Environments in Multiagent Systems

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Danny Weyns, Michael I. Schumacher, Alessandro Ricci, Mirko Viroli, Tom Holvoet
The Knowledge Engineering Review 20(2), pages 127–141
June 2005

There is a growing awareness in the multiagent systems research community that the environment plays a prominent role in multiagent systems. Originating from research on behavior-based agent systems and situated multiagent systems, the importance of the environment is now gradually being accepted in the multiagent system community in general. In this paper, we put forward the environment as a first-order abstraction in multiagent systems. This position is motivated by the fact that several aspects of multiagent systems that conceptually do not belong to agents themselves should not be assigned to, or hosted inside the agents. Examples are infrastructure for communication, the topology of a spatial domain or support for the action model. These and other aspects should be considered explicitly. The environment is the natural candidate to encapsulate these aspects. We elaborate on environment engineering, and we illustrate how the environment plays a central role in a real-world multiagent system application.

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wrenchAgentLink III — A Coordination Network for Agent-based Computing (01/01/2004–31/01/2006)