The Papers from the workshop on

Engineering with Social Metaphors

A logo showing a cartoon society of people then an arrow, and then nodes and links in the form of a graph

In order of presentation:

Engineering Emergence through Gossip by Márk Jelasity

Gossip is one of the most usual social activities. The result of gossip is that new and interesting information spreads over a social network not unlike diseases during an epidemic, or computer worms over the Internet. We will argue here that the core .idea. of gossip, that is, periodic information exchange among members of a group over a network that connects them, and a subsequent update of the knowledge of the group members based on the information they exchange, is a powerful abstraction that can be applied for solving a wide range of problems in distributed computing. The applications include.apart from the most natural one: information dissemination.gathering global knowledge about distributed systems and organizing the group members into several structures, such as ordering, clustering or other arbitrary topologies.

Available: Full Paper (pdf); Slides (pdf)

Using Localised 'Gossip' to Structure Distributed Learning by Bruce Edmonds

The idea of a "memetic" spread of solutions through a human culture in parallel to their development is applied as a distributed approach to learning. Local parts of a problem are associated with a set of overlapping localities in a space and solutions are then evolved in those localities. Good solutions are not only crossed with others to search for better solutions but also they propagate across the areas of the problem space where they are relatively successful. Thus the whole population coevolves solutions with the domains in which they are found to work. This approach is compared to the equivalent global evolutionary computation approach with respect to predicting the occurrence of heart disease in the Cleveland data set. It outperforms a global approach, but the space of attributes within which this evolutionary process occurs can greatly effect the efficiency of the technique.

Available: Full Paper (pdf); Slides (ppt)

Comparison of Reproduction Schemes in an Artificial Society for Cooperative Gathering by Gusz Eiben, G.S. Nitschke, and Martijn Schut

This paper compares reproduction schemes for adaptive behavior in an artificial society, where the collective task of the society is the gathering of resources in an artificial environment. The environment is randomly distributed with varying quantities of different resource types, where different resource types yield different fitness rewards for agents that successfully gather them. Gathering of the more valuable resource types (those yielding higher fitness rewards) requires cooperative behavior of varying degrees (a certain number of agents working collectively). We compared reproduction schemes over three dimensions. The first was a comparison of agents that could reproduce only at the end of their lifetimes (single reproduction at the end of the agent’s lifetime) and agents that could reproduce several times during their lifetime (multiple reproduction during lifetime). The second was a comparison of agents that could reproduce only with agents in adjacent positions and agents that could reproduce with agents at any position in the environment. The third compared different methods for deriving the number of offspring produced and the fitness share given to each offspring, as well as stochastic variants of these methods. Results indicate that the single reproduction at the end of the agent’s lifetime scheme afforded the artificial society a higher level of performance in its collective task, according to the evaluation criterion, comparative to artificial societies utilizing the multiple reproductions during lifetime reproduction scheme.

Available: Full Paper (pdf); Slides (ppt)

A Social Semantic Infrastructure for Decentralised Systems Based on Specification-Carrying Code and Trust by Giovanna Di Marzo Serugendo, and Michel Deriaz

Decentralised systems made of autonomous devices and software are gaining more and more interest. These autonomous elements usually do not know each other in advance and act without any central control. They thus form a society of devices and software, and as such need: basic interaction mechanisms for understanding each other, and a social infrastructure supporting interactions taking place in an uncertain environment. In an effort to go beyond pre-established communication schema and to cope with uncertainty, this paper proposes an interaction mechanism based exclusively: on semantic information expressed using specifications, and on a social infrastructure relying on trust and reputation.

Available: Full Paper (pdf); Slides (ppt)

Towards a Simulation Tool for Evaluating Dynamic Reorganization of Agent Societies by Virginia Dignum, Frank Dignum, Liz Sonenberg, Vasco Furtado, and Adriano Melo

Reorganization of the structure of an organization is a crucial issue in multi-agent systems that operate in an open, dynamic environment. Currently, most coordination mechanisms are imposed upon the system at design time, and their modification implies the redesign of the system. However, autonomous agents must be able to evaluate and decide the most appropriate organization given the environment conditions. That is, there is a need for dynamic reorganization of coordination structures. In this paper, we propose a classification of reorganization types which considers two layers of reorganization: behavioral and structural. We further describe how simulations can help to determine whether and how reorganization should take place. Finally we present a simulation scenario that is used to evaluate the different reorganization forms.

Available: Full Paper (pdf); Slides (ppt)

Two-Sides of Emergence in Participatory Simulations by Paul Guyot, and Alexis Drogoul

Starting from an agent-based model of the coffee market in the state of Veracruz, we conducted participatory simulation experiments where human players were given the roles of reactive agents. The simulations were tuned to favor the apparition of coalitions among coffee producers. In addition to the expected coalitions, we witnessed another kind of emergence: roles were specialized with the apparition of traders among the coffee producers. Drawing from this first-hand experience, we came to consider participatory simulations as a way to create multi-agent systems where humans improve problem solving capabilities of the system.

Available: Full Paper (pdf); Slides (pdf)

Agent-based participatory simulation activities for the emergence of complex social behaviours by Stefano Cacciaguerra, and Matteo Roffilli

Nowadays, social organizations (at macro-level) can be represented as complex self-organizing sys-tems that emerge from the interaction of complicated social behaviours (at micro-level). Modern multi-agent systems can be employed to explore “artificial societies” by reproducing complicated social behaviours. Unfortunately, promoting interactions only among pre-set behavioural models may limit the capability to explore all possible evolution patterns. To tackle this issue, we aim at discovering emergent social behaviours through simulation, allowing human people to participate in the simulation environment, so that the range of possible behaviours is not pre-determined. In order to support this new approach, we propose a system architecture that is able to support an endless session level between a software agent and a human player (called participatory framework). In par-ticular, while network faults or human low reactivity do not allow the human being to control his agent, this system architecture adopts a virtual player mechanism (called ghost player) that takes control of the agent driven by the user. The advanced version of such a ghost player relies on sub-symbolic Machine Learning techniques for mimicking the strategy of the off-line human being.

Available: Full Paper (pdf); Slides (pdf)

Engineering with Sociological Metaphors: Examples and Prospects by David Hales

One way of approaching the engineering of systems with desirable properties is to examine naturally occurring systems that appear to have such properties. One line of work examines biological theories and phenomena. Ideas from the social sciences are less well explored as a possible source of so-called ‘self-*’ (self-organisation, self-repair, self-management) engineering techniques. We briefly overview some recent work that follows this latter approach and consider some specific prospects for future work.

Available: Full Paper (pdf); Slides (ppt)

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