SIWN Abstracts Index
Building a Community Care Demonstrator with JADE Semantic Agents
Martin D. Beer and Richard Hill
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 1, August 2006, pp. 1-14
Abstract: The INCA Community Care Model provides not only a highly effective scenario within which the behavior of communities of agents can be studied and their efficacy evaluated, but also a platform that introduces students to the possibilities of semantic interoperability and the consequences of agent autonomy. Since its original conception the INCA Demonstrator has undergone a number of re-implementations both to demonstrate the developing capabilities of multi-agent systems and to test the applicability of different agent paradigms to the scenario. Each demonstrator was designed to support a set of scenarios designed to represent particular aspects of the provision of Community Care. This paper will consider how the demonstrator has evolved through successive versions, with the intention of producing a fully functional prototype that can clearly demonstrate the efficacy of the agent approach to the management of community care. This paper discusses the most recent developments that provide the opportunity to investigate the behaviors of groups of agents intent on providing the required level of care in a timely, efficient and cost-effective manner.
Keywords: multi-agent communities, community care, multi-agent scheduling.
The UbiMedic Framework to Support Medical Emergencies by Ubiquitous Computing
Francesco De Mola, Giacomo Cabri, Nicola Muratori, Raffaele Quitadamo and Franco Zambonelli
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 1, August 2006, pp. 15-25
Abstract: This paper investigates the feasibility of employing the Software Agent technology in the highly dynamic and variable context of healthcare emergency coordination and decision-support domain. We introduce the design of an agent-based middleware tailored to the requirements of such context and propose a framework, called UbiMedic, for the implementation and deployment of services, like monitoring services, communications and remote medical measurements in injured people. From the analysis of the framework, we are able to identify some of the major technical requirements it should meet as well as challenges to be addressed for effective use in commercial applications. We choose software agents as the key enabling technology because they offer a single, general framework in which large-scale, distributed real-time decision-support applications can be implemented more efficiently.
Keywords: Pervasive computing, multi-agent systems, context awareness, medical applications.
Design of an Agent Server for Neonatal Analysis and Trend Detection
Darren Foster and Carolyn McGregor
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 1, August 2006, pp. 27-34
Abstract: A Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) generates vast amounts of physiological data, much of which is not recorded. This physiological data may contain information to enable early warning of possible complications in neonatal babies conditions. An agent-based intelligent decision support system (IDSS) for neonatal analysis and trend detection is being developed in order to examine this physiological data. This paper specifically looks at what features are to be provided by an agent server as part of an agent-based IDSS framework for neonatal analysis and trend detection. To relieve the agents of added complexity, the Agent Server not only provides assistance with communication but other additional supplementary features. First the paper presents related work already performed including the high level framework of which this system is a component. This paper then overviews the Agent Server which is being developed focusing on some of its features. The key features of the agent server presented in this paper are the communication method used in order to simplify agent communication, the database access method used to simplify database access to multiple databases of different types by the agents, and finally the method for the dynamic allocation of agents to tasks including instantiating of additional agents if necessary.
Keywords: agent server, solution manager service, neonatal, IDSS, healthcare, medical.
Gene Expression Analysis in Multi-Agent Environment
H. C. Lam, M. Vazquez, B. Juneja, S. Fahrenkrug and D. Boley
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 1, August 2006, pp. 35-42
Abstract: This paper presents a multi-agent approach to gene expression analysis and illustrates the working steps using real dataset produced from a microarray experiment. The analysis can be conducted in a multi-agent environment with majority of the workload automated by agents at different stages of processing. Conceptually, the analysis process can be divided into three distinct steps: (1) data preprocessing, (2) statistical analysis, and (3) biological inference. In addition, each step involves different stages of processing. We implement a multi-agent system that provides process automation within each step using agents with different abilities. We also explore the parallelism of data processing using multi-agent system. The strength of our system is in its ability to support concurrent processing of gene data and the modular structural design that tailors to biologists’ demands. We also discuss the possibility of applying Machine Learning techniques to analyze gene expression data in a multi-agent environment.
Keywords: microarray, gene expression analysis.
Agent-Oriented Data Curation in Bioinformatics
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 1, August 2006, pp. 43-50
Abstract: The practitioners of bioinformatics require increasing sophistication from their software tools to take into account the particular characteristics that make their domain complex. For example, there is a great variation of experience of researchers, from novices who would like guidance from experts in the best resources to use, to experts that wish to take greater management control of the tools used in their experiments. Also, the range of available, and conflicting, data formats is growing and there is a desire to automate the many trivial manual stages of in-silico experiments. Agent-oriented software development is one approach to tackling the design of complex applications. In this paper, we argue that, in fact, agent-oriented development is a particularly well-suited approach to developing bioinformatics tools that take into account the wider domain characteristics. To illustrate this, we design a data curation tool, which manages the format of experimental data, extend it to better account for the extra requirements placed by the domain characteristics, and show how the characteristics lead to a system well suited to an agent-oriented view.
Keywords: data curation, agent-oriented software engineering, bioinformatics, provenance, tool design.
IDESS - A Multi Agent Based Simulation System for Rapid Development of Infectious Disease Models
Dean Yergens, Julie Hiner, Jörg Denzinger and Tom Noseworthy
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 1, August 2006, pp. 51-58
Abstract: The potential for the Avian Flu (H5N) virus to become a pandemic disease has mandated an examination of public health surveillance, response and containment strategies for developing countries. We have developed a Multi Agent System Simulation system known as IDESS (Infectious Disease Epidemic Simulation System) that rapidly constructs infectious disease models from existing data for any geographical region. This approach addresses an important area of infectious disease outbreak management, as it allows public health professionals to rapidly construct a simulation model for any geographic region and observe how an infectious disease spreads between communities. Such simulations will facilitate testing of containment strategies for rapid response.
Keywords: multi agent systems, simulation, infectious disease, disease models, developing countries.
An Agent System for Automatic Workflows Composition in Grid Environments
Alessandro Orro and Luciano Milanesi
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 1, August 2006, pp. 59-65
Abstract: General purpose workflow management systems are often unable to match user requirements of a particular application. In many points of the workflow the user has to take decisions that can affect the structure or the parameter settings of the remaining workflow nodes. In this paper, an agent system for automatic generation of workflow for Bioinformatics application is presented, which is able to build a workflow that satisfies some user requirements and executes them in a Grid Environment.
Keywords: agent systems, bioinformatics, grid computing, workflows.
A MultiAgent System for Classifying Bioinformatics Publications
Eloisa Vargiu and Andrea Addis
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 1, August 2006, pp. 67-73
Abstract: A growing amount of information is currently being generated and stored in the World Wide Web, so that - at least in principle - researchers can easily find relevant publications and scientific literature. However, especially for beginners, it is still very hard to determine which papers are of interest without an explicit classification of the topics they are involved in. To solve this problem, effective information filtering techniques are primary features to be provided. In fact, beyond conventional search engines, users need specific tools and methods for using all available scientific resources. In this paper, a technique for classifying bioinformatics publications according to a taxonomic domain knowledge is presented. The corresponding system is built upon a generic multiagent architecture aimed at retrieving, filtering and managing information among different and heterogeneous information sources. To evaluate the performance of the system, tests have been performed with publications extracted from the BMC Bioinformatics site and from the PubMed Central digital archive.
Keywords: text categorization, information retrieval, multiagent systems, bioinformatics.
Patient Scheduling in Clinical Studies with Multi-Agent Techniques
Helmut Myritz, Gabriela Lindemann, Gudrun Zahlmann and Hans-Dieter Burkhard
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 1, August 2006, pp. 75-80
Abstract: This paper presents a Multi-Agent System (MAS) for supporting physicians in performing clinical studies. Special attention is given to control patients with respect to their appointment behavior. This system is designed to operate in a real time scenario. Different agent-types of the MAS are introduced. Agents are designed to play a special role as representatives for human actors in the environment of clinical studies. Moreover, the system comprises special administration agents. A motivation for the use of agents will be given, as well as a specification of the problem, a description of design features, the inter-agent communication structure, and implementation aspects.
Keywords: multi-agent systems in medicine, patient scheduling, clinical studies.
Crisis Management with Distributed Processing Technology
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 1, August 2006, pp. 81-92
Abstract: A novel distributed processing and control ideology and technology are described suitable for management of advanced crisis relief missions and systems. The approach is based on the installation of a universal “social” module in networked computers, mobile robots, and massively wearable electronic devices, like laptops and mobile phones. These modules can collectively interpret a spatial scenario language setting up the global system behavior, exchanging high-level program code, information and physical matter, as well as spatial control with other modules in parallel. This can dynamically integrate scattered post-disaster human and technical resources into an operable distributed system coordinated both internally and externally, effectively orienting it on solving complex self-analysis, infrastructure protection, survivability, relief, and reconstruction problems.
Keywords: critical infrastructures, emergency management, emergent societies, crisis relief, information technologies, distributed control, wave model, wearable electronic devices, mobile robotics.
Metamodel Access Protocols for Extensible Aspect-Oriented Modeling
Naoyasu Ubayashi, Tetsuo Tamai, Shinji Sano, Yusaku Maeno and Satoshi Murakami
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 1, August 2006, pp. 93-101
Abstract: Aspect orientation is important not only at the programming-level but also at the modeling-level. AspectM is one of aspect-oriented modeling languages for managing modeling-level aspects. Although AspectM provides basic modeling facilities for a modeler, the language constructs cannot be extended. This paper proposes a mechanism called metamodel access protocol (MMAP) that allows an application modeler to access and modify the AspectM metamodel. MMAP consists of metamodel extension points, extension operations, and primitive predicates for defining pointcut designators. MMAP enables a modeler to represent application-specific crosscutting concerns.
Keywords: aspect-oriented modeling, join point mechanism, metamodel extension, metamodel access protocol.
Empirical Evaluation of Reading Techniques for UML Models Inspection
Aleksander Jarzębowicz and Janusz Górski
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 2, September 2006, pp. 103-110
Abstract: This paper reports on an experiment comparing three reading techniques: ad hoc, UML-HAZOP and scenario-based applied during inspection of UML models. UML-HAZOP is a reading technique adopted from the domain of safety analysis of critical systems. The technique and its variants applied in experiment are outlined in the paper. Design, a way of conducting and results processing of the experiment are described. The results include comparison of effectiveness and efficiency (for pairs) and analysis of number of reported defects as a function of time. The experiment revealed that although pair effectiveness was rather similar for all techniques, for pair efficiency UML-HAZOP had the best performance.
Keywords: software inspection, empirical software engineering, controlled experiments, object-oriented design, unified modeling language.
An Abstraction Mechanism of Component Constraints in Dynamic Software Architecture
Jeong Wook Bang, In-Young Ko, Jongmoon Baik and Ho-Jin Choi
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 2, September 2006, pp. 111-118
Abstract: Software architecture of a complex software system can be more understandable and manageable if it can be represented as a few abstracted components and their connections. Architecture abstraction is a method of reducing the complexity of software architecture by combining relevant components into abstracted components. In abstracting software architecture, it is essential to abstract its constraints in order to catch the system’s structural and behavioral properties. Especially, in dynamic software architecture, where the components can be changed during run time, additional requirements for constraint abstraction are necessary: abstraction support for non-deterministic constraints during design time, and handling of unexpected environmental changes. The core idea of our approach is to select and execute appropriate abstraction methods based on dynamic conditions of software architecture. We show an example of how constraints can be abstracted in dynamic situations by using our approach.
Keywords: abstraction, components, constraints, dynamic software architecture.
Implementing the Microsoft Solution Framework for Agile Software Development as Concrete Development-Method in the V-Modell XT
Marco Kuhrmann and Thomas Ternité
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 2, September 2006, pp. 119-126
Abstract: Nowadays, at least two types of software development processes exist. At first there are the formal, structured ones mainly based on waterfall- or spiral-like processes. On the other hand, pragmatic agile methods, like Scrum or Extreme Programming, become more and more important. People often say both approaches are exclusive. In this paper we present an approach to integrate a concrete agile method, the Microsoft Solution Framework 4.0 for Agile Software Development, into a precise, well defined and structured software development process model – the V-Modell® XT.
Keywords: V-Modell XT, Microsoft Solution Framework, agile methods, process models, process engineering.
A Genetic Programming Approach to Automated Test Generation for Object-Oriented Software
Arjan Seesing and Hans-Gerhard Gross
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 2, September 2006, pp. 127-134
Abstract: This article proposes a new method for creating test software for object-oriented systems using a genetic programming approach. It is believed that this approach is advantageous over the more established search-based test-case generation approaches because the test software is represented and altered as a fully functional computer program. Genetic programming (GP) uses a tree-shaped data structure which is more directly comparable and suitable for being mapped instantly to abstract syntax trees commonly used in computer languages and compilers. These structures can be manipulated and executed directly, bypassing intricate and error prone conversion procedures between different representations. In addition, tree structures make more operations possible, which keep the structure and semantics of the evolving test software better intact during program evolution, compared to linear structures. This speeds up the evolutionary program generation process because the loss of evolved structures due to mutations and crossover is prevented more effectively.
Keywords: search-based testing, test automation, object-oriented programming.
Influence Evaluation of Usage of Generic Design Patterns on Chosen Quality Software Characteristics
Lukasz Baraniewicz and Bogumila Hnatkowska
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 2, September 2006, pp. 135-141
Abstract: Design patterns and templates belong to good programming practices. The paper answers the question how combination of these two practices influences on chosen quality software characteristics, e.g., maintainability, efficiency. The evaluation was done basing on quality model, expressed in terms of quantitatively defined metrics. The subject of assessment was: (a) Design Pattern Template Library (DPTL) written after the example of STL library, and (b) a set of programs written in C++. The paper presents and analyses results of an experiment used for evaluation of DPTL, and C++ programs. The aim of the experiment was to check the influence of the DPTL–based and standard–based approaches on the source code quality characteristics. The DPTL–based approach means that DPTL library was used in a program to support the implementation of the selected functionality. The standard–based approach means that no design patterns were introduced to the implementation.
Keywords: design patterns, templates, quality model, quality characteristics, software code metrics.
5-S: An Activity Theoretic Requirements Elicitation Method for Multi-User Systems
Robert B. K. Brown, Peter Hyland and Ian C. Piper
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 2, September 2006, pp. 143-149
Abstract: The vast majority of multi-user organizational computer systems are highly interactive. If such systems are specifically designed from stakeholder and user requirements, matching their real activities, then acceptance and success of the system should be enhanced. We propose a consistent end-to-end analysis, design and evaluation method for such systems based upon Activity Theoretic principles. We describe Activity Theory concepts, the broad framework of the proposed 5-S method and provide a brief case study which illustrates the initial stages of the method.
Keywords: requirement elicitation, activity theory, design framework, interaction quotient.
Effects of Reducing Reviewer Preparation and Meeting Durations on Software Review Performance: Two Laboratory Experiments
Lesley Pek Wee Land, Graham Low and Rohith Enjeti
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 2, September 2006, pp. 151-157
Abstract: The primary purpose of the software inspection process is to improve the quality of the inspection artifact. The typical inspection process consists of two stages, the individual and group inspection stages. Inspection performance is usually measured by the number of defects identified in the software artifact. Time is a critical factor in the software development process. The generally prescribed inspection duration is two hours each for individual inspections and the team meeting. There is little or no empirical evidence to suggest that this duration is optimal for detect detection performance. The current research investigates the effect of time both on individual and group inspection performance. The results indicate that a reduction in time has a greater impact on group inspection performance compared with individual inspection performance. Based on the findings, we propose that whist time can be marginally compromised for individual inspections without any significant bearing on performance, for groups, we cannot afford a reduction in meeting time without significantly impairing performance.
Keywords: software inspection, meeting duration, meeting effectiveness.
Formal Computation Independent Model within the MDA Life Cycle
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 2, September 2006, pp. 159-166
Abstract: In this paper a formal Computation Independent Model (CIM) is offered that serves as a formal approach for the modeling of the problem domain. The core element of this approach is Topological Functioning Model (TFM) that is a result of problem domain-driven analysis and is based on the mathematical category of topological space. On this foundation a modified MDA software development life cycle is offered. The output of the formalized CIM is transformable into UML diagrams. TFM allows simple handling of changes in the mode of functioning of the problem domain and in cases of correcting errors of the development. It is illustrated by means of a case study.
Keywords: problem domain, MDA life cycle, topological functioning model, computation independent model, formalization.
Improving Knowledge Sharing in Software Engineering
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 2, September 2006, pp. 167-173
Abstract: Difficulties in, or lack of knowledge sharing is one of the root causes for problems in software engineering work. A technique, knowledge sharing patterns, is proposed here to improve existing software development processes with better knowledge sharing properties. Knowledge sharing patterns describe solutions to frequent problems related to the difficulties in knowledge sharing, offering a light weight mechanism to introduce knowledge sharing sensitive practices in development processes.
Keywords: software process improvement, knowledge management, knowledge sharing, patterns.
Cost Modeling Agile Software Development
Maarit Laanti and Petri Kettunen
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 2, September 2006, pp. 175-179
Abstract: Many New Product Development (NPD) software projects use nowadays agile methodologies. These methodologies date back to the ‘90s, and the Agile Manifesto was declared in 2001. However, already before that the concept of Agile Manufacturing was discovered to describe a corporation’s ability to quickly adapt to changing requirements. There is surprising amount in common between these two fields. This paper investigates the question of whether NPD software development companies could learn from the cost management research done for agile manufacturing. An industrial case example is illustrated. The observations suggest that there is still much room for improving the cost awareness in software product development in general.
Keywords: agility, agile software methodologies, software engineering management, software cost model, new product development.
Robust Formation of Multiple Robots Using Reactive Variable Structure Systems
Q P Ha and G Dissanayake
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 2, September 2006, pp. 181-189
Abstract: This paper addresses robust control of multiple mobile robots moving in desired formations. A rigorous control technique for such an agent-based robotic system may encounter problems of singularity, parameter sensitivity and inter-robot collision. Our proposed approach focuses on the enhancement of robustness as well as collision-free establishment of formations even in the case of singularity and uncertainties in sensing information of the reference coordinates by using variable structure controllers incorporated with a reactive control scheme. Advantages of the approach are verified in simulation of three robots moving in such formations as a line and a column.
Keywords: reactive control, robotic formation, robustness, variable structure systems.
An Agent-Based Intelligent Tutoring System: A Case Study in Legal Domain
Ig Bittencourt, Marcos Tadeu, Evandro Costa, Camila Nunes, Rômulo Nunes and Alan Silva
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 2, September 2006, pp. 191-199
Abstract: Computer based learning gets more and more important in higher education. Particularly, in Legal domain, students have little chance to deal with realistic situations. One way to alleviate this problem is to provide Law students with real cases, rules, and viewpoints of which a given body of knowledge is often recognized as important to their successful learning. In this paper is proposed a novel approach to Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS) applied to Legal domain to address each of the above concerns. Then, it was defined an agent-based architecture to support multiple views of domain knowledge, improving the quality of student-ITS interactions and the learning success of the students. Each tutoring agent from the system contains a knowledge-based system that combines Case-Based Reasoning (CBR) and Rule-Based System (RBS). In addition, each agent adopts the Reinforcement Learning Algorithm aiming at identifying the best pedagogical strategy by considering the student profile. This paper focuses on both architecture and the mentioned Artificial Intelligence techniques into a Legal System.
Keywords: artificial intelligence and law, case-based reasoning, intelligent tutoring systems, reinforcement learnin, rule-based systems g.
TextileNet: Flexible Network Infrastructure for Wearable Computing Using Conductive Fabric
Junichi Akita, Toru Shinmura, Tomomichi Murakami, Mariko Yao and Masashi Toda
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 2, September 2006, pp. 201-205
Abstract: Numbers of devices are distributed in the environment in wearable and ubiquitous computing systems, and all of such devices need power supply and communication ways as well as flexibility of placement. Both wireless and wired communication systems intrinsically contain the problems in power supply or flexibility of placement. In this paper, we introduce the flexible network infrastructure for wearable computing systems, named as TextileNet, and experimental results of its evaluation. TextileNet uses the wear both of sides of which are made of conductive fabric as electrodes. On this year, the power is supplied from a battery, and the devices are attached by sticking so that electric contact can obtain the sufficient power and communication way on the wear’s surface. This paper describes the implementation and evaluation of the TextileNet system.
Keywords: cable free, conductive fabric, network infrastructure, wearable computing.
An Agent Based Layered Architecture for Network and Grid Management
Zhenglu Wang and Huaglory Tianfield
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 2, September 2006, pp. 207-212
Abstract: Today’s networks are operating in open dynamic environments with massive heterogeneous components and sub-systems. Most typical of the trend are the virtual organization environments of grid computing, which represents the next generation networks. This has posed a radical challenge upon the conventional centralized paradigms for network resource management, and new technologies enabling scalable decentralized paradigms are required for network and grid management. This paper proposes an agent-based layered architecture for network and grid management. Specifically, the two levels of the proposed architecture, i.e., local management and system-wide management, are analyzed, and simulations are presented to evaluate the proposed architecture in terms of transfer speeds, CPU utilization and execution times.
Keywords: agent, grid management, layered architecture, network management.
Self-Regulation in Situated Agents
Ali Obied, A. Taleb-Bendiab and M. Randles
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 3, September 2006, pp. 213-225
Abstract: Situated Autonomic software can be envisaged as a system which acts and/or reacts autonomously to external stimuli, generated from sensing its environment, which is achieved independently of external human intervention. This paper focuses on the theoretical development of regulatory mechanisms for deliberative autonomic software under partially observable worlds. The work details progress achieved so far, towards the design and implementation of a proposed partially observable regulation mechanism, which integrates an Extensible Beliefs, Desire and Intention (EBDI) model deliberation with decision theoretical approaches. Unlike other approaches, the proposed mechanism enables an autonomic system to regulate its reaction not only via logic and deontics based reasoning but also via anticipated risk or benefits (effects) of a given reaction plan.
Keywords: situated agent, extensible beliefs desires and intentions, partial observable Markov decision process.
Norm Adaptation of Autonomic Electronic Institutions with Multiple Goals
Eva Bou, Maite López-Sánchez and J. A. Rodríguez-Aguilar
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 3, September 2006, pp. 227-237
Abstract: Electronic institutions (EIs) have been proposed as a means of regulating open agent societies. EIs define the rules of the game in agent societies by fixing what agents are permitted and forbidden to do and under what circumstances. And yet, there is the need for EIs to adapt their regulations to comply with their goals despite coping with varying populations of self-interested agents. This paper focuses on the extension of EIs with autonomic capabilities to allow them to yield dynamical answer to changing circumstances through the adaptation of their norms and their performative structure.
Keywords: autonomic electronic institutions, multiagent systems, adaptation.
Agent Technology for Autonomic Computing
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 3, September 2006, pp. 239-248
Abstract: This paper presents an agent-based approach for autonomic computing systems. An analysis of the theoretical and pragmatic reasons that underlie this approach is proposed. Then an agent based solution is presented to deal with autonomic computing systems. Finally, a survey upon the different approaches adopted for autonomic computing as well as a confrontation of these approaches with the agent-based approach are presented.
Keywords: Autonomic systems, self-managing mechanisms, agent paradigm, multi-agent systems.
On Developing Autonomic Frameworks with Agent Technology
M. Lyell, W. Tang and Joseph Coughlan
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 3, September 2006, pp. 249-257
Abstract: The focus of this effort is an investigation into the elements that, together, produce an autonomic agent-based framework. This work utilizes a prototype centric approach in which to situate the study. The Use Case for the prototype is provided by a scientist’s or decision support program’s need for a Simulation Manager. As part of this study, the artifacts of an agent-oriented software engineering (AOSE) methodology are annotated to expose the autonomic concerns. The Gaia AOSE methodology utilized. The relationship of knowledge engineering to autonomic principles is also investigated.
Keywords: autonomic, agent framework, software engineering.
Intelligent Supervision of Plan Execution in Multi-Agent Systems
Roberto Micalizio, Pietro Torasso and Gianluca Torta
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 3, September 2006, pp. 259-267
Abstract: The paper discusses a methodology for establishing a closed control loop over the execution of a plan where concurrent actions are performed by a team of agents. The initial plan is distributed among agents and each of them performs a local control loop on the progress of the sub-plan it is responsible for. As soon as an action failure is detected, the agent invokes a Local Re-Planner in order to recovery from the failure by building a new local plan. In case such a local plan does not exist, a global re-planning phase is initiated; the global re-planner receives from the agent relevant pieces of information concerning the causes of the detected failure and the actions (performed by other agents) which directly or indirectly may fail as a consequence of such a failure (failure propagation).
Model-Based Reasoning techniques are used for explicitly modeling the actions evolutions both in the nominal and in the abnormal situations. These extended action models play a critical role in re-planning, since the (possibly abnormal) health states of the agents can be taken into account for predicting the effects of actions.
Keywords: plan execution monitoring, plan repair, model-based reasoning.
A Middleware to Engineer Autonomic Systems and Applications
Giovanni Rimassa, Dominic Greenwood and Martin E. Kernland
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 3, September 2006, pp. 269-276
Abstract: This paper discusses the autonomic features and principles of the Living Systems Technology Suite, LS/TS, a software system for developing and deploying applications based on autonomous software agents and autonomic computing principles. The system comprises a software development methodology, Eclipse and Java-based development environment and runtime deployment tools for creating and managing populations of autonomous software agents within the context of diverse application domains. Specifically, the paper describes the autonomic principles built into the foundation of the LS/TS runtime, which executing applications can rely on to ensure their continued operation. As LS/TS applications themselves can incorporate goal-based autonomous agents, autonomics can also be engineered at application level. The resulting systems can exhibit truly autonomic behavior, allowing considerable reduction in complexity to the application user through self-management features. These features are described within the context of a general taxonomy of autonomic systems identifying the set of explicit and implicit feedback relationships between system middleware and applications. Three classes are identified and described in terms of the LS/TS approach.
Keywords: software agents, autonomous, autonomic, middle-ware, LS/TS.
Self-Organizing Agents Approach to Structural Design
Tilmann Bitterberg, Cherif Branki, Adam Borkowski and Ewa Grabska
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 3, September 2006, pp. 277-282
Abstract: This paper introduces a novel approach to structural engineering design, using a self-organizing multi-agent system. It commences by discussing structural optimization in engineering design. It will then define the key concepts of self-organization and multi-agent systems. It will finally present a self-organizing multi-agent system using a case study of trusses in electrical pylons.
Keywords: multi-agent systems, structural design, self-organization, layout optimization.
Investigation of an Efficient Approach towards Problem Decomposition in Large Scale Multi-Agent Systems
Frank Büscher and Rainer Unland
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 3, September 2006, pp. 283-287
Abstract: Information agents are managing, manipulating or collating information from distributed sources. With the growth of information services there has been a rise in the number of these agents. The evolving systems suffer from a decreasing response time, resulting from the communication overhead. This paper presents an investigation of the construction of large scale multi-agent-based information systems. A detailed problem description of the limitations is presented. For these reasons a first solution, based on equivalence considerations is proposed. It concludes with an outlook on other promising optimization techniques regarding the given problem.
Keywords: multi-agent system, intelligent and cooperative information system, self-organizing and self-optimizing agent system, multi-agent-based information system.
Application of Business Process Execution Language to Scientific Workflows
Asif Akram, David Meredith and Rob Allan
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 3, September 2006, pp. 289-302
Abstract: This paper investigates the use of the Business Process Execution Language for Web services (BPEL4WS/ BPEL) for managing scientific workflows. The complexity, unpredictability and inter-dependency of the components in a scientific workflow often demand great flexibility in a workflow-language in order to support; 1) exception handling, 2) recovery from uncertain situations, 3) user interactions to facilitate interactive steering and monitoring, 4) dynamism to adapt to the changing environment, 5) compensation handling to reverse the effects of previous activities that have been abandoned, and 6) flexibility to support dynamic selection of services at runtime and to support changing data requirements. These requirements are illustrated with examples taken from a real scientific workflow; the e-HTPX project for high throughput protein crystallography. In the context of addressing these requirements, the features of the BPEL4WS specification are discussed, which is widely regarded as the de-facto standard for orchestrating Web services for business workflows. An investigation and proposal for the use of the Web services Invocation Framework (WSIF)  to extend BPEL is also provided. In summary, by extending BPEL where necessary (in conjunction with standard BPEL features), workflows can be successfully adapted to fulfill all the requirements of complex scientific workflows.
Keywords: BPEL, scientific workflow, SOA, Web services, Web Services Invocation Framework.
Small Unmanned Helicopter Simplified and Decentralized Optimization-Based Controller Design for Non-Aggressive Flights
Carlos L. Castillo, Wendy Alvis, Mauricio Castillo-Effen, Wilfrido Moreno and Kimon Valavanis
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 3, September 2006, pp. 303-315
Abstract: Helicopter controller design is a challenging problem because of complex dynamics features, nonlinearities, gyroscopic effects, inherent instabilities and high degree of coupling among dynamic modes. Considering non-aggressive flight patterns, emphasizing hovering and (slow motion) cruising, an optimization-based approach to decentralized controller design is presented and used to derive a set of single input single output (SISO) PD/PID and PID-like fuzzy logic controllers following state space model linearization. Comparisons between PD/PID, fuzzy PID-like controllers and a fully MIMO LQR controller presented in . are provided for several flight patterns to judge not only their applicability and effectiveness, but also to evaluate flight performance.
Keywords: unmanned helicopter, decentralized controllers, PID, fuzzy logic, optimization.
Research of Several Key Mathematical Techniques in Optimized Conflict Agents
Chih-Yao Lo and Yu-Teng Chang
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 3, September 2006, pp. 317-326
Abstract: Conflict is a natural and very typical phenomenon in every field of human world. It has very significant common characteristics and dynamics, and, therefore, it makes sense to examine them together and comparatively. People get involved in conflicts because their interests or their values are challenged or because their needs are not met.
Different kinds or classes of conflict require different conflict resolution strategies. According to their different natures people need different strategies to resolve different sorts of conflicts. Therefore, this paper describes how to represent each agent’s view and expand the ideas of mathematic techniques to Conflict Agents and gives a brief evaluation of each technique in its theory, besides a Conflict Resolution algorithm was proposed and implemented it on AGENT-0 of the Linear Programming model of which tries to resolve the conflict in DAI.
Keywords: conflict resolution, DAI, agent.
ForMAAD Method: An Experimental Design for Air Traffic Control
Amira Regayeg, Slim Kallel, Ahmed Hadj Kacem and Mohamed Jmaiel
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 4, September 2006, pp. 327-334
Abstract: This paper proposes a formal methodology for designing multi-agent systems based on stepwise refinements. The main contribution consists in providing a set of methodological principles and hints which help the user to build, in a systematic and incremental way, a correct design specification starting from an abstract requirements one. This method will be illustrated by developing a multi-agent solution for an air traffic control application.
Keywords: agent oriented software engineering, formal methodology, stepwise refinement.
A Performance Analysis of Multi-Agent Systems
Kresimir Jurasovic, Gordan Jezic and Mario Kusek
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 4, September 2006, pp. 335-341
Abstract: In this paper, a performance analysis and a comparison of the Grasshopper and Jade agent platforms is presented. The analysis focuses on the measurement of average round trip times (RTT) needed for a circular exchange of messages, the data transferred during a certain period of time, and message overhead. Tests were performed with different message sizes and coding techniques and the obtained results are presented. A case study was conducted which includes a comparison of two versions of a multi-agent system, called Multi-Agent Remote Maintenance Shell (MA-RMS), based on two different agent platforms. Presented is a performance analysis of the execution of management operations on the two versions tested. The analysis focuses on two parameters: the time needed for operation completion and the traffic generated during execution.
Keywords: Jade, Grasshopper, agent platforms, performance analysis, round trip time, message overhead, traffic measurement, multi-agent system.
Implementing Multi-Agent Teamwork via Reference Net Team Modules
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 4, September 2006, pp. 343-349
Abstract: Multi-agent applications raise the question of how cooperation could take place in a robust and at the same time flexible way with respect to dynamic environments. In this paper a teamwork model is presented which accounts for both team structures and team activities as a comprehensive approach to provide agents with an explicit representation of the cooperative problem solving process. By this, agents are enabled to actually reason about their cooperative efforts and responsibilities towards other agents. Furthermore, an implementation of the teamwork model via equipping agents with separate team modules is proposed. Besides offering representations of current team structures and team activities, these modules take over certain routine teamwork coordination tasks and thus relieve their respective agents of some of the teamwork overhead. For the modules a reference net-based architecture is proposed as a suitable means to deal with the inherent concurrency and demand for dynamic composition in an elegant and intuitive way.
Keywords: multi-agent system, teamwork, reference net.
The State of the Art in Automated Negotiation Models of the Behavior and Information Perspective
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 4, September 2006, pp. 351-356
Abstract: The following article is a dissertation project in progress paper. It shows the results of an empirical analysis of 74 publications in the field of automated negotiations. The results show that most of the items (66) imply incomplete or uncertain information, but mainly related to the negotiation partner. Only 12 of them are related to the negotiation item. Despite the advantages of the argumentation-based negotiation  there is no such model that implies incomplete or uncertain information related to the negotiation item. There is a need of research activities.
Keywords: automated negotiation, rationality, argumentation, incomplete information, information fraught with risk.
A General Framework for Multi-Agent Search with Individual and Global Goals: Stakeholder Search
Alan Fedoruk and Jörg Denzinger
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 4, September 2006, pp. 357-362
Abstract: Stakeholder search is a general framework for an extension to the improving on the competition approach paradigm for cooperative search that allows for additional individual goals of the search agents. This framework defines a whole spectrum of possibilities for search systems. Based on a scheme defining interactions, search agents use a given strategy (ranging from cooperative to competitive) to find good solutions for the global search goal that are also good for their individual goals. A stakeholder search system was created to solve instances of the package delivery problem. Experiments with search agents using either a cooperative, a competitive or a stakeholder strategy, between the two extremes, showed that the stakeholder strategy was effective at finding solutions which satisfied both the global goal and many of the individual agent’s goals.
Keywords: distributed search, semi-cooperative search.
Decentralized Reputation Management for Cooperating Software Agents in Open Multi-Agent Systems
Andreas Grünert, Sebastian Hudert, Stefan König, Sven Kaffille and Guido Wirtz
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 4, September 2006, pp. 363-368
Abstract: Multi-Agent Systems (MAS) promise a new advance in distributed computing. In MAS autonomous software agents flexibly cooperate, coordinate and compete to provide the desired function(s) of such a system. If some components of a MAS fail or do not provide the desired functionality, the system is expected to autonomously deal with this situation. It is desirable to reduce occurrences of such situations by selecting trustworthy cooperation partners before cooperating with them. This becomes even more crucial in open MAS in which arbitrary heterogeneous software agents participate. In order to monitor agent behavior and enable selection of trustworthy cooperation partners, trust management services can be applied. As there is no central control in an open MAS and it is completely distributed, these services itself have to be distributed. This paper proposes a fully distributed reputation management service for open MAS based on peer-to-peer technology.
Keywords: reputation management, multi-agent systems, cooperating software agents.
Agent-Supported Cross-Organizational Business Process Management and Implementation
Timo Kahl, Dominik Vanderhaeghen, Jörg Ziemann, Ingo Zinnikus, Peter Loos and Klaus Fischer
sai: itssa.2006.09.043, International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 4, September 2006, pp. 369-374
Abstract: New forms of cooperation like collaborative business scenarios require a deep but flexible integration of enterprises. In order to manage inter-organizational business processes, existing concepts for business process management need to be adapted and extended. In this paper an approach is presented, that shows how cross-organizational processes can be planned and implemented. The approach is based on the differentiation of global knowledge within the network and local knowledge of each participating company. By the use of different representations of BPM models in an integrated three-layer approach a broad acceptance for the inter-organizational BPM effort can be achieved by a wide range of users from business analysts to software architects and engineers. Furthermore, we discuss which possibilities agent technologies can offer to implement cross-organizational business processes faster and more effective.
Keywords: collaborative business process, service-oriented architecture, agent technology.
Evaluation of a Multi-Agent System for Hospital Patient Scheduling
Anja Zöller, Lars Braubach, Alexander Pokahr, Franz Rothlauf, Torsten O. Paulussen, Winfried Lamersdorf and Armin Heinzl
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 4, September 2006, pp. 375-380
Abstract: The problem of patient scheduling in hospitals is characterized by high uncertainty and dynamics in patient treatments. Additional complexity in the planning and coordination processes is caused due to interdependencies of autonomous and administratively distinct units which are involved in the treatment of a patient. For real-world scheduling scenarios traditional scheduling methods are often either too limited in their expressive power regarding the representation of real-world problems or fail in solving real-sized problems in a timely fashion. In contrast, multi-agent systems are a promising approach to overcome these restrictions. This paper extends previous evaluations a multi-agent system for patient scheduling and studies a close-to-reality testing environment. The scenario is based on a field study and includes the interplay of multiple sources of uncertainty to evaluate the applicability of our approach in practice. The experimental results show that the evaluated multi-agent system outperforms existing status quo approaches for patient scheduling in hospitals.
Keywords: collaborative business processes, service-oriented architectures, agent technologies.
The AGILE Policy Expression Language for Autonomic Systems
Richard John Anthony
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 4, September 2006, pp. 381-397
Abstract: This paper presents the AGILE policy expression language. The language enables powerful expression of self-managing behaviours and facilitates policy-based autonomic computing in which the policies themselves can be adapted dynamically and automatically. The language is generic so as to be deployable across a wide spectrum of application domains, and is very flexible through the use of simple yet expressive syntax and semantics. The development of AGILE is motivated by the need for adaptive policy mechanisms that are easy to deploy into legacy code and can be used by non autonomics-expert practitioners to embed self-managing behaviours with low cost and risk. A library implementation of the policy language is described. The implementation extends the state of the art in policy-based autonomics through innovations which include support for multiple policy versions of a given policy type, multiple configuration templates, and higher-level ‘meta-policies’ to dynamically select between differently configured business-logic policy instances and templates. Two dissimilar example deployment scenarios are examined.
Keywords: policy-based computing, policy definition language, self-configuration, self-management.
An Analytical Approach for Reliability Analysis of Pipeline Software Architecture
Swapna S. Gokhale and Sherif Yacoub
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 4, September 2006, pp. 399-409
Abstract: Architecture styles represent commonly occurring patterns of the structural organization of components and connectors of an application. A number of such styles have been identified and analyzed extensively for different non functional attributes including performance, maintainability, flexibility, and modifiability. The issue of reliability analysis of architecture styles, however, has been relatively less investigated. This paper presents a reliability analysis methodology for one such architecture style, namely, the pipe and filter style. Two variants of the topological organization of the pipes and filters, namely, linear topology without feedback and with feedback where the feedback loop is incorporated either to improve quality or to improve reliability are considered. The methodology derives analytical expressions for application reliability which incorporate the impact of (i) error propagation and downstream error correction, and (ii) deterministic number of iterations through the feedback loop, with filter reliabilities a function of the number of iterations. The potential of the methodology to obtain a reliability estimate and to facilitate sensitivity analysis is illustrated using an industrial case study of a Document Understanding and Analysis Application.
Keywords: feedback loop, pipeline style, software architecture, software reliability.
A Strategic Negotiation Model for Grid Scheduling
Jiadao Li and Ramin Yahyapour
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 4, September 2006, pp. 411-420
Abstract: Resource management in a decentralized Grid infrastructure is a complex task as it has to cope with different policies and objectives of the different resource providers and the resource users. This problem is further complicated due to the diversity of the resource types, the heterogeneity of their local resource management systems. Agreement-based resource management can be used to address these issues as in the negotiation process of creating such bi-lateral service level agreements (SLAs) between Grid parties, the different polices of the resource providers and the users will be abstracted and observed. Such negotiation processes should be automated with no or minimal human interaction, considering the potential scale of Grid systems and the amount of necessary transactions. Therefore, strategic negotiation models play important roles. In this paper, a negotiation model including learning-based negotiation strategies are proposed and examined. Simulations have been conducted to evaluate the presented system. The results demonstrate that the proposed negotiation model and the learning based negotiation strategies are suitable and effective for Grid environments.
Self-Organizing Networks of Communications and Computing
Hong Tang and Huaglory Tianfield
International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, Vol. 1, No. 4, September 2006, pp. 421-431
Abstract: Networking, at both levels of its instantiations, i.e., infrastructure level networks, namely, communications, and application level networks, namely, service-oriented distributed computing, is developing at an ever faster speed and making ever profound impacts. Communication networks are evolving towards their future generation which is all-IP based networks with various wired and wireless access methods. In particular, wireless networks and mobile computing have become increasingly popular. As a result, dynamism and flexibility at all levels have increased significantly. All of theses have led to networks of communications and computing becoming more and more complex. New paradigms are urgently required for design, engineering, deployment, operation, control, management and evolution of complex networks of communications and computing. Self-organization has appeared as a very promising approach. This paper presents a preliminary study of self-organizing networks of communications and computing. Specifically, concepts, typical examples, and key technologies of self-organizing networks are presented.
Keywords: distributed computing, Grid computing, mobile ad hoc network, overlay network, self-managing computing, self-organization, self-organizing network, service-oriented computing, wireless mesh network, wireless sensor network.
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