Constraint Relaxation Approach for Over-Constrained Agent Interaction
The interactions among agents in a multi-agent system for coordinating a distributed, problem solving task can be complex, as the distinct sub-problems of the individual agents are interdependent. A distributed protocol provides the necessary framework for specifying these interactions. In a model of interactions where the agents’ social norms are expressed as the message passing behaviours associated with roles, the dependencies among agents can be specified as constraints. The constraints are associated with roles to be adopted by agents as dictated by the protocol. These constraints are commonly handled using a conventional constraint solving system that only allows two satisfactory states to be achieved – completely satisfied or failed. Agent interactions then become brittle as the occurrence of an over-constrained state can cause the interaction between agents to break prematurely, even though the interacting agents could, in principle, reach an agreement. Assuming that the agents are capable of relaxing their individual constraints to reach a common goal, the main issue addressed by this research work is how the agents could communicate and coordinate the constraint relaxation process. The interaction mechanism for this is obtained by reinterpreting a technique borrowed from the constraint satisfaction field (i.e. distributed partial Constraint Satisfaction Problem), deployed and computed at the protocol level.
KeywordsOver-constrained agent interaction brittle agent protocol Distributed Partial CSP and agent protocol
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