From Objects based Middleware to Artifact based Work Environment in Multi-Agent Systems

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Recent approaches in Multi-Agent Systems are focusing on models and methodologies for the design of environments and facilities supposed to ease programming in the large and scale up complexities of distributed systems. Among others, the Agents and Artifacts (A&A) approach introduces the notion af artifact as first class abstraction  dual to the one provided by agents. Artifacts represent, in A&A terms, non-autonomous computational objects and external resources providing agents with serviceable operations, additional information and coordination services explicitely conceived by the system designer for easing agents work.
Based on the Agents and Artifacts (A&A) conceptual model, the CARTAGO framework allows the design and development of multi-agent work environment in terms of open set of artifacts, collected in workspaces, that agents dynamically instantiate, share and co-use to support their individual and collective work.
Some of the outcomes of the described approaches will be discussed along with examples and test cases, showing agents engaged in goal-oriented activities relying on the transmission of relevant knowledge and the operations provided by artifacts.