CISC 889  -   Multi-Agent Systems  -   Spring 1997

T/Th 11:00am-12:15pm,  Smith Hall 102a

Instructor: Keith Decker 
Office: Room 204, The Green House (77 E. Delaware) 
Hours: T/Th 1:00pm-2:00pm 
Phone: 831-1959 

Course Description

This course introduces students to the fields of Multi-Agent Systems and Distributed Artificial Intelligence, which deal with the issues that arise when groups or societies of autonomous agents (usually computer programs but sometimes people too) interact to solve interrelated problems. These agents may be self-interested or cooperating to solve a shared problem. Important issues include reasoning about the knowledge & beliefs of other agents; high-level communication & negotiation protocols;  the organization, coordination, and control of complex, distributed computation. Applications include internet information gathering, electronic commerce, and  workflow management in areas such as finance, bioinformatics, etc...


Seminar with practical implementation project. Most of the class will be discussion of the text we are reading, and later perhaps some selected external papers.


Topics will be open to class interests, but here's some suggestions: Once we get through the overview, I can alter the topic list to focus on issues that you find interesting (again, trying to mix classic and new papers)


2/11 Introduction Decker
2/13 What is an Agent Intelligent Agents = Stupid Humans?, Wired. Especially the two position papers, Intelligent Software by Pattie Maes, and Agents of Alienation, by Jaron Lanier. 

Artificial intelligence research now driven by entertainment industry

Julia: A Sociological Case Study, Lenny Foner. Especially the first and last parts.

IntelligentAgents: Theory and Practice, Wooldridge & Jennings (through page 10)

2/18 Micro-Theory Overview IntelligentAgents: Theory and Practice, Wooldridge & Jennings, 1995 Decker
2/20 Macro-Theory Overview Multiagent Systems: A Survey from a Machine Learning Perspective, Stone & Veloso, 1996 Decker
2/25 Decison Theory "Making Simple Decisions," Chapter 16, AI a Modern Approach, Russel & Norvig Carpenter
2/27 Game Theory "Decision Procedures," Ginsburg, in Distributed AI Vol. I, ed. Huhns1987 

Note: This paper didn't work very well. If I do this again, I'd use two of Jeff Rosenschein's papers (Coop w/o Communication, and one other)

3/4 Economic Theory "A Market-Oriented Programming Environment and Its Application to Distributed Multicommodity Flow Problems," Wellman, JAIR ,1993 Murthy
3/6 Intentions "Persistence, Intention, and Commitment," Cohen & Levesque, in Intentions in Communication, eds. Cohen, Morgan, & Pollack, 1990 Harvey
3/11 Intentions 

(guest lecture)

"On Acting Together," Levesque, Cohen, & Nunes, AAAI-90 

"Tracking Dynamic Team Activity," Tambe, AAAI-96

Note: I moved this class up to use our two guest speakers. Normally this material would come after the Grosz & Kraus paper below.

Denny Rock 

Jeff Bradshaw

3/13 Intentions "Collaborative Plans for Group Activities," Grosz & Kraus, IJCAI-93 

For more background and detail, glance at "Collaborative Plans for Complex Group Action," Grosz & Kraus, especially the intro and concluding material. (1995)

3/24 Class is rescheduled for 1:00pm


"KQML as an Agent Communication Language," Finin, McKay, McEntire 1994 

Proposed KQML Specification Document, Labrou (based on the Finin et al. draft) 1996

3/24 Class is rescheduled for 1:00pm


"Communicative Actions for Artificial Agents," Cohen & Levesque, ICMAS-95 

FIPA Agent Communication Language draft spec , 1997

3/25 Negotiation: Contracting "Negotiation as a Metaphor for Distributed Problem Solving," Davis & Smith, Artificial Intelligence 20(1), 1983 Fickelscherer
3/27 Negotiation: Contracting "Issues in Automated Negotiation and Electronic Commerce: Extending the Contract Net Framework," Sandholm ICMAS-95 Carpenter
4/1 Spring Break
4/3 Spring Break
4/8 Negotiation: Game Theoretic Approach "Mechanisms for Automated Negotiation in State-Oriented Domains," Zlotkin & Rosenschein, JAIR 5,1996. Li
4/10 Negotiation: Compromise "A Generic Model for IntelligentNegotiating Agents," Laasri, Laasri, & Lesser, IJICIS 1(2) 1992 Murthy
4/15 Negotiation: Cooperation "Supporting Conflict resolution in Cooperative design Systems," Klein, IEEE-SMC 21(6) 1991. Harvey
4/17 Coordination "Coordination Techniques for DAI," Jennings, in Foundations of DAI, eds. O'Hare & Jennings 1996. Fickelscherer
4/22 Coordination "Partial Global Planning: A Coordination framework for Distributed Hypothesis Formation," Durfee, IEEE-SMC 21(5) 1991. Li
4/24 Coordination "Designing a Family of Coordination Algorithms," Decker, ICMAS-95 Carpenter
4/29 Coordination  "The Automated Mapping of Plans to Belief Networks", Huber, Durfee, & Wellman, DAI Workshop 1994 Decker
5/1 Organization "Organizational Intelligence and DAI," Kirn, in Foundations of DAI, eds. O'Hare & Jennings 1996. Barbour
5/6 Organization "Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory: Perspective and Directions," Carley, Computatoinal and Mathematical Organization Theory 1(1) 1995

NOTE: This paper and the previous one should be done together, in one class.

5/8 Applications Meeting Scheduling 

"An Automated Distributed meeting Scheduler," Sandip Sen, IEEE Expert. Presenter should see me for some more detailed info.

"Multi-agent meeting scheduling: preliminary results" L. Garrido and K. Sycara ICMAS-96

5/13 Applications DVMT: The Distributed Vehicle Monitoring Testbed 

"Coherent Cooperation Among Communicating Problem Solvers," E.H. Durfee, V.R. Lesser, and D.D. Corkill, IEEE TOC 1987

"An approach to analyzing the need for meta-level communication," Decker and Lesser, IJCAI-93, AAAI-93 (combined TR)

NOTE: Yikes! Do these papers on TWO days. We could have profitably spent 3 days in this material!



5/15 Applications ARCHON, Nick Jennings et al., IEEE Expert 12/96.  Barbour
5/20 Applications WARREN 

"Designing Behaviors for Information Agents," Decker, Pannu, Sycara, Williamson. Proc. Int. Conf. on Autonomous Agents, 1997.

"Modeling Information Agents: Advertisements, Organizational Roles, and Dynamic Behavior," Decker, Sycara, Williamson. AAAI-96 Workshop on Agent Modeling.

"Middle-Agents for the Internet", Decker, Sycara, Williamson. To appear, IJCAI-97.

NOTE: some more background on the plan/execution system would have been helpful. Add one of Mike Williamson's papers, probably Unified Information and Control Flow in HTNs.



May 20, 1997