Evolving Social Rationality for MAS using “Tags”

CPM Report No.: 02-104
By: David Hales and Bruce Edmonds
Date: 12th Nov 2002.

Published as:
Hales, D. and Edmonds, B. (2003) Evolving Social Rationality for MAS using “Tags”. In Rosenschein, J. S., et al. (eds.) Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS03), ACM Press, 497-503.


Endowing agents with “social rationality” can aid overall efficiency in tasks where cooperation is beneficial to system level performance. However it is difficult to maintain this beneficial effect in open and unpredictable systems. Such systems seem to require a “bespoke” design for cooperation in each domain. Recent work in artificial life and biological sciences has identified novel “tag” mechanisms for the spontaneous self-organization of group level adaptations in populations of autonomous agents. We summarize these findings and identify a key application (in MAS) to which these mechanisms may be fruitfully applied. An intriguing aspect of these mechanisms is that (in certain circumstances) there is a negative scaling cost – that is, the more agents in a system the better and more quickly organized they become. Also, since the process is driven by individual (bounded) optimization, agents retain a high degree of autonomy but still evolve behaviors that are socially rational even in open systems. Initial results indicate that the harnessing of such a process in MAS may be a viable alternative to the engineering of specific cooperation mechanisms and group structures.

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