A Conceptual Framework for Agent Definition and Development

Luck, Michael and d'Inverno, Mark. 2001. A Conceptual Framework for Agent Definition and Development. The Computer Journal, 44(1), pp. 1-20. ISSN 0010-4620 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The use of agents of many different kinds in a variety of fields of computer science and
artificial intelligence is increasing rapidly and is due, in part, to their wide applicability. The
richness of the agent metaphor that leads to many different uses of the term is, however, both a
strength and a weakness: its strength lies in the fact that it can be applied in very many different
ways in many situations for different purposes; the weakness is that the term agent is now used so
frequently that there is no commonly accepted notion of what it is that constitutes an agent. This
paper addresses this issue by applying formal methods to provide a defining framework for agent
systems. The Z specification language is used to provide an accessible and unified formal account
of agent systems, allowing us to escape from the terminological chaos that surrounds agents. In
particular, the framework precisely and unambiguously provides meanings for common concepts
and terms, enables alternative models of particular classes of system to be described within it, and
provides a foundation for subsequent development of increasingly more refined concepts.

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Date Deposited:

19 Sep 2013 14:57

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:57

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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