Designing and Programming Organizational Infrastructures for Agents situated in Artifact-based Environments - European PhD

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Actual trends in software development are pushing the need to face a multiplicity of diverse activities and interaction styles characterizing complex and distributed application domains, in such a way that the resulting dynamics exhibits some grade of order, i.e. in terms of evolution of the system and desired equilibrium. Autonomous agents and Multiagent Systems are argued in literature as one of the most immediate approaches for describing such a kind of challenges. Actually, agent research seems to converge towards the definition of renewed abstraction tools aimed at better capturing the new demands of open systems. Besides agents, which are assumed as autonomous entities purposing a series of design objectives, Multiagent Systems account new notions as first-class entities, aimed, above all, at modeling institutional/organizational entities, placed for normative regulation, interaction and teamwork management, as well as environmental entities, placed as resources to further support and regulate agent work.

The starting point of this thesis is recognizing that both organizations and environments can be rooted in a unifying perspective. Whereas recent research in agent systems seems to account a set of diverse approaches to specifically face with at least one aspect within the above mentioned, this work aims at proposing a unifying approach where both agents and their organizations can be straightforwardly situated in properly designed working environments. In this line, this work pursues reconciliation of environments with sociality, social interaction with environment based interaction, environmental resources with organizational functionalities with the aim to smoothly integrate the various aspects of complex and situated organizations in a coherent programming approach. Rooted in Agents and Artifacts (A&A) meta-model, which has been recently introduced both in the context of agent oriented software engineering and programming, the thesis promotes the notion of Embodied Organizations, characterized by computational infrastructures attaining a seamless integration between agents, organizations and environmental entities.