Three years ago, we initiated an ambitious, long-term effort to develop a generic architecture for large-scale distributed real-time situation assessment systems. Significant progress has been made toward this goal through the development of the major components that are necessary for such an architecture and through the investigation of approaches for formally analyzing DSA systems and applications. We see the key issues as how to organize both local agent and network-wide problem solving so that the agents can cooperate effectively to produce answers of appropriate quality within fixed deadlines, using limited communication bandwidth, and have their performance degrade gracefully as sensors, communication links, and processors fail.
Our recent work has emphasized the development of an agent model that can support sophisticated coordination strategies in the context of real-time constraints. The task database maintains a representation of the local agent's tasks and the tasks of other agents, with information about the relations among the tasks. Local task information is provided by the interpretation system module, which is also reponsible for low-level control decisions, or when there are no relevant task relationships (subproblem interactions) or real-time constraints. When there are relevant task relationships and real-time constraints, the real-time scheduler uses the task information and interacts with the interpretation module to select appropriate tasks/actions. We are currently working on the integration of the interpretation module with the other modules and expect the further development of this model will be an important focus of continued research.
This project encompasses several subprojects:
Additional relevant information may be found from: The Distributed Artificial Intelligence Group at UMass.
"Sophisticated Cooperation in FA/C Distributed Problem Solving Systems," N. Carver and V. Lesser, Proceedings of AAAI-91, 191--198, 1991 (also available as Technical Report 91-23, Department of Computer Science, University of Massachusetts).
Norman Carver's home page.