A distributed computing environment in which agent processes direct their own movement through a computer network. Place processes provide a computing context within which agent processes are interpreted. An agent process controls its movement from one place process to another within the network by using a ticket. An agent process which moves from one place process to another transports definitions of classes of which objects included in the agent process are members. An agent process which moves from one place process to a second place process avoids unnecessary transportation of objects included in the agent process by substituting equivalent objects which are found in the second place process. An agent process sends clones of the agent process to several place processes simultaneously. If two clones travel along paths which are coextensive for an initial portion thereof, a single clone is transported along the initial portion of the paths and other clones are formed from the single clone, thereby avoiding transferring redundant information along communications media. Two agent processes, which occupy a single place process, interact by exchanging references to one another. The single place process ensures that neither agent process receives a reference to the other agent process without simultaneously giving to the other agent process a reference to the former agent process. Unauthorized or inadvertent excessive use of network resources by an agent process, or a place process, is prevented by associating with each process a permit which defines various capabilities and resource allowances of the process.