A Cooperation Method via Metaphor of Explanation

Tetsuya YOSHIDA  Koichi HORI  Shinichi NAKASUKA  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Fundamentals of Electronics, Communications and Computer Sciences   Vol.E81-A   No.4   pp.576-585
Publication Date: 1998/04/25
Online ISSN: 
Print ISSN: 0916-8508
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on Concurrent Systems Technology)
multi-agent system,  cooperation,   comment,  annotation,  satellite design,  

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This paper proposes a new method to improve cooperation in concurrent systems within the framework of Multi-Agent Systems (MAS). Since subsystems work concurrently, achieving appropriate cooperation among them is important to improve the effectiveness of the overall system. When subsystems are modeled as agents, it is easy to explicitly deal with the interactions among them since they can be modeled naturally as communication among agents with intended information. Contrary to previous approaches which provided the syntax of communication protocols without semantics, we focus on the semantics of cooperation in MAS and aim at allowing agents to exploit the communicated information for cooperation. This is attempted by utilizing more coarse-grained communication based on the different perspective for the balance between formality and richness of communication contents so that each piece of communication contents can convey more meaningful information in application domains. In our approach agents cooperate each other by giving feedbacks based on the metaphor of explanation which is widely used in human interactions, in contrast to previous approaches which use direct orders given by the leader based on the pre-defined cooperation strategies. Agents show the difference between the proposal and counter-proposals for it, which are constructed with respect to the former and given as the feedbacks in the easily understandable terms for the receiver. From the comparison of proposals agents retrieve the information on which parts are agreed and disagreed by the relevant agents, and reflect the analysis in their following behavior. Furthermore, communication contents are annotated by agents to indicate the degree of importance in decision making for them, which contributes to making explanations or feedbacks more understandable. Our cooperation method was examined through experiments on the design of micro satellites and the result showed that it was effective to some extent to facilitate cooperation among agents.