Conference on the World-Wide Web (1994), Sir Tim Berners-Lee was noting that documents on the Web describe real objects and relationships among them, and if the semantics of these objects are represented explicitly then machines can browse through and manipulate reality -- a statement now undeniable in the context of the W3C Web of Things activity, which allows sensors and actuators in our physical environment to be abstracted behind Web resources. The vision of using the Web as a uniform interface to disparate systems on which autonomous agents can operate was published in 2001 as part of the broader Semantic Web vision. Recent standardization efforts are now bringing this vision of agents on the Web closer to its implementation and deployment.

The recent evolution towards hypermedia-driven Web APIs, Linked Data, and the Web of Things is turning hypermedia into a homogeneous information fabric that interconnects heterogeneous resources -- physical objects, information resources, abstract concepts, etc. The latest W3C recommendations, as well as various other open standards, allow automated clients to reliably navigate, query, observe, and act on this hypermedia fabric. Researchers and practitioners are now looking for means to build sophisticated clients able to meet their design objectives through flexible autonomous use of this hypermedia fabric. Such autonomous agents have been studied to a large extent in the scientific literature on multi-agent systems (MAS), and the roots in logical formalisms shared by both MAS and Semantic Web research further support the alignment of these areas. These recent developments now require a broader perspective that can only be achieved through a concerted effort of the research communities on the Web Architecture and the Web of Things, Semantic Web and Linked Data, and Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems.

The primary objective of the Dagstuhl Seminar “Autonomous Agents on the Web” is to support the transfer of knowledge and results across these communities in order to pave the way for a new generation of autonomous systems on the Web. We believe the seminar can break new ground in all the above-mentioned areas of research by pursuing the following sub-objectives:

  • to identify and align the various research threads in the targeted communities that are relevant for advancing the research on autonomous agents on the Web;
  • to work towards a shared conceptualization and theoretical framework for autonomous agents on the Web;
  • to identify representative use cases in different domains that would help demonstrate the potential impact of this joint research effort on society and economy;
  • to evaluate the state of technologies available for prototyping and deploying autonomous agents on the Web (and to identify any potential gaps).

Motivation text license
  Creative Commons BY 3.0 DE
  Olivier Boissier, Andrei Ciortea, Andreas Harth, and Alessandro Ricci


  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Multiagent Systems
  • Other Computer Science


  • Web Architecture
  • Web of Things
  • Linked Data
  • Semantic Web
  • Multi-Agent Systems


In the series Dagstuhl Reports each Dagstuhl Seminar and Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop is documented. The seminar organizers, in cooperation with the collector, prepare a report that includes contributions from the participants' talks together with a summary of the seminar.


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Furthermore, a comprehensive peer-reviewed collection of research papers can be published in the series Dagstuhl Follow-Ups.

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