Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 432–456

Artifacts in the A&A meta-model for multi-agent systems


DOI: 10.1007/s10458-008-9053-x

Cite this article as:
Omicini, A., Ricci, A. & Viroli, M. Auton Agent Multi-Agent Syst (2008) 17: 432. doi:10.1007/s10458-008-9053-x


In this article we focus on the notion of artifact for agents in multi-agent systems (MAS) as a basis for a new meta-model promoting the modelling and engineering of agent societies and MAS environment as first-class entities. Its conceptual foundations lay upon theories and results coming from computational sciences as well as from organisational and cognitive sciences, psychology, computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), anthropology and ethology. In the resulting agents & artifacts (A&A) meta-model, agents are the (pro-)active entities in charge of the goals/tasks that altogether build up the whole MAS behaviour, whereas artifacts are the reactive entities providing the services and functions that make individual agents work together in a MAS, and that shape agent environment according to the MAS needs. After presenting the scientific background, we define the notions of artifact in the A&A meta-model, discuss how it affects the notion of intelligence in MAS, and show its application to a number of agent-related research fields.


ArtifactA&A meta-modelMAS environmentActivity theoryDistributed cognitionCoordinationAgent intelligenceAgent-oriented software engineering (AOSE)MAS infrastructure

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Omicini
    • 1
  • Alessandro Ricci
    • 1
  • Mirko Viroli
    • 1
  1. 1.Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di BolognaCesenaItaly