/Communication Efficiency in Multi-agent Systems

Communication Efficiency in Multi-agent Systems

Mary Koes, Illah Nourbakhsh and Katia Sycara
Conference Paper, Proceedings of ICRA 2004, Vol. 3, pp. 2129 - 2134, May, 2004

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Despite the growing number of multi-agent software systems, relatively few physical systems have adopted multi-agent systems technology. Agents that interact with a dynamic physical environment have requirements not shared by virtual agents, including the need to transfer information about the world and their interaction with it. The agent communication languages proven successful in software based multi-agent systems incur overheads that make them impractical or infeasible for the transfer of low level data. Instead, real world systems typically employ application specific protocols to transfer video, audio, sensory, or telemetry data. These protocols lack the transparency and portability of formal agent communication languages and consequently are limited in their scalability. We propose augmenting the capabilities of current multi-agent systems to provide for the efficient transfer of low level information, by allowing backchannels of communication between agents with flexible protocols in a carefully principled way. We show that this extension can yield significant performance increases in communication efficiency and discuss the benefits of incorporating backchannels into a search a rescue robot system.

BibTeX Reference
author = {Mary Koes and Illah Nourbakhsh and Katia Sycara},
title = {Communication Efficiency in Multi-agent Systems},
booktitle = {Proceedings of ICRA 2004},
year = {2004},
month = {May},
volume = {3},
pages = {2129 - 2134},