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Title: Supporting cooperation and coordination in open multi-agent systems
Author: Franks, Henry P. W.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2749 3247
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2013
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Cooperation and coordination between agents are fundamental processes for increasing aggregate and individual benefit in open Multi-Agent Systems (MAS). The increased ubiquity, size, and complexity of open MAS in the modern world has prompted significant research interest in the mechanisms that underlie cooperative and coordinated behaviour. In open MAS, in which agents join and leave freely, we can assume the following properties: (i) there are no centralised authorities, (ii) agent authority is uniform, (iii) agents may be heterogeneously owned and designed, and may consequently have con icting intentions and inconsistent capabilities, and (iv) agents are constrained in interactions by a complex connecting network topology. Developing mechanisms to support cooperative and coordinated behaviour that remain effective under these assumptions remains an open research problem. Two of the major mechanisms by which cooperative and coordinated behaviour can be achieved are (i) trust and reputation, and (ii) norms and conventions. Trust and reputation, which support cooperative and coordinated behaviour through notions of reciprocity, are effective in protecting agents from malicious or selfish individuals, but their capabilities can be affected by a lack of information about potential partners and the impact of the underlying network structure. Regarding conventions and norms, there are still a wide variety of open research problems, including: (i) manipulating which convention or norm a population adopts, (ii) how to exploit knowledge of the underlying network structure to improve mechanism efficacy, and (iii) how conventions might be manipulated in the middle and latter stages of their lifecycle, when they have become established and stable. In this thesis, we address these issues and propose a number of techniques and theoretical advancements that help ensure the robustness and efficiency of these mechanisms in the context of open MAS, and demonstrate new techniques for manipulating convention emergence in large, distributed populations. Specfically, we (i) show that gossiping of reputation information can mitigate the detrimental effects of incomplete information on trust and reputation and reduce the impact of network structure, (ii) propose a new model of conventions that accounts for limitations in existing theories, (iii) show how to manipulate convention emergence using small groups of agents inserted by interested parties, (iv) demonstrate how to learn which locations in a network have the greatest capacity to in uence which convention a population adopts, and (v) show how conventions can be manipulated in the middle and latter stages of the convention lifecycle.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QA76 Electronic computers. Computer science. Computer software