The Impact of Locality and Authority on Emergent Conventions: Initial Observations

James E. Kittock

In the design of systems of multiple agents, we must deal with the potential for conflict that is inherent in the interactions among agents; to ensure efficient operation, these interactions must be coordinated. We extend, in two related ways, an existing framework that allows behavioral conventions to emerge in agent societies. We first consider localizing agents, thus limiting their interactions. We then consider giving some agents authority over others by implementing asymmetric interactions. Our primary interest is to explore how locality and authority affect the emergence of conventions. Through computer simulations of agent societies of various configurations, we begin to develop an intuition about what features of a society promote or inhibit the spontaneous generation of coordinating conventions.


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