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Asynchronous and Distributed Multi-agent Systems: An Approach Using Actor Model

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Optimization, Learning Algorithms and Applications (OL2A 2022)

Abstract

Agent-based and individual-based modeling have been widely used to simulate ecological systems. The historical architectures designed to artificial life simulation, namely LIDA and MicroPsy, rely into classical concurrence mechanisms based on threads, shared memory and locks. Although these mechanisms seem to work fine for many multi-agent systems (MAS), notably for those requiring synchronous communication between agents, they present severe restrictions in case of complex asynchronous MAS. In this work, we explore an alternative approach to handle concurrency in distributed asynchronous MAS: the actor model. An actor is a concurrent entity capable of sending, receiving and handling asynchronous messages, and creating new actors. Within this paradigm, there are no shared memory and, hence, no data race conditions. We introduce L2L (a short for: Learn to Live, Live to Learn) architecture, a biological inspired distributed non-deterministic MAS simulation framework, in which the autonomous agents (creatures) are endowed with a functional and minimal nervous system model enabling them to learn from its own experiences and interactions with the two-dimensional world, populated with creatures and nutrients. Both creatures and nutrients are encapsulated in actors. The system as a whole performs as a discrete non-deterministic dynamical system, as well as the creatures themselves. The scalability of this actor-based framework is evaluated showing the system scales up and out − many processes per processor node and in a computer cluster. A second experiment is realized to validate the architecture, consisting of an open-ended foraging simulation with both one or many creatures and hundreds of nutrients. Results from this specific actor-based version are compared to those from a classical concurrency version of the same architecture, showing they are equivalent, despite the fact that the former version scales a lot better. Moreover, results show that exploration of the world is unbiased, leading us to conjecture that our system follows ergodic hypothesis. We argue that the actor-based model proves to be very promising to modeling of asynchronous complex MAS.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    http://docs.paralleluniverse.co/quasar/.

  2. 2.

    http://akka.io/.

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Acknowledgment

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 754382. This research has also been partially supported by Comunidad de Madrid, PROMINT-CM project (grant ref: P2018/EMT-4366) and by the project PID2020-115454GB-C21 of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (MICINN). The authors thank UAH, UFRJ and CEFET-MG for the infrastructure, and Brazilian research agencies for partially support: CAPES (Finance Code 001), FAPERJ, FAPEMIG and National Council for Scientific and Technological Development - CNPq. “The content of this publication does not reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Responsibility for the information and views expressed herein lies entirely with the author(s).”

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Correspondence to Felipe D. Reis , Tales B. Nascimento , Carolina G. Marcelino , Elizabeth F. Wanner , Henrique E. Borges or Sancho Salcedo-Sanz .

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Reis, F.D., Nascimento, T.B., Marcelino, C.G., Wanner, E.F., Borges, H.E., Salcedo-Sanz, S. (2022). Asynchronous and Distributed Multi-agent Systems: An Approach Using Actor Model. In: Pereira, A.I., Košir, A., Fernandes, F.P., Pacheco, M.F., Teixeira, J.P., Lopes, R.P. (eds) Optimization, Learning Algorithms and Applications. OL2A 2022. Communications in Computer and Information Science, vol 1754. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-23236-7_48

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-23236-7_48

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