The agentTool system is our attempt to implement a tool to support and enforce the Multiagent Systems Engineering Methodology (MaSE). agentTool version 1.8 implements all seven steps of MaSE as well as automated support for transforming analysis models into design models. The agentTool user interface is shown below.
The menus across the top allow access to several system functions, including a persistent knowledge base, conversation verification and code generation. The buttons on the left add specific items to the diagrams while the text window below them displays system messages. The different MaSE diagrams are accessed via the tabbed panels across the top of the main window. When a MaSE diagram is selected, the designer can manipulate it graphically in the window. Each panel has different types of objects and text that can be placed on them. Selecting an object in the window enables other related diagrams to become accessible.
The part of agentTool that is perhaps the most appealing is the ability to work on different pieces of the system and at various levels of abstraction interchangeably, which mirrors the ability of MaSE to incrementally add detail. The “tabbed pane” operation of agentTool implements this capability of MaSE since the step you are working on is always represented by the current diagram and the available tabs show how you might move up and down through the methodology.
During each step of system development, the various analysis and design diagrams are available through tabs on the main window. The ordering of the tabs follows the MaSE steps, so selecting a tab to the left of the current pane would move “back” in the methodology while selecting a tab to the right would move “forward.” The currently selected object controls the available diagrams (via tabs), which include those that can be reached following valid MaSE steps. For instance, selecting a task causes a tab for the associated Concurrent Task Diagram to become visible. Selecting that tab would cause the Concurrent Task Diagram to appear.
The last version of agentTool is available as a zip file: agentTool(1.8).zip. The zip file contains the "full" agentTool suite with the exception of the "SPIN" software used for automatic conversation verification.
If you unzip the file in the C:\ directory, it will create a C:\AgentTool_1.8 directory which will contain all the source code, executable code, and various MAML example files. agentTool was written for Java 1.3, but will run with current version, at least up to 1.6. If you do not have JDK 1.3 or don't load agentTool into the C:\AgentTool_1.8 directory, you will have to modify the agentTool.bat file. You will have to make the appropriate changes to point to the correct agentTool directory or the correct JDK directory.
The command "set AT=c:\AgentTool_1.8" will create a new environment variable "AT" set to the path of the Agent Tool environment. You will need to set this to whatever your installation directory is. If you installed straight to c: then you won't need to change this. If you have the JDK installed in a different directory, you will need to make the appropriate changes to the path variable.
The line "set path= ... %AT%\spin\bin" and "set djgpp=%AT%\spin\djgpp.env" are used with SPIN verification tool. You need to download SPIN, compile it, and install it in the c:\agTool\spin directory. To install the spin.zip file, move it to your AgentTool directory and unzip the file. It will create the appropriate spin subdirectory (\spin) and will be ready to run with agentTool. (Given that agentTool 1.8 was written in 2001, we do not expect that it will run with the current version of SPIN.)
The last three lines of this batch file are used to load AgentTool and should not need to be changed. The memory consumption issue for prior versions has been eliminated in version 1.8. There should be no need to extend the memory, but if this does become an issue this can be fixed by using the "-Xmx200000000" initialization. To do this simply switch which command is ignored by "rem". If this is insufficient, you can increase the amount of memory requested. If agentTool is acting "flakey", check the agentTool DOS window (which is minimized when agentTool runs) to see if you are getting "out of memory errors". If this happens, increase the memory allocated to agentTool via the -Xmx flag.
Papers Related to MaSE and agentTool I
- Scott A. DeLoach. The MaSE Methodology. In Methodologies and Software Engineering for Agent Systems. The Agent-Oriented Software Engineering Handbook Series : Multiagent Systems, Artificial Societies, and Simulated Organizations, Vol. 11. Bergenti, Federico; Gleizes, Marie-Pierre; Zambonelli, Franco (Eds.) Kluwer Academic Publishing (available via Springer), August 2004.
- Athie Self & Scott A. DeLoach. Designing and Specifying Mobility within the Multiagent Systems Engineering Methodology. Special Track on Agents, Interactions, Mobility, and Systems (AIMS) at The 18th ACM Symposium on Applied Computing (SAC 2003). March 9 - 12, 2003, Melbourne, Florida, USA.
- Jonathan DiLeo, Timothy Jacobs, and Scott DeLoach. Integrating Ontologies into Multiagent Systems Engineering. Fourth International Bi-Conference Workshop on Agent-Oriented Information Systems (AOIS-2002). 15-16 July 2002, Bologna (Italy).
- Scott A. DeLoach, "Modeling Organizational Rules in the Multiagent Systems Engineering Methodology" Proceedings of the 15th Canadian Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AI'2002). Calgary, Alberta, Canada. May 27-29, 2002. (LNAI format)
- Scott A. DeLoach, Mark F. Wood and Clint H. Sparkman, Multiagent Systems Engineering, The International Journal of Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering, Volume 11 no. 3, June 2001.
- Clint H. Sparkman, Scott A. DeLoach, and Athie L. Self, Automated Derivation of Complex Agent Architectures from Analysis Specifications, In Agent-Oriented Software Engineering II: Second International Workshop, AOSE 2001 Montreal, Canada, May 29, 2001 Revised Papers and Invited Contributions, LNCS 2222, Springer-Verlag: Berlin.
- Scott A. O’Malley and Scott A. DeLoach "Determining When to Use an Agent-Oriented Software Engineering Paradigm," In Agent-Oriented Software Engineering II: Second International Workshop, AOSE 2001 Montreal, Canada, May 29, 2001 Revised Papers and Invited Contributions, LNCS 2222, 188-205, Springer-Verlag: Berlin.
- Scott A. DeLoach, Specifying Agent Behavior as Concurrent Tasks: Defining the Behavior of Social Agents. Proceedings of the Fifth Annual Conference on Autonomous Agents, Montreal Canada, May 28 - June 1, 2001.
- Scott A. DeLoach & Mark Wood, Developing Multiagent Systems with agentTool. in Intelligent Agents VII. Agent Theories Architectures and Languages, 7th International Workshop ( ATAL 2000, Boston, MA, USA, July 7-9, 2000), C. Castelfranchi, Y. Lesperance (Eds.). Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Vol. 1986, Springer Verlag, Berlin, 2001.
- Joanna Bryson, Keith Decker, Scott DeLoach, Michael Huhns, & Michael Wooldridge. Agent Development Tools, in Intelligent Agents VII. Agent Theories Architectures and Languages, 7th International Workshop ( ATAL 2000, Boston, MA, USA, July 7-9, 2000), C. Castelfranchi, Y. Lesperance (Eds.). Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Vol. 1986, Springer Verlag, Berlin, 2001.
- Scott A. DeLoach. Analysis and Design using MaSE and agentTool, Proceedings of the 12th Midwest Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science Conference (MAICS 2001). Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, March 31 - April 1, 2001.
- Mark Wood & Scott A. DeLoach. An Overview of the Multiagent Systems Engineering Methodology, in Agent-Oriented Software Engineering. P. Ciancarini, M. Wooldridge, (Eds.) Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Vol. 1957, Springer Verlag, Berlin, January 2001.
- Marc J. Raphael & Scott A. DeLoach. A Knowledge Base for Knowledge-Based Multiagent System Construction, Proceedings of the National Aerospace and Electronics Conference (NAECON), Dayton, OH, October 10-12, 2000.
- Scott A. DeLoach, Specifying Agent Behavior as Concurrent Tasks: Defining the Behavior of Social Agents. Technical Report, Air Force Institute of Technology, AFIT/EN-TR-00-03, July 2000.
- Scott A. DeLoach & Mark Wood, Multiagent Systems Engineering: the Analysis Phase. Technical Report, Air Force Institute of Technology, AFIT/EN-TR-00-02, June 2000.
- Lacey, Timothy H. & Scott A. DeLoach, Verification of Agent Behavioral Models. The 2000 International Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IC-AI'2000). June 26 - 29, 2000 Monte Carlo Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada
- J. Todd McDonald, Michael L. Talbert, and Scott A. DeLoach , Heterogeneous Database Integration Using Agent Oriented Information Systems. The 2000 International Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IC-AI'2000). June 26 - 29, 2000 Monte Carlo Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada.
- Lacey, Timothy H. and Scott A. DeLoach, Automatic Verification of Multiagent Conversations, Eleventh Annual Midwest Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science Conference, pp. 93-100, AAAI Press,, April 15 - 16, 2000, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
- Hartrum, Thomas C. and Scott A. DeLoach, Design Issues for Mixed-Initiative Agent Systems, Proceedings of the AAAI-99 Workshop on Mixed-Initiative Intelligence, Orlando FL, July 1999.
- DeLoach, Scott A. Multiagent Systems Engineering: A Methodology and Language for Designing Agent Systems, Agent-Oriented Information Systems '99 (AOIS'99), Seattle WA, 1 May 1999.
You can send questions/report problems about agentTool to Dr. DeLoach, but please make sure you state that this is version 1.8 and realize that the software has not been actively used for 10 years.