Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 432–456 | Cite as

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

  • Andrea Omicini
  • Alessandro Ricci
  • Mirko ViroliEmail author


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.


Artifact A&A meta-model MAS environment Activity theory Distributed cognition Coordination Agent intelligence Agent-oriented software engineering (AOSE) MAS infrastructure 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

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

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