What used to be my fun side projects has quickly become my job. I’d like to continue that cycle by finding new side projects that are fun and challenging. I also like to find projects that I actually think would be something new and interesting that people would appreciate. An idea came to me recently that brought together a lot of past ideas in a new light. When I did some research on it I discovered that that topic area is called “Multi-Agent Systems” or “Agent Based Systems” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-agent_system
What is it?
Agent based systems have multiple independent entities called agents that can communicate / and cooperate. I was happy to find that there are some applications that exist to do simulations and modeling: http://www.cs.gmu.edu/~eclab/projects/mason/ and some standards on programming these systems: http://jason.sourceforge.net/JasonWebSite/Jason%20Home.php
The appeal is obvious. This approach is not very well developed in computing and robotics. Communications between systems (agents) are plentiful and always improving. Like with people, multiple systems working together can be much more powerful than thier simple sum.
A new implementation!
All of the multi agent systems modeling apps I found are in Java, I’m starting my project in ActionScript. I plan on extending portions of it to use AIR as well. I like Actionscript due to its natural abilities to communicate and be visual. One of the main focuses of my implementation of the agent based model will be on the monitoring, management, and repair of the complex systems. Even in small Agent implementations that are just for a fancy presentation it’s interesting to see the number agents, their status, type etc.
I won’t type out all of my ideas here. I wanted to just put in a quick note on the subject in case any of my colleagues would be interested in sending me tidbits in this area or following my progress. The new projects will start out at http://AgentBasedSystems.com