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ItemInterest-based negotiation in multi-agent systemsrahwan, iyad ( 2004)Software systems involving autonomous interacting software entities (or agents) present new challenges in computer science and software engineering. A particularly challenging problem is the engineering of various forms of interaction among agents. Interaction may be aimed at enabling agents to coordinate their activities, cooperate to reach common objectives, or exchange resources to better achieve their individual objectives. This thesis is concerned with negotiation: a process through which multiple self-interested agents can reach agreement over the exchange of scarce resources. In particular, I focus on settings where agents have limited or uncertain information, precluding them from making optimal individual decisions. I demonstrate that this form of bounded-rationality may lead agents to sub-optimal negotiation agreements. I argue that rational dialogue based on the exchange of arguments can enable agents to overcome this problem. Since agents make decisions based on particular underlying reasons, namely their interests, beliefs and planning knowledge, then rational dialogue over these reasons can enable agents to refine their individual decisions and consequently reach better agreements. I refer to this form of interaction as “interested-based negotiation.” (For complete abstract open document)
ItemAgents for logistics: a provisional agreement approachPerugini, Don ( 2006-02)The thesis solves a challenging problem in military logistics for tasks such as transportation scheduling and combinatorial auctions. A conceptual model has been developed that captures the organisational business processes involved and an effective implementation suitable for computer software agents. The protocol facilitates planning and task allocation among organisations in decentralised, dynamic and open environments.
ItemFundamentals of agent computation theory: semanticsKinny, David Nicholas ( 2001)About 5 years ago, the idea of software agents escaped from an obscure existence within the arcane field of Artificial Intelligence, and it is now running rampant through computer science, the software industry and the media, mutating violently as it goes and infecting many who come into contact with it. Despite humble origins in the study of Philosophy of Mind, the term agent has come to be applied to a diverse and disparate range of software constructs, and threatens soon to displace object from its primal position. Every computer scientist knows what agents are, or should be, although scant agreement upon definitions has been achieved, as so many variously qualified uses of the label now flourish. In the Artificial Intelligence research community where it was nurtured, however, the term still has a reasonably specific meaning: an agent is a situated or embedded system which participates in an ongoing interaction with some environment which it can observe and act upon. By assumption, an agent's behaviour is purposeful or motivated: it is thought of as wanting to perform some set of activities or achieve some set of goals and trying to do so when suitable opportunities present; in general it may be viewed as monitoring and controlling itself and its environment so as to bring about or maintain internal or external situations that it in some sense prefers. A very concrete example would be a robot, situated in the physical world, tasked to achieve certain objectives, but required to make its own moment-to-moment decisions about how and when to do so. But more often than not an agent inhabits an entirely artificial environment, within a single computer or a distributed network such as the Internet. It is with agents in this sense that this thesis is concerned. (From introduction)