Design-World: A Testbed of Communicative Action and Resource Limits

Marilyn A. Walker and Pamela Jordan

Design-World is a simulation testbed developed in order to support experiments on the relationship of communicative action to agents’ processing limitations. This testbed can be used as a tool for teaching both technical and methodological concepts in AI. On the technical side, running Design-World experiments introduces the student to concepts of dialogue and how it is structured, natural language generation and planning communicative acts, multi-agent collaboration as a team during problem-solving, and the effect of cognitive processing limitations on agent action. On the methodology side, Design-World introduces concepts in experimental AI, such as forming and testing a hypothesis via simulation experiments, methods for evaluating statistical significance of simulations run with different parameter settings, and the role and limitations of simulation testbeds in AI theory development.

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