Jennings, N. R., Pople, J. A. and Mamdani, E. H.
Designing a Re-Usable Coordination Module for Cooperative Industrial Control Applications.
IEE Proceedings on Control Theory and Applications, 143, (1), .
Distributed artificial intelligence (DAI) systems, in which multiple agents communicate and co-operate with one another to achieve their individual and collective goals, are a promising enabling technology for constructing large, real world industrial control applications. To facilitate the development of such systems a number of generic DAI frameworks have been devised. These frameworks typically aid the development process by providing a language, a set of structures, and/or some tools with which the necessary infrastructure and support mechanisms for interacting agents can be instantiated. The paper reports on one such framework, called ARCHON, which has been used to build DAI systems in the following industrial control domains: electricity distribution management, electricity transportation management, cement factory control, particle accelerator control and flexible assembly robotic cells. A distinguishing and novel feature of the ARCHON framework is that it extends the level of support offered to the system builder - it provides generic and reusable knowledge about the process of cooperation, in addition to the more standard development facilities. This generic knowledge is embedded in a domain-independent co-ordination module and it is the rationale, design, implementation and evaluation of this module which forms the major contribution of the paper.
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