A self-adaptation scheme for workflow management in multi-agent systems
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Business processes, operational environment, variability of resources and user needs may change from time to time. An effective workflow management software system must be able to accommodate these changes. The ability to dynamically adapt to changes is a key success factor for workflow management systems. Holonic multi-agent systems (HMS) provide a flexible and reconfigurable architecture to accommodate changes based on dynamic organization and collaboration of autonomous agents. Although HMS provides a potential architecture to accommodate changes, the dynamic organization formed in HMS poses a challenge in the development of a new software development methodology to dynamically compose the services and adapt to changes as needed. This motivates us to study and propose a methodology to design self-adaptive software systems based on the HMS architecture. In this paper, we formulate a workflow adaptation problem (WAP) and propose an interaction mechanism based on contract net protocol (CNP) to find a solution to WAP to compose the services based on HMS. The interaction mechanism relies on a service publication and discovery scheme to find a set of task agents and a set of actor agents to compose the required services in HMS. We propose a viable self-adaptation scheme to reconfigure the agents and the composed services based on cooperation of agents in HMS to accommodate the changes in workflow and capabilities of actors. We propose architecture for our design methodology and present an application scenario to illustrate our idea.
KeywordsWorkflow Holonic system Multi-agent system Self-adaptation Petri nets
This paper is currently supported in part by National Science Council of Taiwan under Grant NSC102-2410-H-324-014-MY3.
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