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Agent-Based Interaction Protocols and Topologies for Manufacturing Task Allocation

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5 Author(s)
Owliya, M. ; Sch. of Mech. Eng., Univ. of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK ; Saadat, M. ; Jules, G.G. ; Goharian, M.
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This paper focuses on interaction protocols and topologies of multiagent systems (MASs) for task allocation, particularly in manufacturing application. Resource agents in manufacturing are members of a network whose possible logical topologies and governing interaction protocol influence the scheduling and control in the MAS. Four models are presented in this paper, each having specific rules and characteristics for scheduling and task allocation. Two models out of the four use a well-known standard interaction method [contract-net protocol (CNP)], while the others are proposed in this paper. The newly proposed models are based on ring topology and algorithms developed in the research. A Java-based MAS was also developed to simulate different scenarios of task allocation and to compare the four models in terms of some scheduling performance indicators, using cases from manufacturing. The results produced meaningful differences between the four models, including their strengths and weaknesses. Two models, namely, modified ring and CNP-based peer-to-peer, gave superior performance compared with the others. Furthermore, the proposed modified ring exhibits significant potential in handling manufacturing task allocation applications.

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Systems, Man, and Cybernetics: Systems, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:43 ,  Issue: 1 )