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Without writing too much about the efforts for the development of a Multi-Agent System (MAS) or a Multi-Agent based Simulation (MABS), we would like to list some important aspects that are related to the tools and interfaces that we are providing with our Agent.GUI framework and toolkit.

Assuming that a developer has to start from the scratch, the image below gives a systematic overview of the software components that need to be developed in order to make a MAS or MABS usable for end users.

 

Therefore the necessary components are:

  • the agents or types of agents
  • the interaction, collaboration and negotiation of agents
  • individual data models, as for example ontologies
  • a model of the environment or - for MABS - the virtual environment
  • the bidirectional interaction methods between agents and environment
  • the MAS/MABS scheduling, if needed: e.g. by using synchronisation mechanisms, time models or others
  • an agent platform, which is JADE in our case
  • mechanisms that allow the automated distribution of agents over different computers or machines
  • mechanisms for the static and/or dynamic load balancing and its measurements
  • a graphical user interface (GUI) for the end user functionalities

The green area marks the sections where Agent.GUI wants to support you. - How? That needs to be explained step by step and we hope that we can do that in a good, useful and understandable way. The table below gives you an overview about the related topics and the tutorials we want to provide. It also links to the respective major classes, which are used for the implementation of the corresponding functionalities. In addition, we added the points ‘Plugins’ and ‘external Java jar-resources’ to the table.

Before you start with your own developments it should be clear that Agent.GUI is based on the JADE agent platform and that a slightly advanced knowledge about JADE is necessary; for example about base classes, like agents, possible agent behaviours, messaging, protocols or the concept of node services. In order to get an introduction into the mentioned topics, we recommend a visit of the JADE website and the consultation of the available JADE tutorials. Another good alternative is also the well written JADE book (can also be found on the JADE site).

By using Agent.GUI and in contrast to JADE, you don’t have to use complex command-line arithmetic to start your agents. Just starting Agent.GUI and binding your binary resources to your agent project will already allow you to start agents in several ways. Here a first simple example is given in the tutorial for the IDE integration (see point 11 and subsequent points).

Tutorial Overview

Topic

Related classes

Configuration

Tutorial

- Agents

see JADE tutorials,

ToDo

ToDo

- Interaction, Collaboration
and Negotiation

see JADE tutorials
and further literature

-

ToDo

- External *.jar-resources

Project, VectorOfProjectResources
ClassLoaderUtil

ToDo

ToDo

- Plugins

Project, PlugIn

ToDo

ToDo

- Extendable GUI

Project, PlugIn, MainWindow

ToDo

ToDo

- Ontologies

Project, OntologyVisualisationHelper,
OntologyInstanceViewer,
OntologyInstanceDialog

Use Protégé,
Project Configuration

ToDo

- Environment Model

EnvironmentType, ProjectEnvironmentController, EnvironmentModel,

ToDo

ToDo

- Agent-Environment interaction

SimulationService, SimulationManagerAgent, SimulationServiceBehaviour, SimulationAgent

ToDo

ToDo

- Scheduling

SimulationService, EnvironmentModel, TimeModel

ToDo

ToDo

- Distribution

LoadService,

Background system

ToDo

- Load balancing

LoadService,

ToDo

ToDo


For a rough overview about the internal structure of Agent.GUI we recommend to look at the following descriptions:



 
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