Suited to distributed implementation, multi-agent systems offer the possibility of directly representing the individual components of an intelligent system; its autonomous behaviour and interactions with other system components [Murch 1998]. Specialist behaviour encapsulated within an agent gives it the ability to adapt, interact, and evolve within the environment in which it exists. If multiple agents are hosted on independent computers within the same network, inter-agent communication is used to achieve interaction and collaboration.
Traditionally, blackboard architectures have emerged as a suitable host platform for multi-agent implementations [Jufeng 2004]. A blackboard architecture is a form of distributed Artificial Intelligence based on the analogy of a group of experts working together to solve a common problem. In general, these architectures consist of three distinct components including a blackboard, expert or agent modules, and a communications control unit. The blackboard itself represents an area of shared-memory where the experts or agents store and retrieve information.
Unfortunately, distributed blackboard architectures often represent bespoke software that can be removed from service sporadically as an institutes research direction changes. Fortunately, the core functionality provided by vendor maintained grid engine software such as Oracle Grid Engine [OGE 2017] and Son of Grid Engine [SGE 2017] closely match that of distributed blackboard architectures.
The aim of this project will be to determine the practicality of employing an off-the-shelf grid engine as a host for multi-agent systems. It will also investigate system redundancy in the event of hardware failure and the viability of broadcast, agent-to-agent and other communication models.
Murch, R. and Johnson, J. Intelligent Software Agents, Prentice Hall, USA, 1998.
Jufeng, W. Hancheng, X. Xiang, L. and Jingping, Y. Multi-agent Based Distributed Control System for an Intelligent Robot, Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Services Computing (SCC’04), 2004, 633-637.
OGE, Oracle Grid Engine, Available at: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oracle_Grid_Engine>
SGE, Sun Grid Engine, Available at: <https://arc.liv.ac.uk/trac/SGE>
Informal enquiries should be directed to: Dr Roger Tait (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Duration: 36 Months
Full/Part Time: Full Time