, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 49-60
Date: 01 Aug 2006

Infrastructures for the environment of multiagent systems

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The notion of environment is receiving an increasing attention in the development of multiagent applications. This is witnessed by the emergence of a number of infrastructures providing agent designers with useful means to develop the agent environment, and thus to structure an effective multiagent application. In this paper we analyse the role and features of such infrastructures, and survey some relevant examples. We endorse a general viewpoint where the environment of a multiagent system is seen as a set of basic bricks we call environment abstractions, which (i) provide agents with services useful for achieving individual and social goals, and (ii) are supported by some underlying software infrastructure managing their creation and exploitation. Accordingly, we focus the survey on the opportunities that environment infrastructures provide to system designers when developing multiagent applications.