Designing Dependable Agent Systems for Mobile Wireless Networks

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IEEE Intelligent Systems, 19(5):39-45, .

Special Issue on Dependable Agent Systems.



A mobile ad hoc network (MANET) is a wireless network of mobile devices-such as PDAs, laptops, cell phones, and other lightweight, easily transportable computing devices-in which each node can act as a router for network traffic rather than relying on fixed networking infrastructure. As mobile computing becomes ubiquitous, MANETS becomes increasingly important. As a design paradigm, multiagent systems (MASs) can help facilitate and coordinate ad hoc-scenarios that might include security personnel, rescue workers, police officers, firefighters, and paramedics. On this network, mobile agents perform critical functions that include delivering messages, monitoring resource usage on constrained mobile devices, assessing network traffic patterns, analyzing host behaviors, and revoking access rights for suspicious hosts and agents. Agents can effectively operate in such environments if they are environment aware - if they can sense and reason about their complex and dynamic environments. Altogether, agents living on a MANET must be network, information, and performance aware. This article fleshes out how we apply this approach to populations of mobile agents on a live MANET.