MULTI AGENT SYSTEMS

overview

A agent is a metaphorical term that is used to describe a software unit that does 'something' on-behalf of someone or something else. Just as you may have a human travel agent that arranges holidays on-behalf of other people, one may choose to design a software to do similar job, and this software can be referred to as an agent. A collection of these 'intelligent agents' working together towards a common goal constitute a multi agent system.

This means that each agent is designed to have not only autonomous capabilities but also co-operative and collaborative capabilities. Autonomy means that an agent can make decisions on its own and is also able to respond effectively to unforeseen events and able to adapt flexibly to changes in its environment while working towards its goals. Collaboritive capabilities enable agents within a mulit-agent system to work as a team towards the overall goal of the system that they represent.

Due to these capabilities of agents, they are very suitable for modelling distributed systems such manufacturing systems and supply chains. In a manufacturing system, for instance, they can be used to represent each resource and/or each product - the idea is that the agents representing the products can work together with agents representing manufacturing resources to plan and execute work in the most efficient and effective way while at the same time dealing with unforeseen disturbances that may occur.

areas of focus

Modelling and Simulation

My research interest in this seeks to investigate the most appropriate way to utilise multi-agent system to model, simulate, optimise and control distributed systems such as supply chains and logistics networks; transport networks; and manufacturing systems.

Decision Support

In addition to the capabilities of agents described, agents are also seen as knowledge based entities and my interest in this area is in researching how can the capabilities of multi-agents systems can be utilised to support process improvements efforts. For instance agents could be used to provide knowledge support, data analysis etc.

Are you interested in these areas of research?

I would like to hear from you if you are interested in these research areas or other related areas of research - whether you are a potential PhD student, a researcher, a lecturer, a company representative - please feel free to contact me.

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