A Formal Environment Model for Multi-Agent Systems

Paulo Salem da SilvaAna C. V. de Melo

Multi-agent systems are employed to model complex systems which can be decomposed into several interacting pieces called agents. In such systems, agents exist, evolve and interact within an environment. In this paper we present a model for the specification of such environments. This Environment Model for Multi-Agent Systems (EMMAS), as we call it, defines both structural and dynamic aspects of environments. Structurally, EMMAS connects agents by a social network, in which the link between agents is specified as the capability that one agent has to act upon another. Dynamically, EMMAS provides operations that can be composed together in order to create a number of different environmental situations and to respond appropriately to agents' actions. These features are founded on a mathematical model that we provide and that defines rigorously what constitutes an environment. Formality is achieved by employing the ?-calculus process algebra in order to give the semantics of this model. This allows, in particular, a simple characterization of the evolution of the environment structure. Moreover, owing to this formal semantics, it is possible to perform formal analyses on environments thus described. For the sake of illustration, a concrete example of environment specification using EMMAS is also given.

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