Modelling Mobility and Mobile Agents Using Nets within Nets

  • Michael Köhler
  • Daniel Moldt
  • Heiko Rölke
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2679)


Mobility creates a new challenge for dynamic systems in all phases of the life cycle, like modelling, execution, and verification. In this work we apply the paradigm of “nets within nets” to this area since it is well suited to express the dynamics of open, mobile systems. The advantages of Petri nets — intuitive graphical representation and formal semantics — are retained and supplemented with a uniform way to model mobility and mobile (agent) systems.

First the modelling of mobility is introduced in general, the results are carried forward to model mobility in the area of agent systems. The usefulness of the approach is shown in a second step by modelling a small case study, the implementation of a household robot system.


agent high-level Petri nets mobile agent system mobility Mulan nets within nets Renew 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Andrea Asperti and Nadia Busi. Mobile Petri nets. Technical report, Department of computer science, University of Bologna, TR UBLCS-96-10, 1996.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Jean-Pierre Briot, Walter Merlat, and Min-Jung Yoo. Modelling and validation of mobile agents on the web. In 1998 International Conference on Web-based Modeling and Simulation, pages 23–28, 1998.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Lorenzo Bettini and Rocco De Nicola. Translating strong mobility into weak mobility. In Gian Pietro Picco (Ed.), Mobile Agents. 5 th International Conference, MA 2001, Atlanta. Proceedings, volume 2240 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, page 182 pp., Springer Verlag, Berlin, 2001.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bernhard Bauer, James Odell, and H. van Dyke Parunak. Extending UML for Agents. In Proceeding of Agent-Oriented Information Systems Workshop, pages 3–17, 2000.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Luca Cardelli, Andrew D. Gordon, and Giorgio Ghelli. Ambient groups and mobility types. Technical report, Microsoft Research and University of Pisa, 2000.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Søren Christensen and Niels Damgaard Hansen. Coloured Petri nets extended with channels for synchronous communication. In Robert Valette (Ed.), Application and Theory of Petri Nets 1994, Proc. of 15th Intern. Conf. Zaragoza, Spain, June 1994, LNCS, pages 159–178, Springer Verlag, Berlin, June 1994.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    W. Chainbi, C. Hanachi, and C. Sibertin-Blanc. The multi-agent prey/predator problem: A Petri net solution. In Borne, P., Gentina, J.C., Craye, E., and El Khattabi, S. (Eds.), Proceedings of the CESA’96 Conference, Computational Engineering in Systems Applications, Lille, France, pages 291–299. IEEE Society Press, July 1996.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    G. Cabri, L. Leonardi, and F. Zambonelli. Weak and strong mobility in mobile agent applications. In Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference and Exhibition on The Practical Application of Java (PA JAVA 2000), Manchester (UK), April 2000.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Marco Cremonini, Andrea Omicini, and Franco Zambonelli. Modelling network topology and mobile agent interaction: An integrated framework. In Proceedings of the 1999 ACM Symposium on Applied Computing (SAC’99), 1999.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Michael Duvigneau, Daniel Moldt, and Heiko Rölke. Concurrent architecture for a multi-agent platform. In Proceedings of the 2002 Workshop on Agent Oriented Software Engineering (AOSE’02), volume 2585 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Springer Verlag, Berlin, 2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Michael Duvigneau. Bereitstellung einer Agentenplattform für petrinetzbasierte Agenten. Master’s thesis, University of Hamburg, Computer Science Department, Germany, 2002.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Joao M. Fernandes and Orlando Belo. Modeling Multi-Agent Systems Activities Through Colored Petri Nets. In 16th IASTED International Conference on Applied Infomatics (AI’98), pages 17–20, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, Feb. 1998.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Jaques Ferber. Multi-Agent Systems: An Introduction to Distributed Artificial Intelligence. Addison Wesley Longman, Harlow, UK, 1999.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Jaques Ferber and Oliver Gutknecht. A meta-model for the analysis and design of organization in multi-agent systems. In Proc. of ICMAS, 1998.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Foundation for Intelligent Physical Agents. FIPA Agent Management Support for Mobility Specification, 30. June 2000. Available at Scholar
  16. 16.
    Martin Fowler. Analysis patterns: reusable object models. Addison-Wesley series in object-oriented software engineering. Addison-Wesley, 1997.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Gustavo M. Gois, Angelo Perkusich, Jorge C. A. de Figueiredo, and Evandro B. Costa. Towards a multi-agent interactive learning environment oriented to the Petri net domain. In Proc. IEEE Int. Conf. on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics (SMC’98), 11–14 October 1998, San Diego, USA, pages 250–255, October 1998.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    OMG (Object Management Group). MASIF — Multi Agent System Interoperability Facility. Technical report, OMG, 1998.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Jarle Hulaas and Didier Buchs. An experiment with coordinated algebraic Petri nets as formalism for modeling mobile agents. In Workshop on Modelling of Objects, Components, and Agents (MOCA’01) / Daniel Moldt (Ed.), pages 73–84. DAIMI PB-553, Aarhus University, August 2001.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Kurt Jensen. Coloured Petri nets, Basic Methods, Analysis Methods and Practical Use, volume 1 of EATCS monographs on theoretical computer science. Springer Verlag, Berlin, 1992.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Michael Köhler, Daniel Moldt, and Heiko Rölke. Modelling the structure and behaviour of Petri net agents. In J.M. Colom and M. Koutny (Eds.), Proceedings of the 22nd Conference on Application and Theory of Petri Nets, volume 2075 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages 224–241. Springer Verlag, Berlin, 2001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Michael Köhler and Heiko Rölke. Mobile object net systems: Concurrency and mobility. In H.-D. Burkhard, L. Czaja, G. Lindemann, A. Skowron, and P. Starke (Eds.), Proceedings of the International Workshop on Concurrency, Specification, and Programming (CS&P 2002), Berlin, 2002.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Olaf Kummer. Simulating synchronous channels and net instances. In J. Desel, P. Kemper, E. Kindler, and A. Oberweis (Eds.), Forschungsbericht Nr. 694: 5. Workshop Algorithmen und Werkzeuge für Petrinetze, pages 73–78. University of Hamburg, Computer Science Department, 1998.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Olaf Kummer. Referenznetze. Dissertation, University of Hamburg, Computer Science Department, Vogt-Kölln Str. 30, 22527 Hamburg, Germany, 2002.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Olaf Kummer and Frank Wienberg. Reference net workshop (Renew). University of Hamburg,, 1998.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Olaf Kummer, Frank Wienberg, and Michael Duvigneau. Renew — User Guide. University of Hamburg, Computer Science Department, Vogt-Kölln Str. 30, 22527 Hamburg, Deutschland, 1.6 edition, 2002.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Toshiyuki Miyamoto and Sadatoshi Kumagai. A Multi Agent Net Model of Autonomous Distributed Systems. In Proceedings of CESA’96, Symposium on Discrete Events and Manufacturing Systems, pages 619–623, 1996.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Robin Milner, Joachim Parrow, and David Walker. A calculus of mobile processes, parts 1–2. Information and computation, 100(1):1–77, 1992.MATHCrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Daniel Moldt and Frank Wienberg. Multi-Agent-Systems based on Coloured Petri Nets. volume 1248 in Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages 82–101, Springer Verlag, Berlin, 1997.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Rational Software Corporation. Rational UML Homepage. URL:, 2000.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Wolfgang Reisig. Petri Nets: An Introduction. Springer Verlag, Berlin, 1985.MATHGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Heiko Rölke. The Multi Agent Framework Mulan. Technical report, University of Hamburg, 2002.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Sunsoft. Java Online Reference Manual. Scholar
  34. 34.
    Adelinde M. Uhrmacher, Petra Tyschler, and Dirk Tyschler. Modeling and simulation of mobile agents. Elsevier, Artificial Intelligence, 2000.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Rüdiger Valk. Modelling of task flow in systems of functional units. Technical Report FBI-HH-B-124/87, University of Hamburg, 1987.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Rüdiger Valk. Petri nets as token objects: An introduction to elementary objectnets. In Jörg Desel and Manuel Silva (Eds.), Application and Theory of Petri Nets, volume 1420 of LNCS, pages 1–25, June 1998.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Rüdiger Valk. Concurrency in communicating object Petri nets. In G. Agha, F. De Cindio, and G. Rozenberg (Eds.), Concurrent Object-Oriented Programming and Petri Nets, volume 2001 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Springer Verlag, Berlin, 2001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Jan Vitek and Giuseppe Castagna. Seal: A framework for secure mobile computations. In ICCL Workshop: Internet Programming Languages, pages 47–77, 1998.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Dianxiang Xu and Yi Deng. Modeling mobile agent systems with high level Petri nets. In Proc. of IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics (SMC’00), pages 3177–3182, Nashville, October 2000.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Haiping Xu and Sol M. Shatz. A Framework for Modeling Agent-Oriented Software. In Proc. of the 21th International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems (ICDCS-21), Phoenix, Arizona, April 2001.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Köhler
    • 1
  • Daniel Moldt
    • 1
  • Heiko Rölke
    • 1
  1. 1.Computer Science DepartmentUniversity of HamburgHamburg

Personalised recommendations