a Video of a NEO Scenario:
Interoperability of Multi-agent Systems to Support an Escalating
Noncombatant Evacuation Operation (NEO)
NEO Demo is a Multi-Agent, Multi-Agent System (MAS) demonstration
of agent technology in a Noncombatant Evacuation Operation (NEO).
the interaction of agent teams in aiding human teams to cooperatively
plan and execute a hypothetical evacuation of US civilians from
a Middle Eastern city in an escalating terrorism crisis. In NEO,
RETSINA and Open Agent Architecture (OAA) agent teams and systems
cooperate with each other and their human counterparts to evaluate
a crisis situation, form an evacuation plan, follow an evolving
context, monitor activity, and dynamically re-plan. NEO demonstrates
the interoperability and use of two disparate agent systems' teams
for aiding humans (officers and Ambassador) to effectively monitor
the scenario, retrieve and fuse information for immediate use, and
to plan and re-plan an emergency evacuation.
NEO Agent Team and Their Accomplishments
In NEO, a team of agents cooperates
to effectively aid a human team. Each team member is represented
and aided by a dual task and information agent, known as the Messenger
Agent. Humans communicate with the system through their interface
agents, which can be activated through VoiceAgents and other means
of input. VoiceAgents eavesdrop on human team membersí conversations
and take action based on the input of commanders and people in the
field. Information is presented on various platforms and displays,
and in multiple formats.
When an officer mentions the need for flight information
for evacuating US civilians from Kuwait City, the oaaflight agent
responds. The oaaflight agent returns to the Messengers a schedule
of departing flights from Kuwait International Airport.
In response to the VoiceAgent's activation by a commander's
mention of the need for weather information, the RETSINA WeatherAgent
returns weather information for Kuwait City, and displays it graphically,
using a web browser, and/or as text alone.
When the need for a route to the airport is mentioned,
the RPA is queried. Given its access to a multi-modal map and knowledge
of other contingencies, the RPA plans a route to the airport. It
sends this plan to the Messengers, which then display a multi-modal
map with a planned evacuation route.†
Through an OAA Phone agent, a source in the field
informs the system that the environment has changed: a roadblock
interferes with the originally planned route to the airport. This
information is propagated from the VoiceAgent to the Messenger,
which passes the message along to the RPA. The RPA returns a revised
route to the team members through their Messengers.
The Visual Recognition Agent (VisRec) discerns that
a bomb has exploded at the airport. It notifies all Messenger Agents.
Given this new information, the Ambassador calls for a rendezvous
at OKAS, the military airport. The VoiceAgent is activated, the
Messenger receives the message and sends it to the RPA, and the
RPA plans and distributes another route.
The Air Officer calls for an airlift at OKAS. CAMPS
gets activated and a map of the airlift is displayed. The Messengers
display the airlift schedule.
In NEO, we demonstrate
interoperability of two disparate MASs, by use of agents in
two agent systems, the RETSINA architecture, and the Open Agent Architecture
(OAA). The use of our InterOperator acts as a two-way translation
and messaging agent, allowing agents of both systems to communicate.
Below is a
Demo Display of the NEO Agent Configuration:
In CoABS NEO,
the RETSINA Messenger queries agents
from both the RETSINA architecture, and,
through the InterOperator, agents from the OAA MAS.
translates messages for OAA communication, and passes translated
requests to the Facilitator, the middle agent
within OAA. The Facilitator then sends messages, based on its own
matching criteria, to the appropriate agents within OAA, and, if
the needed service is available and has the requested information,
receives its information. The Facilitator forwards the reply to
the InterOperator, which then retranslates the messages for RETSINA,
and forwards these replies to the RETSINA Messengers.
substitutability of agent sources from two different agent
architectures on a dynamic basis, while also bridging different
Agent Communication Languages (ACLs)--with the use of the InterOperator.
When a requested service is unavailable in RETSINA, for instance,
the Messengers will query the Matchmaker for other agents capable
of the task. The Matchmaker stores the capabilities from both the
RETSINA and OAA MASs, and forwards these to the Messenger, which
then queries the available agents. When the capable agent(s) reside
in OAA, the Messenger will query the InterOperator, which represents
the OAA agents to RETSINA, and translates the request into the OAA
ACL. Alternatively, when a requested service is unavailable in OAA,
the Matchmaker will return a capable agent residing in RETSINA.
NEO shows the
reusability of agents from other agent-system contexts. The
Route Planning Agent (RPA), for example, which was developed for
running tests on human-agent teamwork interaction, is used in this
demo for planning an evacuation route, as well as in CoABS TIE1
for helicopter flight path planning. The VisRec agent was developed
for other contexts and reused here. Messengers were first developed
for MURI JoCCASTA, and are reused here.
And finally, the Matchmaker is used in multiple agent contexts.
NEO also demonstrates
the "agentification" and reuse of legacy systems
within an agent architecture (CAMPS). Developed over many years
by BNN, it is agentified and reused in the CoABS NEO demo.
For more information
on MAS interoperability, see J. Giampapa, M. Paolucci, and K. Sycara,
Across Multiagent System Boundaries," in Proceedings of Agents
2000, Barcelona, Spain, June 3-7, 2000.