International Journal of Agent-Oriented Software Engineering (14 papers in press)
BathTUB Team Description Multi-Agent Programming Contest 2016
by Axel Heßler
Abstract: Team BathTUB reports on their approach to the complex scenario of multi-modal logistics in the agent programming contest 2016. The solution has been created by beginners in multi-agent programming using the JIAC agent framework.
Keywords: Agent-Oriented Software Engineering; Multi-Agent Programming; Multi-Modal Logistics; JIAC.
Special Issue on: PRIMA 2015 Trends in Multi-Agent Programming and Applications
Aggregate plans for multiagent systems
by Mirko Viroli, Danilo Pianini, Alessandro Ricci, Angelo Croatti
Abstract: We introduce the notion of 'aggregate plan', as a specification of the collective behaviour of a team of agents embedded in space. Aggregate plans are managed by self-organisation: they can be spread from a source agent, get iteratively diffused to the whole MAS, and be dynamically selected and carried on by each agent based on its local deliberation process. This approach is rooted on the aggregate computing paradigm, recently introduced to address open, dynamic, and large-scale scenarios of pervasive computing and IoT. We define the approach, describe the underlying computational mechanisms, discuss its expressiveness, and present an example of people rescuing in disaster scenarios.
Keywords: aggregate computing; multiagent planning; distributed spatial systems.
Developing ePartners for human-robot teams in space based on ontologies and formal abstraction hierarchies
by Tibor Bosse, Leo Breebaart, Jurriaan Van Diggelen, Mark A. Neerincx, Joaquim Rosa, Nanja J.J.M. Smets
Abstract: Manned space missions are typically performed by teams composed of humans as well as technical systems and are situated in complex, dynamic and safety-critical domains. Intelligent electronic partners (ePartners) can play an important role here to support human-robot teams in their collaborative problem solving process when things do not go as planned. To engage in effective team collaboration, ePartners, humans and robots must align their communication at the right level of abstraction. In this paper, an approach is put forward to represent the functionality of human-robot teams in a formal manner using abstraction hierarchies. In this way, formal relations between domain knowledge at the system, functional and mission-oriented levels are established and reasoning rules are used to navigate through these relations. As a consequence, ePartners are equipped with the ability to reason about the status of a mission, propose solutions in non-nominal situations and provide explanations for the proposed solutions. The approach has been implemented within a mobile application on a tablet that can be used to support astronaut-robot teams during space missions. The application has been evaluated during an experiment at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the context of a Mars mission.
Keywords: ePartners; human-robot teams; abstraction hierarchy; reasoning; space missions.
Agent-based modelling of coalition formation in energy micro-grids
by Muhammad Yasir, Martin Purvis, Maryam Purvis, Bastin Tony Roy Savarimuthu
Abstract: In micro-grids energy is generated and consumed locally from intermittent renewable energy sources. Because of energy variability, sometimes there are energy surpluses and sometimes deficits. The ill effects of intermittency can be reduced by trading energy by means of a connected electricity grid. This work introduces an alternative solution by forming coalitions among micro-grid communities, since mainline electricity grids are subject to faults and outages. These coalitions can withstand power outages by sharing energy among them. We present a model for dynamic micro-grid coalition formation and demonstrate that the model is scalable and preserves the autonomy of individual micro-grids by enabling them to join and depart from a coalition. Our empirical studies demonstrate that our model reduces overall 'discomfort' (a notion defined in the paper), so that even when all participating micro-grids in a coalition experience deficits, they can share energy so that their overall discomfort is minimised.
Keywords: renewable energy; multi-agent systems; coalition formation; micro-grids.
Improving plan execution robustness through capability aware maintenance of plans by BDI agents
by Alan White, Austin Tate, Michael Rovatsos
Abstract: In a realistic environment, intentions of belief-desire-intention (BDI) agents may be threatened by exogenous change. Subsequent activity failure may incur debilitative consequences that hinder both recovery and subsequent goal achievement. Capability aware, maintaining plans (CAMP-BDI) embodies BDI agents with capability knowledge, allowing anticipation of threats to activity success and stimulating the proactive, preventative modification of intended plans. We describe resultant agent-level algorithms and supporting architecture, including extension to provide decentralised, distributed maintenance through structured messaging. Our results show superior goal achievement to a reactive equivalent in a stochastic environment, increasing with the likelihood of debilitative failure effects. We suggest CAMP-BDI offers a valuable approach towards robustness, particularly in tandem with reactive recovery methods.
Keywords: multi-agent teamwork; belief-desire-intention; BDI; planning; capability; robustness.
Special Issue on: EMAS 2015 Agent-based System Engineering
Modeling Agent Oriented Solutions for the SmartGrid
by Jorge J. Gomez-Sanz, Sandra Garcia-Rodriguez, Nuria Cuartero-Soler
Abstract: This paper contributes with an decentralised agent design for a Microgrid that uses agent technology for avoiding dumping the excess of energy to a main powerline. The agent design is made with INGENIAS. The agents connect with a Microgrid simulator, the SGSimulator, and issue commands to control different distributed renewable energy sources. The paper illustrates the benefits of coordination of agents in such scenario through a simple token based protocol.
Keywords: AOSE; SmartGrid; Design; Microgrid; Coordination.
Quantitative analysis of multi-agent systems through statistical verification of simulation traces
by Benjamin Herd, Simon Miles, Peter McBurney, Michael Luck
Abstract: Due to their immense complexity, large-scale multiagent systems are often not amenable to exhaustive formal verification. Statistical approaches that focus on the verification of individual traces can provide an interesting alternative. However, due to its focus on finite execution paths, trace-based verification is inherently limited to certain types of correctness properties. We show how, by combining sampling with the idea of trace fragmentation, statistical verification can be used to answer interesting quantitative correctness questions about multiagent systems at different observational levels. The usefulness of the verification approach is illustrated with a simple case study from the area of swarm robotics.
Keywords: Multiagent systems; Agent-based simulation; Verification; Statistical model checking; Quantitative analysis.
An Agent Programming Manifesto
by Brian Logan
Abstract: There has been considerable progress in both the theory and practice of agent programming since Georgeff & Rao's seminal work on the Belief-Desire-Intention paradigm. However, despite increasing interest in the development of autonomous systems, applications of agent programming are confined to a small number of niche areas, and adoption of agent programming languages in mainstream software development remains limited. This state of affairs is widely acknowledged within the community, and a number of reasons and remedies have been proposed. In this paper, I present an analysis of why agent programming has failed to make an impact that is rooted in the class of programming problems agent programming sets out to solve, namely the realisation of flexible intelligent behaviour in dynamic and unpredictable environments. Based on this analysis, I outline some suggestions for the future direction of agent programming, and some principles that I believe any successful future direction must follow. rn
Keywords: intelligent agents; belief-desire-intention; BDI; agent programming.
Validating MAS Analysis Models with the ASEME Methodology
by Nikolaos Spanoudakis, Efthymios Floros, Nektarios Mitakidis, Pavlos Delias
Abstract: When designing agent-oriented software, engineers consider performance-related non-functional requirements. To this end, performance engineering practices provide a useful toolbox. In particular, simulation of the system's processes appears eminently suitable. However, agent-oriented software engineering methodologies are not directly linked to process simulation features. This paper extends an AOSE methodology for transforming agent roles models to process models, and for streamlining the transformation process towards simulation. Our method allows diverse process model generation, aiming to support the process simulation, and was integrated into a model-driven engineering methodology. We used an established process modelling notation (BPMN) as the target language for the process model, and we are able to deliver a ready-to-simulate model. Through simulation, an analyst can validate specific system requirements and test scenarios of how the system scales beyond the current requirements. Furthermore, because of process models familiarity within the business domain, engineers, managers and stakeholders can seamlessly communicate system designs.
Keywords: Agent-oriented software engineering; AOSE methodology; process models; BPMN; business process modeling notation; simulation; system validation; scaling; model-driven engineering;.
Special Issue on: IJAOSE MAPC 2016 Agents in the City
Team PUCRS: a Decentralised Multi-Agent Solution for the Agents in the City Scenario
by Rafael C. Cardoso, Ramon Fraga Pereira, Guilherme Krzisch, Maurício C. Magnaguagno, Túlio Baségio, Felipe Meneguzzi
Abstract: The 2016 edition of the Multi-Agent Programming Contest used the Agents in the City as its new scenario, which consisted on the execution of various logistics tasks within a realistic city topology using a number of different vehicle types. The complexity of the scenario and variety of tasks posed a challenging problem suitable for a decentralised multi-agent solution. In this paper we describe the winning solution for the contest, providing insights into how we designed our solution and organised our team, as well as some discussion on a few of our matches.
Keywords: Multi-Agent Programming Contest; Decentralised Multi-Agent Systems; Agents in the City; Contract Net Protocol; JaCaMo.
The Flisvos-2016 multi-agent system
by Evangelos Sarmas
Abstract: This paper presents the workings of the Flisvos-2016 multi-agent system that participated in the Multi-Agent Programming Contest MAPC 2016 of Clausthal TU.
Keywords: Flisvos; multi-agent system; multi-agent programming; contest; MAPC.
Multi-Agent Programming Contest 2016
by Tobias Ahlbrecht, Niklas Fiekas, Jürgen Dix
Abstract: We present the eleventh edition of the Multi-Agent Programming Contest, an annual, community-serving competition that attracts groups from all over the world. Our contest enables head-to-head comparison of multi-agent systems and supports educational efforts in their design and implementation. The long-term aim is to evaluate the specific features of agent programming languages and to compare them to more traditional languages.
Keywords: multi-agent systems; programming contest; multi-agent simulation;.
Multi-Agent Programming Contest 2016 - The Python-DTU Team
by Jørgen Villadsen, Andreas Halkjær From, Salvador Jacobi, Nikolaj Nøkkentved Larsen
Abstract: We provide a detailed description of the Python-DTU system, including the overall system design and the tools used in the agent contest.
Keywords: Multi-Agent Systems; MAS Programming; Contest.
Multi-Agent Programming Contest 2016: lampe Team Description
by Philipp Czerner, Jonathan Pieper
Abstract: In this paper we describe our participation in the 2016 edition of the Multi-Agent Programming Contest as team 'lampe', which was developed in C++ without the use of any agent-specific technology. It utilizes a centralised approach focusing on planning a job's completion in advance.
Keywords: Multi-Agent Programming Contest; MAPC; multi-agent systems; MAS.