edited by Gerhard Weiss


    MIT Press, 2013, 2nd edition

    ISBN 978-0-262-01889-0



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This book offers a state-of-the-art introduction to multiagent systems. These are systems composed of multiple interacting intelligent agents, where an agent is a computational entity such as a software program or a robot that is situated in some environment and that to some extent is able to act autonomously in order to achieve its design objectives.

The book is suitable for classroom use (undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate) and independent study, and it can serve as a basic reference volume for both researchers and professionals from industry. The primary audience are students and teachers of artificial intelligence, computer science, and information technology. Because of the multidisciplinary nature of multiagent systems, it can also serve as a basic text for readers from disciplines such as psychology, economics, sociology, and philosophy. Each chapter includes references, illustrations and examples, and exercises of varying degrees of difficulty. The book is designed to be self-contained and understandable without additional material.

Changes from the first edition. The first edition appeared in 1999, and since then the field of multiagent systems has developed considerably. Some topics and themes that were characteristic of the field some twelve years ago play only a minor role today, and some of today's core topics played no or only a marginal role at that time. This second edition captures all these changes. What remained unchanged is the unique conception and vision behind the book: to have a high-quality course book and reference volume on multiagent systems whose parts are all written by acknowledged authorities in the field.

Reasons for the interest in multiagent systems. A main reason for the vast interest and attention multiagent systems are receiving is that they are seen as an enabling technology for applications that rely on distributed and parallel processing of data, information, and knowledge in complex computing environments. With advancing technology, such applications are becoming standard in a variety of domains such as e-commerce, logistics, supply chain management, telecommunication, health care, and manufacturing. More generally, such applications are characteristic of several widely recognized computing paradigms known as grid computing, peer-to-peer computing, pervasive computing, ubiquitous computing, autonomic computing, service-oriented computing, and cloud computing. Another reason for the broad interest in multiagent systems is that these systems are seen as a technology and tool that helps to analyze and develop models and theories of interactivity in large-scale human-centered systems.