Externalisation and Internalization: A New Perspective on Agent Modularisation in Multi-Agent Systems Programming

   page       BibTeX_logo.png   
Mehdi Dastani, Amal El Fallah Seghrouchni, João Leite, Paolo Torroni (eds.)
Proceedings of MALLOW 2009 federated workshops: LAnguages, methodologies and Development tools for multi-agent systemS (LADS 2009)
September 2009

Agent modularisation is a main issue in agent and multi-agent system programming. Existing solutions typically propose some kinds of constructs such as capabilities to
group and encapsulate in well-defined modules inside the agent different kinds of agent features, that depend on the architecture or model adopted—examples are goals, beliefs, intentions, skills.
In this paper we introduce a further perspective, which can be considered complimentary to existing approaches, which accounts for externalizing some of such functionalities into the computational environment where agents are (logically) situated.
In this perspective, agent modules are realised as suitably designed artifacts that agents can dynamically exploit as external tools to enhance their action repertoire and, more generally, their capability to execute tasks. Then, to let agent (and agent programmers) exploit such capabilities abstracting from the low-level mechanics of artifact management and use, we exploit the dual notion of internalization, which consists in dynamically consulting and automatically embedding high-level usage protocols described in artifact manuals as agent plans. The idea is discussed providing some practical examples of use, based on CArtAgO as technology for programming artifacts and Jason agent platform to program the agents.

keywordsAgents, Artifacts, Cognitive, Capabilities, Modularisation, Externalisation