Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 253–283 | Cite as

Challenges and Research Directions in Agent-Oriented Software Engineering

  • Franco Zambonelli
  • Andrea Omicini


Agent-based computing is a promising approach for developing applications in complex domains. However, despite the great deal of research in the area, a number of challenges still need to be faced (i) to make agent-based computing a widely accepted paradigm in software engineering practice, and (ii) to turn agent-oriented software abstractions into practical tools for facing the complexity of modern application areas. In this paper, after a short introduction to the key concepts of agent-based computing (as they pertain to software engineering), we characterise the emerging key issues in multiagent systems (MASs) engineering. In particular, we show that such issues can be analysed in terms of three different “scales of observation”, i.e., in analogy with the scales of observation of physical phenomena, in terms of micro, macro, and meso scales. Based on this characterisation, we discuss, for each scale of observation, what are the peculiar engineering issues arising, the key research challenges to be solved, and the most promising research directions to be explored in the future.

multiagent systems agent-oriented software engineering intelligence engineering self-organisation 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Franco Zambonelli
    • 1
  • Andrea Omicini
    • 2
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze e Metodi dell'Ingegneria (DISMI)Università di Modena e Reggio EmiliaReggio EmiliaItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Elettronica Informatica e Sistemistica (DEIS)Università di Bologna a Cesena, Via Venezia 52, 47023 CesenaItaly

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