Coordination Infrastructures in the Engineering of Multiagent Systems

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Andrea Omicini, Sascha Ossowski, Alessandro Ricci
Federico Bergenti, Marie-Pierre Gleizes, Franco Zambonelli (eds.)
Methodologies and Software Engineering for Agent Systems: The Agent-Oriented Software Engineering Handbook, chapter 14, pages 273–296
Multiagent Systems, Artificial Societies, and Simulated Organizations 11
Kluwer Academic Publishers
June 2004

On the theoretical side, coordination is a critical issue for MAS engineering, since it deals with modelling and managing the ever growing complexity of the agent interplay within a MAS. On the practical side, the availability of powerful and robust infrastructures is a key factor to enable and promote MAS as a mainstream software engineering technology. By adopting Activity Theory as a unifying framework for the many existing approaches to MAS coordination, we put forward the notion of artifact as a key concept for infrastructures, from which we derive some distinctive properties that a coordination infrastructure should feature. Finally, we discuss how a principled approach to MAS engineering based on coordination infrastructures could be built around such a notion.