Academic journal article Mathematics and Computer Education

Multi-Agent Systems: An Introduction to Distributed Artificial Intelligence

Academic journal article Mathematics and Computer Education

Multi-Agent Systems: An Introduction to Distributed Artificial Intelligence

Article excerpt

MULTI-AGENT SYSTEMS: AN INTRODUCTION TO DISTRIBUTED ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE by Jacques Ferber Addison-Wesley, 1999, 509 pp.

Intelligent agents are at the center of one of the most influential notions in current research in artificial intelligence. They are autonomous robots or programs that interact with their environment, possess skills and motivations, and can communicate and work cooperatively with other agents. A multi-agent system is comprised of several intelligent agents working together toward some goal or the completion of some task. Researchers have discovered that multi-agent systems can accomplish tasks as well as or even better than their centralized single program counterparts. The multi-agent system literature spans a wide range of fields including robotics, mathematics, linguistics, psychology, and sociology, as well as computer science. Multi-Agent Systems: An Introduction to Distributed Artificial Intelligence by Jacques Ferber is an excellent entry to this fascinating field.

This text includes a history and survey of the state-of-the-art of multi-agent systems, and provides a careful and detailed analysis of the conceptual underpinnings of multi-agent systems. Ferber emphasizes agent interaction, a core issue in multi-agent system design and performance. He also provides a formalization of the multi-agent system through BRIC (Basic Representation of Interactive Components), a formalism derived from Petri nets. The problem of designing and implementing a robot explorer team on Mars is a unifying application used by Ferber to motivate and illustrate the various themes of multiagent systems.

Multi-Agent Systems: An Introduction to Distributed Artificial Intelligence is distinctive in its careful scrutiny of structure and function in multi-agent systems. …

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