How Can Agents Help in Designing Complex Systems?
Keywords:Sociotechnical System, Agent, Modelling, Simulation,
AbstractDistributed systems for decision support, crisis management, environment monitoring, e-government and smart cities, and for other areas, as well as Internet-of-Things applications are increasingly complex sociotechnical systems. Because of their distributed nature and complexity, such systems are cognitively hard to grasp and design. Therefore, appropriate simplified representations of complex systems – models – are required for designing and analyzing them. Moreover, a complex system needs to be simulated and prototyped before the development process can start to make sure a system with appropriate behavior has been designed. For modeling complex systems, “agent” or “actor” is a useful notion because conceptually sociotechnical systems consist of interacting human agents and man-made agents, such as smart software components and intelligent devices. In simulation and rapid prototyping, software agents can emulate both humans and technical components of a complex sociotechnical system. This article will provide an overview of the Agent-Oriented Modelling (AOM) methodology for modelling, simulation, and prototyping of sociotechnical systems. AOM offers software engineering processes and work products for agile design, simulation, and prototyping of distributed sociotechnical systems. In the center of AOM lies the viewpoint framework within which to design sociotechnical systems. The viewpoint framework supports the modelling, simulation, and prototyping of systems for a given problem domain from three balanced and interrelated viewpoint aspects: information, interaction, and behavior. The article will describe case studies from several industry- and government-related research projects.
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