Designing a Family of Coordination Agorithms

Keith S. Decker and Victor R. Lesser

Many researchers have shown that there is no single best organization or coordination mechanism for all environments. This paper discusses the design and implementation of an extendable family of coordination mechanisms, called Generalized Partial Global Planning (GPGP), that form a basic set of coordination mechanisms for teams of cooperative computational agents. The important features of this approach include a set of modular coordination mechanisms (any subset or all of which can be used in response to a particular task environment); a general specification of these mechanisms involving the detection and response to certain abstract coordination relationships in the incoming task structure that are not tied to a particular domain; and a separation of the coordination mechanisms from an agent’s local scheduler that allows each to better do the job for which it was designed. We will also discuss the interactions between these mechanisms and how to decide when each mechanism should be used, drawing data from simulation experiments of multiple agent teams working in abstract task environments.

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