Title: Modelling and implementing modularised BDI agents with capability relationships

Authors: Ingrid Nunes; João Guilherme Faccin

Addresses: Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, Brazil; TU Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany ' Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, Brazil

Abstract: The BDI model is the foundation for one of the most widely used architectures to develop autonomous agents. Such model provides the concepts of beliefs, desires and intentions, which comprise the internal agent structure. Although much work has been done to support BDI agent development, there is lack of approaches that focus on modularisation of intra-agent software components. Given that agents often present a complex behaviour and, consequently, complex design and implementation, modularisation is a key to make the development of large-scale enterprise applications feasible. In this paper, we extend the concept of capability, which emerged to model BDI agent modules, by adding different types of relationships between them, namely association, composition and generalisation. Such relationships allow the development of BDI agent building blocks that can be combined so as to form agents, while hiding capability information as needed. Moreover, we present a modelling tool and implementation of the proposed relationships to not only provide the conceptual foundation of our approach but also enable its practical use. We show the effectiveness of our approach by refactoring an existing software product line implemented with BDI agents using our capability relationships.

Keywords: modularisation; BDI architecture; belief desire intention; agent-oriented programming; BDI4JADE; modelling; modularised BDI agents; capability relationships; autonomous agents; agent-based systems; multi-agent systems.

DOI: 10.1504/IJAOSE.2016.080887

International Journal of Agent-Oriented Software Engineering, 2016 Vol.5 No.2/3, pp.203 - 231

Available online: 08 Dec 2016 *

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