Modelling a Society of Simple Agents: From Conceptual Specification to Experimentation

F.M. Brazier, P.A.T. van Eck, J. Treur

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Much research concerning the design of multi-agent systems (at a conceptual level) addresses complex agents that exhibit complex interaction patterns. Due to this complexity, it is difficult to perform rigorous experimentation. On the other hand, systematic experimental work regarding behaviour of societies of more simple agents, while reporting valuable results, often lacks conceptual specification of the system under consideration. In this paper, the compositional multi-agent modelling framework DESIRE is not only successfully used to develop a conceptual specification of the simple agents discussed by A. Cesta, M. Miceli and P. Rizzo (Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence, vol. 1038, Springer-Verlag: Berlin, pp. 128-138, 1996), but also to simulate the behaviour in a dynamical environment. In the DESIRE framework, a conceptual specification, which provides a high-level view of an agent, has enough detail for automatic prototype generation. The prototype implementation of the conceptual specification of the simple agents has been used to replicate, and extend, one of the experiments reported by Cesta et al.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-178
Number of pages18
JournalApplied Intelligence
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2001


  • Modelling
  • Multi-agent systems
  • Social simulation


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