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Gaia  is a methodology for agent-oriented analysis and design, which is both general, in that it is applicable to a wide range of multi-agent systems, and comprehensive, in that it deals with both the macro-level (societal) and the micro-level (agent) aspects of systems. Gaia is founded on the view of a multi-agent system as a computational organisation consisting of various interacting roles.

The original version of Gaia focuses on the analysis and design of closed Multi-Agent Systems (MAS) assuming the benevolence and predisposition to collaborate of the agents in the organizations. The extended version of Gaia is more oriented to designing and building systems in complex, open environments. The Gaia methodology was one of the first appeared in the AOSE field, and offered interesting insights for the development of different other Agent Oriented Software Engineering methodologies. It explicitly focuses on using organizational abstractions to drive the analysis and design of MAS usually characterizing complex and open environments. It models both the macro (social) aspect and the micro (agent internals) aspects of a MAS. Moreover, Gaia devotes a special effort to model the organizational structure and to specify the organizational rules that govern the global behavior of the agents in the organization avoiding conflict based on self-interest actions.

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