Engineering Coordination

A Methodology for the Coordination of Planning Systems


Schumann, R.

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To solve complex real-world search and optimization problems it is a common strategy to divide the problem into different sub-problems. A consequence of this divide and conquer approach is the appearance of interdependencies between the sub-problems, that makes coordination necessary.

The field of coordination is investigated by researchers from different areas. An important result of this research is that there exists no universal coordination  method. Consequently, a suitable coordination mechanism has to be identified for each single coordination problem. This book presents the ECo process, which is the first approach that addresses this selection problem. Coordination mechanism have to respect the context in which the coordination has to performed. This is encoded in coordination requirements that guide the selection process. Additionally, a new classification scheme is presented to efficiently pre-select coordination mechanisms. The coordination mechanisms are classified according to these classification scheme that indicate the characteristics for re-use of a coordination mechanism. The implementation of coordination mechanisms is supported by the CoPS process and framework. The CoPS process structures the decision making during the implementation phase. The CoPS framework provides a set of basic functionality to implement coordination methods among software agents.

Within the CoPS process, techniques are presented for the design and implementation of conversations between agents. These techniques are not limited to the design of coordination mechanisms, but for multiagent systems in general.

The Eco-CoPS approach has been successfully validated in two case studies from the logistic domain.

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