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Title: Implementing norm-governed multi-agent systems
Author: Bennett, Robin Catherine
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2013
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The actions and interactions of independently acting agents in a multi-agent system must be managed if the agents are to function effectively in their shared environment. Norms, which define the obligatory, prohibited and permitted actions for an agent to perform, have been suggested as a possible method for regulating the actions of agents. Norms are local rules designed to govern the actions of individual agents whilst also allowing the agents to achieve a coherent global behaviour. However, there appear to be very few instances of norm-governed multi-agent systems beyond theoretical examples. We describe an implementation strategy for allowing autonomous agents to take a set of norms into account when determining their actions. These norms are implemented using directives, which are local rules specifying actions for an agent to perform depending on its current state. Agents using directives are implemented in a simulation test bed, called Sinatra. Using Sinatra, we investigate the ability of directives to manage agent actions. We begin with directives to manage agent interactions. We find that when agents rely on only local rules they will encounter situations where the local rules are unable to achieve the desired global behaviour. We show how a centralised control mechanism can be used to manage agent interactions that are not successfully handled by directives. Controllers, with a global view of the interaction, instruct the individual agents how to act. We also investigate the use of an existing planning tool to implement the resolution mechanism of a controller. We investigate the ability of directives to coordinate the actions of agents in order to achieve a global objective more effectively. Finally, we present a case study of how directives can be used to determine the actions of autonomous mobile robots.
Supervisor: Sergot, Marek Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available