Autonomous Agents and MultiAgent Systems
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[Conference Themes]
[Important Dates]
[Conference Venues]
[About Bologna]
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Workshop location
Workshops and tutorials will take place on 15th and 16th of July at the
Faculty of Engineering(FacoltÓ di Ingegneria)
of the University of Bologna, in Via Risorgimento 2, just outside of the city centre.

The best way to reach the Faculty of Engineering is to reach Porta Saragozza (at the South-West vertex of the Walls of the Old Town) by taxi, bus (line 20 from the city center, line 32 from the train station), or walking (ten minutes from the city center). Then, climb the hill through Via Risorgimento, find the buildings of the Faculty on the top of the hill, and follows the signs.

All the workshops will be located in the Main and DEIS buildings of the Engineering Faculty. In particular, Rooms 2.3 and 2.4 are located at the second floor of the Main building, while all other rooms are in the DEIS building: Rooms 4.1 and 4.2 are located at the ground floor, Rooms 5.4, 5.5, 5.6 and 5.7 at the first floor, Rooms 6.1 and 6.2 at the second floor, with side entrance at the frst floor, too. Also, please notice that both the DEIS and the Main building of the Engineering Faculty are actually different portions of the same big building, so that attendants can easily move among different tutorials and workshops fast and easily.

Workshop schedule
  15 July 2002   16 July 2002
Room 6.2 4.1 5.6 6.1 5.7 5.5 4.2 2.3 2.4   2.3 2.4 5.4 4.2 6.1 5.6 6.2 5.7
8:30 W1 W2 W3 W4 W5 W6 W7 W8 W9 W10 W11 W12 W13 W14 W15 W16 W17
coffee break
lunch break
coffee break

Workshop details

Agent-Oriented Software Engineering (AOSE 2002)
Over the past three decades, software engineers have derived a progressively better understanding of the characteristics of complexity in software. It is now widely recognised that interaction is probably the most important single characteristic of complex software. Software architectures that contain many dynamically interacting components, each with their own thread of control, and engaging in complex coordination protocols, are typically orders of magnitude more complex to correctly and efficiently engineer than those that simply compute a function of some input through a single thread of control.

Unfortunately, it turns out that many (if not most) real-world applications have precisely these characteristics. As a consequence, a major research topic in computer science over at least the past two decades has been the development of tools and techniques to model, understand, and implement systems in which interaction is the norm. Indeed, many researchers now believe that in future, computation itself will be understood as chiefly as a process of interaction.

Since the 1980s, software agents and multiagent systems have grown into what is now one of the most active areas of research and development activity in computing generally. There are many reasons for the current intensity of interest, but certainly one of the most important is that the concept of an agent as an autonomous system, capable of interacting with other agents in order to satisy its design objectives, is a natural one for software designers. Just as we can understand many systems as being composed of essentially passive objects, which have state, and upon which we can perform operations, so we can understand many others as being made up of interacting, semi-autonomous agents.

This recognition has led to the growth of interest in agents as a new paradigm for software engineering. In this workshop we will seek to examine the credentials of agent-based approaches as a software engineering paradigm, and to gain an insight into what agent-oriented software engineering will look like.

The AOSE-2002 workshop will build on the success of BOTH the AOSE-2000 workshop, held at the ICSE2000 conference in Limerick, Ireland, in June 2000 and the AOSE-2001 workshop held at the Fifth International Conference on Autonomous Agents (Agents 2001). The proceedings of both worskops were formally published by Springer-Verlag, and there are similar plans for AOSE-2002.

Bioinformatics and MAS (BIXMAS 2002)
The purpose of this workshop is to bring together researchers in agents and bioinformatics to discuss the issues and approaches in using multi-agent systems technology for the bioinformatics domain. With the exponential growth of genome data being produced and made available to genetics researchers via the Internet, there exists several challenges to effectively using this information to further genetics and biomedical research. For example, sequence and structural information exists in databases along with various tools distributed throughout the world in various formats, platforms, and levels of curation. Also, new and sometimes conflicting terminology and vocabulary is emerging for phenotyping and for annotating sequences. There exists a need for autonomous and semi-autonomous methods for learning and discovering relational and conceptual knowledge by intelligently combining these distributed data and information sources. In order to harness the benefits of this emerging sea of information, new information technologies and approaches, including multi-agent systems technology, should be used.

Agent Communication Languages and Conversation Policies
Communication in multiagent systems is an important point allowing agents to exchange knowledge and data and to cooperate so as to manage their tasks. The aim of this workshop is to offer the opportunity for research scientists to present the most recent work in this domain. Discussions between participants represent one of the main part of this workshop since close to half of the time for the presentation of accepted papers is reserved for discussion.
This workshop covers all the domains present in communication, from work on agent communication language semantics to new domains of applications like conversational agents and human-agent communication. Traditional subjects are also considered like negotiation, cooperation, coordination, argumentation as well as new approach like dialogue games. Both new theoretical approaches and new applications of theoretical approaches are welcome.

Agentcities: Challenges in Open Agent Environments
The rapid advance of technology efforts such as Web Services, peer-to-peer computing, GRID computing, Global Computing, Digital Cities, the Semantic Web and Agents (see Agentcities) is rapidly taking us towards a world of flexible on-line interactions between diverse, heterogeneous and automated systems. In many ways, such environments represent a "Grand Challenge" for agent technology.
The workshop focuses on the practical deployment and application of agent technologies to large-scale, open, heterogeneous environments. Papers and discussions should address:
  • How can existing agent methods and research be applied to such environments?
  • Are there solutions for use in such environments?
  • What are the most challenging issues (technical, social, legal) to be considered?

Deception, Fraud and Trust in Agent Societies (5th)
The aim of this workshop is to bring together researchers from different fields (AI, MAS, Cognitive Science, Game Theory, Social and Organizational Sciences, and so on) that can contribute to a better understanding of trust, reputation, and deception in agent societies. The workshop will include:
  • A general session on trust; the section scope ranges over all aspects of trust including theoretical results on trust as well as its application in agent applications such as human-computer interaction and electronic commerce.
  • A special track on "Privacy and Protection with MAS" for focusing on the challenges and solutions for the privacy issues associated with agent-based system deployment on the Internet. While some advances have been made in the security area for agent, the needs and solutions for privacy protection have to-date been largely ignored. In essence, agents should not only be able to defend themselves against security attacks, but also be able to control access to and perhaps guarantee the use of the private information entrusted to them.
  • An invited talk by Prof. Michael Bacharach (Director of the Bounded Rationality in Economic Behaviour Unit, Department of Economics, University of Oxford) on "How human trusters assess trustworthiness in ‘quasi-virtual’ contexts".

Toward an Application Science: MAS Problem Spaces and Their Implications to Achieving Globally Coherent Behavior˜wagner/cfps/aamas2002/
Much work in multi-agent systems focuses on coordinating the activities of agents so that the end result approximates the solutions possible if one were to centralize the activities being carried out by the agents. The approach taken to coordination, or even whether coordination is necessary, is often dependent on certain application features. For instance, in supply chain management agents may need to reason about temporal constraints whereas in RoboCup a more reactive coordination approach may be appropriate. In this workshop we will examine the landscape of MAS applications/problem domains and attempt to characterize, classify, and differentiate different problem spaces to understand how problem domains and coordination/control techniques relate.

Teamwork and Coalition Formation
This workshop focuses on teamwork and coalitions. Teamwork research commonly concentrates on tightly coupled groups of agents with a well-defined structure, emphasizing coordination among the agents. In contrast, research on coalitions usually considers loosely coupled groups of self-interested agents that join together for a short time, focusing on group formation. Recent research have seen combinations between these two approaches as well as other inter-disciplinary synergies. In light of these advances, this workshop invites papers on advances in the theoretical foundations, the design, and the applications of multi-agent coalition formation and teamwork systems. A special emphasis will be given on approaches that link studies about (i) human aspects of teamwork and coalitions formation; (ii) rational aspects of teamwork and coalition formation. The workshop will include paper presentations, poster presentations and panel discussions.

Agents and Peer-to-Peer Computing
Peer-to-peer (P2P) computing is currently attracting enormous media attention, spurred by the popularity of file sharing systems such as Napster, Gnutella and Morpheus. The goal of the workshop is to explore new enhanced services in distributed information processing such as structured ways for classifying and registering shared information, verification and certification of information, content distributed schemes and quality of content, security features, and market mechanisms to allow cooperative and non cooperative information exchanges. The P2P paradigm lends itself to examine these issues from the perspective of autonomous and heterogeneous agents endowed with clearly specified and differential capabilities to negotiate, bargain and coordinate the information exchanges in a large scale networks. This workshop will bring together key researchers working on agent systems and P2P computing with the intention of strengthening this connection. Researchers from other related areas such as distributed systems, networks and database systems will also be welcome (and, in our opinion, have a lot to contribute).

Multi-Agent System Simulation (MABS'02)
The MABS 2002 workshop will focus on interactions between societies of artificial agents and human societies. The aim of the workshop, like its predecessors MABS'98 and MABS'00, is still to develop stronger links between those working in social sciences and those involved with multi-agent simulations. Typically, researchers from these disciplines have different points of view on issues such as time-frame, space, geographical scales, organizational levels, etc...
On the other hand, the interest for MABS goes beyond these scientific communities. Several MABS models has been developed and used interactively with other human societies. For instance, research is being done on the interactions between societies of robots and groups of people, and simulations models are developed with stake holders for environmental issues in a participative way, through the Internet or directly on the field. These new approaches lead to new questions on the use of MABS for collective decision making, but also on the conceptual and technical aspects of MABS.
Within this framework of interactions between artificial and human societies, special attention will be given to the conceptual and technical aspects (agent architecture, interaction protocols, simulation platforms, modelling protocols, time and space representation, presentation of simulation results) resulting from these interactions and favouring them. Papers describing applications with examples of such interactions between MABS and society will be welcommed as well as conceptual and epistemological thoughts on the use of MABS as a collective representation.

Following, the list of the AAMAS 2002 workshops that will take place on the 16th July 2002:

Ontologies in Agent Systems (OAS 2002)
The OAS'2002 workshop aims to provide for lively discussion on the issues involved in using ontologies to support interactions between software agents. Particular topics of interest are:
  1. Practical experience and considerations in designing agent-based applications using ontology techniques and the infrastructural support required for their effective use.
  2. Discussion of the dependencies between ontologies, their supporting technologies and other aspects of agent systems such as agent architectures and communication mechanisms.
  3. Comparison of different ontology representation approaches for use in agent systems.
Emphasis will be on the discussion of ontologies with respect to the practical impact they have on agent architecture and application design.

Regulated Agent-Based Social Systems: Theories and Applications (RASTA '02)
Agent Technology is the latest paradigm of software engineering methodology. The development of autonomous, mobile, and intelligent agents brings newchallenges to the field.Agent technologies and multi-agent-systems are one of the most vibrant andactive research areas of computer science. At the same time commercial applications of agents are gaining attention.The construction of artificial (agent) societies leads to questions thatalready have been asked for human societies. Computer Scientists have adopted terms like emerging behavior, self-organization, and evolutionary theory in an intuitive manner. Multi-agent-system researchers have started to developagents with "social" abilities and complex "social" systems. However, most of these systems lack the foundation of the social sciences.It is the intention to bring together researchers from computer science as well as the social sciences who see their common interest in socialtheories for the construction of multi-agent-systems.

Distributed Constraint Reasoning
Distributed Constraint Satisfaction problems arise when pieces of information about variables, constraints or both are relevant to independent but communicating agents. They provide a promising framework to deal with the increasingly diverse range of distributed real world problems emerging from the fast evolution of communication technologies.
The new challenges posed by solving Distributed Constraint Satisfaction Problems are related to meeting privacy requirements, exploiting opportunities for cooperation, and designing conflict resolution strategies. Scientific issues to be discussed at the workshop include: unified frameworks for distributed CSP, algorithms for solving distributed CSP, privacy issues in distributed CSP, negotiation among self-interested agents, distributed constraint propagation and consistency, over-constrained distributed CSP, generation and formulation/modeling of distributed CSP, phase transition in distributed CSP, applications of distributed CSP.
The workshop is interesting for people involved in Constraint Satisfaction or Agents communities.

Security of Mobile Multiagent Systems (SEMAS-2002)
The far reaching influence of the Internet has resulted in an increased interest┬  in agent technologies, which are┬  poised to play a key role in the implementation of successful Internet and WWW-based applications in the future. While there is still considerable hype concerning agent technologies, there is also an increasing awareness of the problems involved. In particular, that these applications will not┬  be successful unless security issues can be adequately handled. Although there is a large body of work on cryptographic techniques that provide basic building-blocks to solve specific security problems, relatively little work has been done in investigating security in the multiagent system context. Related problems are secure communication between agents, implementation of trust models/authentication procedures or even reflections of agents on security mechanisms. The introduction of mobile software agents significantly increases the risks involved in Internet and WWW-based applications. For example, if we allow agents to enter our hosts or private networks, we must offer the agents a platform so that they can execute correctly but at the same time┬  ensure that they will not have deleterious effects on our hosts or┬  any other agents/processes in our network. If we send out mobile agents, we should also be able to provide guarantees about specific aspects of their behaviour, i.e., we are not only interested in whether the agents carry-out their intended task correctly. They┬  must defend themselves against attacks initiated by other agents, and survive in potentially malicious environments. ┬ 
Agent technologies can also be used to┬  support network security. For example in the context of┬  intrusion detection,intelligent┬  guardian agents may┬  be┬  used to implement active protection strategies on a firewall┬  or intelligent monitoring agents can be used to analyse the behaviour of agents migrating through a network. Part of the inspiration for such multi-agent systems comes from primitive animal behaviour, such as that of guardian ants protecting their hill or from biological immune systems.

Embodied Conversational Agents — Let's Specify and Compare Them!
The workshop themes are on the representation and evaluation of multimodal capabilities of embodied conversational characters. In particular, this workshop is concerned with the language and representation format which, metaphorically speaking, bridges between an agent's mind and body.
Agreeing on standard formats is important for sharing work, but another crucial component is evaluation, that is we need to understand how well the goals of a system are being achieved, both in terms of the architecture and in terms of the application.
The workshop will address issues such as the description, semantics and extensibility of representation formats and languages in a system, as well as the requirements for representation formats and a specification / mark-up language.
It will also address the criteria and methodologies to evaluate different aspects (engagement, entertainment, efficiency in learning and usage) of embodied agents as well as the definition of `benchmarks' to compare and evaluate them.

Agent Mediated Electronic Commerce IV: Designing Mechanisms and Systems (AMEC IV)
The design of economic agents, mechanisms, and systems has received growing attention in the agents and multiagent systems communities. Electronic commerce is rich with focused yet challenging problems, ripe for technical advances and practical application of agent technologies. As the domain is characterized by individual agent self-interest and private information, agent mediated trade requires principled design, often incorporating novel combinations of theories from different disciplines. Thus, techniques from fields such as computer science, operations research, artificial intelligence and distributed systems are integrated with principles from economics and game theory. Furthermore, there are challenges to eliciting human preferences and requirements and ensuring that they are represented in automated agent behavior.

Ubiquitous Agents on Embedded, Wearable, and Mobile Devices
The pervasive computing environments of the near future will involve the interactions, coordination and cooperation of numerous, casually accessible, and often invisible computing devices. These devices, whether carried on our person or embedded in our homes, businesses and classrooms, will connect via wireless and wired links to one another and to the global networking infrastructure. The result will be a networking milieu with a new level of openness. The localized and dynamic nature of their interactions raises many new issues that draw on and challenge the disciplines of agents, distributed systems, and security. This one-day workshop will explore the issues and problems which underlie this vision and discuss current work aimed at addressing them.
We seek participants that include researchers engaged in the challenges and opportunities for new and existing research in an open agent environment, developers interested in technical and commercial aspects of the future of agent based mobile devices, infrastructures, applications and services and experts in related areas such as wireless and ad-hoc networking, pervasive computing, mobile devices, mobile services and applications, wireless middleware and infrastructure. The workshop will be based on the presentation of technical papers by attendees and discussion of issues related to the key objectives outlined above. The main topics of interest include:
  • agents and intelligent components for resource limited devices (requirements, porting, downsizing,...)
  • scalable agents and their automatic configuration and adaptation
  • agent persistency and transactions in wireless environments
  • agent communication and coordination in mobile environments
  • agents for and in ad hoc networking environments
  • agent based mobile applications and services
  • location detection and location sensitive services
  • agent security and trust in mobile environments
  • agent infrastructures / platforms for mobile and dynamic environments, agent management
  • context aware agents
  • agent-oriented sensor networks and sensor fusion
  • intelligent interfaces for hand held devices
  • agent-based service discovery, matching and composition for ad hoc networks
  • adaptive agents, personalization, profiling, and learning in mobile environments
  • design approaches dealing with reliability, efficiency, and fault tolerance
  • agents for wearable computing
  • test beds and development environments, e.g. for m-commerce, location-based applications, m-services, etc.

Agent Oriented Information Systems (AOIS-2002)
Agent-Orientation is emerging as a powerful new paradigm in computing. Concepts and techniques from the agents paradigm could well be the foundations for the next generation of mainstream information systems.
Information systems have become the backbone of all kinds of organizations today. In almost every sector - manufacturing, education, health care, government, and businesses large and small - information systems are relied upon for everyday work, communication, information gathering, and decision-making. Yet the inflexibilities in current technologies and methods have also resulted in poor performance, incompatibilities, and obstacles to change. As many organizations are reinventing themselves to meet the challenges of global competition and e-commerce, there is increasing pressure to develop and deploy new technologies that are flexible, robust, and responsive to rapid and unexpected change.
Agent concepts hold great promise for responding to the new realities of information systems. They offer higher level abstractions and mechanisms which address issues such as knowledge representation and reasoning, communication, coordination, cooperation among heterogeneous and autonomous parties, perception, commitments, goals, beliefs, intentions, etc. On the one hand, the concrete implementation of these concepts can lead to advanced functionalities, e.g., in inference-based query answering, transaction control, adaptive workflows, brokering and integration of disparate information sources, and automated communication processes. On the other, their rich representational capabilities allow more faithful and flexible treatments of complex organizational processes, leading to more effective requirements analysis, and architectural/detailed design. The workshop will focus on how agent concepts and techniques will contribute to meeting information systems needs today and tomorrow.
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