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   Designed by the Department of Medical Physics



This project aims to design and develop teams of co-operating autonomous agents, which could generally be used to expand the action-horizon of humans in inaccessible industrial fluidic applications. Successful collective performance in these missions critically depends upon: (a) accurate environmental perception, (b) a real time decision making and action loop, (c) emergent goal directed social behavior. In order to meet these requirements, we:

(a) Propose a novel agent architectural design based on modular Spiking Neural Network, which will serve as a "blueprint" for agent manufacture

(b) Research direct/indirect communication mechanisms for collaborative societies formation, and agent to environment communication.

(c) Design and develop an accompanying Development Environment, which will facilitate the evolution of complex agent SNN architectures- multiagent societies, and the development of succesive CAA generations.

Description of the work

In the current project we are trying to solve a particularly difficult proble i.e. fault localization and repair in inaccessible industrial fluidic environments by using teams of very simple agents. The mission can be accomplished only if the societies of agents employed can manifest emergent intelligent collective behavior.

Individual agents will generally be composed of:

  • A sensor/actuator subsystem which will provide multiple input data and enable real-time navigation.

  • A communication subsystem that will support self-organization of behavior at a social level

  • A computational subsystem which will analyze the information of the sensory channels, control the actuator subsystems of the agent and initiate and maintain goal-directed individual and social behavior among agents. The computational subsystem is composed of simple connectionist spiking neural networks. The latter are realized in spiking neural hardware, chosen for its ability to meet the real time signal processing imposed by the application context.

The project will demonstrate the feasibility of the concept by developing an early prototype; the project progress towards the ultimate goals will be measured by implementing and testing successive generations of agents. In accordance with potential application areas, two types of agents will be implemented and tested:

  • Hybrid-agents, exploring micro-environments in simulations.

  • Micro-scale containing reduced versions of the architectures for fault location and repair in actual fluidic environments.

An accompanying development environment will allow rapid prototyping and evaluation of successive generations of agents. This environment will include modules that a) automatically generate agent architectures and b) evolve optimal architectures based on the team's performance in a simulated environment.  



The project is funded by the European Community under the "Information Society Technologies" Programme

 (01/01/2003 - 31/05/2006)