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Application of model-driven engineering to multi-agent systems : a language to model behaviors of reactive agents

Abstract : Many users of multi-agent systems (MAS) are very commonly discouraged to model and simulate using current MAS platforms. More specifically, modeling the dynamics of a system (in particular the agent's behaviors) is very often a challenge to users of MAS. That issue is more often observed in the domain of socio-ecological systems (SES), because SES domain experts are rarely programmers. Indeed,the majority of MAS platforms were not conceived taking into consideration domain-experts that are non-programmers. Most of the current MAS tools are not dedicated to SES, or they do not possess an easily understandable formalism to represent behaviors of agents. Moreover, because it is platform-dependent, a model realized in a MAS platform cannot be properly used in another platform due to incompatibility between MAS platforms. To overcome these limitations, we propose a domain-specific language (DSL) to describe the behaviors of reactive agents, regardless of the MAS platform used for simulation. To achieve that, we applied model-driven engineering (MDE), an approach that provides tools to develop DSLs from a meta-model (abstract syntax), textual editors with syntax highlighting (for the concrete syntax) and code generation capabilities (for source-code generation of a model). As a result, we implemented a language and a textual editor that allows SES domain experts to describe behaviors in three different ways that are closed to their natural expression: as equations when they are familiar to those, as a sequence of activities close to natural language or as an activity diagram to represent decisions and a sequence of behaviors using a graphic formalism. To show the generality we also developed code generators targeting two different MAS platforms (Cormas and Netlogo). We tested the code generators by implementing two SES models with the developed DSL. The generated code was targeted for both MAS platforms (Cormas and Netlogo), and successfully simulated in one of them.We conclude that the MDE approach provides adequate tools to develop DSL and code generators to facilitate MAS modeling and simulation by non-programmers. Concerning the developed DSL, although the behavioral aspect of MAS simulation is part of the complexity of modeling in MAS, there are still other essential aspects of model and simulation of MAS that are yet to be explored, such as model's initialization and points of view on the model's simulated world
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Paulo Pimenta. Application of model-driven engineering to multi-agent systems : a language to model behaviors of reactive agents. Multiagent Systems [cs.MA]. Université Montpellier, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017MONTS031⟩. ⟨tel-01905831⟩

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