Cooperative Multi-Agent Intelligent Field Terminals for Distributed Control Systems

Juichi KOSAKAYA  Katsunori YAMAOKA  Ryuji SUGITA  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Fundamentals of Electronics, Communications and Computer Sciences   Vol.E83-A   No.11   pp.2264-2277
Publication Date: 2000/11/25
Online ISSN: 
Print ISSN: 0916-8508
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on Concurrent Systems Technology)
intelligent field terminal,  multi-agent,  cooperation,  conflict,  control parameter,  

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We have developed a new method to improve cooperation in concurrent systems for distributed control by using multi-agent (MA) functions. Since field terminals (FTs) work concurrently, cooperation among them is essential to the effectiveness and efficiency of the overall system. When FTs are modeled as agents, it is easy to explicitly deal with the interactions among them because those interactions can be modeled naturally as communication among agents with cooperation and negotiation. In conventional central control systems, the host computer supervises and controls all FTs in accordance with a pre-installed control algorithm. Our method instead uses intelligent field terminals (IFTs) that can evaluate the diverse information from devices of other IFTs autonomously. In the work reported here, we have evaluated the effectiveness and efficiency of our cooperative control method experimentally and have developed a system using this method to control various kinds of water delivery systems. The IFT providing MA functions that can evaluate the control parameters (CPs) and conditions of the other IFTs. If turn-around time is to be shortened, the conflicts that occur when the data processed by different IFTs is inconsistent or irregular must be resolved autonomously. Each IFT therefore cooperates with diverse functional agents (FA)s of other IFTs by using priority levels, conditions, and evaluation points in order to maintain the continuity of water delivery.