updated: 2022-05-06

A software agent is a program that runs as an agent for either another program or for a user directly. They are generally continuously running background programs that handle specific, repetitive tasks.

Examples of agents include:

• bots: bots are a classic example of an agent. They run in the background and perform tasks for the user. Common tasks include watching prices for arbitrage, notifying users about site updates, etc.
• monitoring: these are agents that run on a host and collect and possibly report on the status of something. Examples of this include node_exporter, the New Relic agent, or Intrusion Detection Systems.