Robust design of multi-agent system interactions: A testing approach based on pattern matching

Celia Gutierrez, Iván García-Magariño, Emilio Serrano & Juan Botía. (2013). Robust design of multi-agent system interactions: A testing approach based on pattern matching. Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence, 26 (9), 2093 - 2104.

Abstract:
The definition of protocols between agents is not enough for guaranteeing the absence of undesirable communication in organizations and the presence of desirable ones in large multi-agent systems (MASs). This is a consequence of the complex system nature of MASs, which cause sophisticated behaviors to arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions among the independent agents composing them. With this motivation, this paper presents an approach for testing communication in MAS architectures. In this approach, designers are not only recommended to specify the desired communication protocols, but also the undesired patterns and organization structures in the agents’ communications, allowing designers to define robust communication structures. For this purpose, this work presents (1) a language to define such patterns; (2) a set of already defined desired and undesired patterns which usually appear in general MASs; (3) a tool that allows developers to automatically detect these patterns in logs of MAS executions; and (4) a guideline that takes developers through the testing of the communications in MASs. The current approach is experienced with a case study, and the results show that the application of the current approach and the suppression of detected undesired patterns improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the corresponding MAS.