A General Purpose Programming Model & Technology for Developing Working Environments in MAS

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Mehdi Dastani, Amal El Fallah Seghrouchni, Alessandro Ricci, Michael Winikoff (eds.)
5th International Workshop "Programming Multi-Agent Systems" (PROMAS 2007), pages 54–69
May 2007

In human society, almost any cooperative working context accounts for different kinds of object, tool, artifact in general, that humans adopt, share and intelligently exploit so as to support their working activities, in particular social ones. According to theories in human sciences such as Activity Theory, such entities have a key role in determining the success or failure of the activities, playing an essential function in simplifying complex tasks and — more generally — in designing solutions that scale with activity complexity. Analogously to the human case, we claim that also (cognitive) multi-agent systems (MAS) could greatly benefit from the definition and systematic exploitation of a suitable notion of working environment, composed by different sorts of artifacts, dynamically constructed, shared and used by agents to support their working activities. Along this line, in this paper we describe a programming model called A&A (Agents and Artifacts), which aims at directly modelling and engineering such aspects in the context of cognitive MAS. Besides the conceptual framework, we present the current state of prototyping technologies implementing A&A principles – CArtAgO platform in particular –, and show how they can be integrated with existing cognitive MAS programming frameworks, adopting the Jason programming platform as the reference case.

keywordsCArtAgO, A&A, artifacts, multi-agent systems, agent-oriented computing