CIRP Encyclopedia of Production Engineering

2014 Edition
| Editors: The International Academy for Production Engineering, Luc Laperrière, Gunther Reinhart

Agent Theory

  • József Váncza
Reference work entry



Agent theory provides the basis for a novel paradigm of computation. While agent-based computing (or simply, agent system) has several roots as far as its concepts, models, and enabling technologies are concerned, there is a general consensus about its two main abstractions (Wooldridge 2009; Luck et al. 2005; Shoham and Leyton-Brown 2009):
  • An agent is a computational system that is situated in an unpredictable, dynamic environment where it is capable of exhibiting autonomous and intelligent behavior.

  • An agent’s environment typically includes also other agents with diverging information and/or interests. The community of interacting agents, as a whole, operates as a multi-agent system (MAS) that can solve such complex problems that are beyond the limits of individual agents.

Theory and Application


The theory of computational agents goes back at least a quarter of a century when...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Axelrod R (2006) The evolution of cooperation, rev edn. Basic Books, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  2. Bordini RH, Dastani M, Dix J, El Fallah SA (eds) (2009) Multi-agent programming: languages, platforms tools and applications. Springer, New YorkMATHGoogle Scholar
  3. FIPA: Foundation for Intelligent Physical Agents. Accessed 20 June 2013
  4. Gilbert N (2008) Agent-based models. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  5. Hatvany J (1985) Intelligence and cooperation in heterarchic manufacturing systems. Comput Integr Manuf Syst 2(2):101–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Jennings NR (2001) An agent-based approach for building complex software systems. Commun ACM 44(4):35–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Lu SY-C, Elmaraghy W, Schuh G, Wilhelm R (2007) A scientific foundation of collaborative engineering. CIRP Ann Manuf Technol 56(2):605–634CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Luck M, McBurney P, Shehory O, Willmott S (2005) Agent technology: computing as interaction. A roadmap for agent-based computing. AgentLink III. Accessed 20 June 2013
  9. Monostori L, Váncza J, Kumara SRT (2006) Agent-based systems for manufacturing. CIRP Ann Manuf Technol 55(2):697–720CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Russell S, Norvig P (1995) Artificial intelligence: a modern approach. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle RiverMATHGoogle Scholar
  11. Shen W, Hao Q, Yoon H-J, Norrie DH (2006) Applications of agent-based systems in intelligent manufacturing: an updated review. Adv Eng Inform 20(4):415–431CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Shoham Y, Leyton-Brown K (2009) Multiagent systems: algorithmic, game-theoretic, and logical foundations. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKMATHGoogle Scholar
  13. Ueda K, Márkus A, Monostori L, Kals HJJ, Arai T (2001) Emergent synthesis methodologies for manufacturing. CIRP Ann Manuf Technol 50(2):535–551CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Váncza J, Monostori L, Lutters D, Kumara SRT, Tseng M, Valckenaers P, Van Brussel H (2011) Cooperative and responsive manufacturing enterprises. CIRP Ann Manuf Technol 60(2):797–820CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Wooldridge M (2009) An introduction to multiagent systems, 2nd edn. WileyGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© CIRP 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Laboratory of Engineering and Management IntelligenceInstitute for Computer Science and Control, Hungarian Academy of SciencesBudapestHungary