Servizi Telematici Adattativi (SETA) was a three years project sponsored by Telecom Italia
within the Cantieri Multimediali initiative, which involved three Italian Universities, each of them responsible for a different
project, sharing the goal of promoting activities on multimedia services. The agreement between the University of Torino
(Dipartimento di Informatica) and Telecom Italia for the project Servizi Telematici Adattativi lasted from May 1st, 1997
to April 30th, 2000.
The main goal of this project was the design and development of a prototype to support sales in Web stores, focusing on
the personalization of the interaction with the system users, i.e. on tailoring the interaction with customers to their
preferences and needs. This has recently become a hot topic of research, as a consequence of the quick and world-wide
expansion of the Internet; in fact, lots of Web malls and shops exist and are accessed by users with different expertise and
interests, who may need support to explore the catalogues and select the products for purchase.
In order to approach the overall goal mentioned above, we have designed a system architecture which satisfies
the following requirements:
The Web store architecture is based on a technology that enables a generic Internet user to access the virtual store, without imposing severe restrictions on the needed equipment type.
The prototype is configurable and can be used to create multiple instances of Web stores, selling products in different domains.
The Web store adapts the presentation of products to the user by customizing the layout and content of the catalog pages. Given the whole information available about a product, the system selects the information to be presented on the basis of the customer's interests. Moreover, it tailors the amount of provided data to the user's receptivity and it selects a (more or less technical) linguistic style for the description on the basis of the user's domain expertise. The Web store also adapts the selection of products to the user's preferences, suggesting those most suited to her/his needs.
By observing the user's navigation in the catalog, the system identifies the user's needs and it may take the initiative to guide the user through the catalog, in order to make her/him visit the pages presenting products which the needed functionalities.
Stereotypical information about users, as well as dynamic user modeling techniques, are exploited to initialize the user models and revise them during the interactions, in order to achieve precise descriptions of the user's preferences for products and interaction needs.
The SETA system is based on a multi-agent architecture, where specialized agents have been designed to carry on the
activities of the front-end of a Web store. The distribution of tasks is essential to support a reactive adaptivity of
the system during the interaction with the user. The multiagent system has been developed by exploiting the facilities
offered by an agent building tool (Objectspace Voyager), which supports a seamless distribution of agents, a parallel
execution of the agents code and a sophisticated communication among agents, where synchronous, asynchronous and
multicast messages can be exchanged.
By April 2000, the SETA system was fully implemented and it was instantiated in the telecommunication domain, as a
prototype presenting products such as phones, answering machines, switchboards, and so forth. The prototype is
accessible through the SETA Project Web site.
Project Web site
For more information about this project, please contact
Giovanna Petrone , Anna Goy,