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An Introduction to MultiAgent Systems, 2nd Edition

June 2009, ©2009
An Introduction to MultiAgent Systems, 2nd Edition (EHEP002158) cover image
The study of multi-agent systems (MAS) focuses on systems in which many intelligent agents interact with each other.  These agents are considered to be autonomous entities such as software programs or robots.  Their interactions can either be cooperative (for example as in an ant colony) or selfish (as in a free market economy).  This book assumes only basic knowledge of algorithms and discrete maths, both of which are taught as standard in the first or second year of computer science degree programmes.  A basic knowledge of artificial intelligence would useful to help understand some of the issues, but is not essential.

The book’s main aims are:

  • To introduce the student to the concept of agents and multi-agent systems, and the main applications for which they are appropriate
  • To introduce the main issues surrounding the design of intelligent agents
  • To introduce the main issues surrounding the design of a multi-agent society
  • To introduce a number of typical applications for agent technology

After reading the book the student should understand:

  • The notion of an agent, how agents are distinct from other software paradigms (e.g. objects) and the characteristics of applications that lend themselves to agent-oriented software
  • The key issues associated with constructing agents capable of intelligent autonomous action and the main approaches taken to developing such agents
  • The key issues in designing societies of agents that can effectively cooperate in order to solve problems, including an understanding of the key types of multi-agent interactions possible in such systems
  • The main application areas of agent-based systems
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Part I Setting the Scene.

1 Introduction.

1.1 The Vision Thing.

1.2 Some Views of the Field.

1.3 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

Part II Intelligent Autonomous Agents.

2 Intelligent Agents.

2.1 Intelligent Agents.

2.2 Agents and Objects.

2.3 Agents and Expert Systems.

2.4 Agents as Intentional Systems.

2.5 Abstract Architectures for Intelligent Agents.

2.6 How to Tell an Agent What to Do.

3 Deductive Reasoning Agents.

3.1 Agents as Theorem Provers.

3.2 Agent-Oriented Programming.

3.3 Concurrent MetateM.

4 Practical Reasoning Agents.

4.1 Practical Reasoning=Deliberation+Means-Ends Reasoning.

4.2 Means-Ends Reasoning.

4.3 Implementing a Practical Reasoning Agent.

4.4 The Procedural Reasoning System.

5 Reactive and Hybrid Agents.

5.1 Reactive Agents.

5.2 Hybrid Agents.

Part III Communication and Cooperation.

6 Understanding Each Other.

6.1 Ontology Fundamentals.

6.2 Ontology Languages.

6.3 RDF.

6.4 Constructing an Ontology.

6.5 Software Tools for Ontologies.

7 Communicating.

7.1 Speech Acts.

7.2 Agent Communication Languages.

8 Working Together.

8.1 Cooperative Distributed Problem Solving.

8.2 Task Sharing and Result Sharing.

8.3 Result Sharing.

8.4 Combining Task and Result Sharing.

8.5 Handling Inconsistency.

8.6 Coordination.

8.7 Multiagent Planning and Synchronization.

9 Methodologies.

9.1 When is an Agent-Based Solution Appropriate?

9.2 Agent-Oriented Analysis and Design.

9.3 Pitfalls of Agent Development.

9.4 Mobile Agents.

10 Applications.

10.1 Agents for Workflow and Business Process Management.

10.2 Agents for Distributed Sensing.

10.3 Agents for Information Retrieval and Management.

10.4 Agents for Electronic Commerce.

10.5 Agents for Human-Computer Interfaces.

10.6 Agents for Virtual Environments.

10.7 Agents for Social Simulation.

10.8 Agents for X.

Part IV Multiagent Decision Making.

11 Multiagent Interactions.

11.1 Utilities and Preferences.

11.2 Setting the Scene.

11.3 Solution Concepts and Solution Properties.

11.4 Competitive and Zero-Sum Interactions.

11.5 The Prisoner’s Dilemma.

11.6 Other Symmetric 2 x 2 Interactions.

11.7 Representing Multiagent Scenarios.

11.8 Dependence Relations in Multiagent Systems.

12 Making Group Decisions.

12.1 Social Welfare Functions and Social Choice Functions.

12.2 Voting Procedures.

12.3 Desirable Properties for Voting Procedures.

12.4 Strategic Manipulation.

13 Forming Coalitions.

13.1 Cooperative Games.

13.2 Computational and Representational Issues.

13.3 Modular Representations.

13.4 Representations for Simple Games.

13.5 Coalitional Games with Goals.

13.6 Coalition Structure Formation.

14 Allocating Scarce Resources.

14.1 Classifying Auctions.

14.2 Auctions for Single Items.

14.3 Combinatorial Auctions.

14.4 Auctions in Practice.

15 Bargaining.

15.1 Negotiation Parameters.

15.2 Bargaining for Resource Division.

15.3 Bargaining for Task Allocation.

15.4 Bargaining for Resource Allocation.

16 Arguing.

16.1 Types of Argument.

16.2 Abstract Argumentation.

16.3 Deductive Argumentation Systems.

16.4 Dialogue Systems.

16.5 Implemented Argumentation Systems.

17 Logical Foundations.

17.1 Logics for Knowledge and Belief.

17.2 Logics for Mental States.

17.3 Logics for Cooperation.

17.4 Putting Logic to Work.

Part V Coda.

A. A History Lesson.

B. Afterword.

Glossary of Key Terms.



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Michael Wooldridge is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Liverpool, UK. He obtained his PhD in 1992 for work in the theory of multiagent systems and has, since then, been active in multiagent systems research.
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  • Completely revised and updated - with 5 new chapters.
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  • Completely revised and updated with 5 new chapters.
  • Wooldridge is a leading authority in the field and edits Wiley's 'Agent Technology' series.
  • One of the first books designed for this undergraduate course – and has become one of the market leaders.

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“Nevertheless, despite these minor issues, this book is highly recommended to all socio-economic agent-based modellers, beginners or otherwise. Wooldridge’s scope, rigor, and well-respected experience at the current coalface means there’s plenty in here of interest for old-timers, while beginners can skip some of the maths and more bleeding-edge theory and concentrate easily on the implementation without loosing much.”  (Appl. Spatial Analysis, 2011)


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Wiley E-Text   
An Introduction to MultiAgent Systems, 2nd Edition
ISBN : 978EUDTE00553
484 pages
July 2011, ©2009
$52.00   BUY

An Introduction to MultiAgent Systems, 2nd Edition
ISBN : 978-0-470-51946-2
484 pages
June 2009, ©2009
$62.95   BUY

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