Int. J. of Agent-Oriented Software Engineering   »   2010 Vol.4, No.3



Title: Designing agent systems: state of the practice


Author: Virginia Dignum, Frank Dignum


Faculty Technology, Policy and Management, Section ICT, Delft University of Technology, P.O. Box 5015, 2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands.
Department Information and Computing Sciences, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80089, 3508 TB Utrecht, The Netherlands


Abstract: Current approaches to the design and implementation of agents and multi-agent systems exhibit large differences both at conceptual and engineering levels. This paper argues that such differences result from different demands and characteristics of the domain. We substantiate this claim by a survey carried out online. The survey indicates that few agent systems are really built for industry. However, it also shows that the domain characteristics indicated have a high correlation to the type of agent systems that are used. Based on this evidence we classify agent systems using a few key components of agency. Using the survey, we give some systematic guidelines that support engineers on the assessment of the different approaches to choose an agent system type for a particular application domain. This forms the basis of a meta-methodology that starts from domain analysis and leads to a choice for the most appropriate agent methodology for that domain.


Keywords: multi-agent systems; MAS engineering; agent-oriented methodologies; survey; agent organisations; AOS; agent-based systems; agents; agent systems design.


DOI: 10.1504/IJAOSE.2010.036983


Int. J. of Agent-Oriented Software Engineering, 2010 Vol.4, No.3, pp.224 - 243


Date of acceptance: 28 Apr 2010
Available online: 20 Nov 2010



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