This website describes the project: Intelligent agents for Crisis Management.
The project has been performed as part of the ICIS
project. The project started 1 January 2007 and ended 1 February 2009.
The people involved are:
- Jurriaan van Diggelen (Principle investigator)
- Peter Werkhoven
- Robbert-Jan Beun
- Rogier van Eijk
Feel free to contact any of them with questions or remarks.
Crisis management involves identifying an incident or a disaster, such as
fire or a traffic accident, and subsequently confronting and resolving it
in order to minimize the damage. Each of these tasks demand the utmost in
human performance as limited time is available, the situation may change unexpectedly
and human failure is potentially hazardous. In this research we investigate
how modern information technology can support collaboration among human crisis
workers and assist them in performing their tasks.
Our approach uses intelligent agents that act as electronic partners of humans, forming a hybrid human-agent team. Prior investigations have identified three primary roles played by agents interacting with humans: agents supporting individual team members; agents supporting the team as a whole; agents assuming the role of a team member. In the following, we will describe three possible applications corresponding to each of these roles, together with some technological groundwork.
Individual Support: A Gateway to Ubiquitous Information
An application where agents support individual team members, could be a system that provides crisis workers via their PDA’s with relevant information. In such a system, the PDA is modeled as an agent which acts in a ubiquitous computing environment. This means that hundreds of networked sensors and devices are embedded in the environment. The PDA automatically discovers these sensors and extracts relevant information from them to present it to the user, i.e. the PDA serves as a gateway to ubiquitous information. As an example, think of a firefighter obtaining information about a fire by consulting a PDA that extracts and interprets information from thermometers and smoke sensors in the environment.
Designing the information infrastructure for these kinds of systems is far from straightforward. Because different devices may be developed by different manufacturers, they are likely to represent their information heterogeneously, which comlicates the sharing of information. Furthermore, the system is open, i.e. it is not known beforehand which sensors, PDA's and other devices will constitute the system. This makes it impossible to fix the communication infrastructure in advance.
To investigate different techniques to represent, share, and discover information, we developed a prototyping tool, called Ubismart. This allows us to easily add sensors, PDA’s and other computing devices after which we can run simulations of the system to study the amount and quality of information exchange.
Team Support: Automatic Notification in Human Agent Teams
An application of agents supporting a team as a whole could be a system which facilitates coordination in a team by automatically notifying the relevant people of certain events. For example, after someone has finished performing an action which has been requested by another agent, that person must notify the requester after it has finished performing the action.
We have implemented this functionality using policies, i.e. authorizations or obligations which govern the behavior of agents. For example, we could state that an agent is obliged to send a notification to the requester after it has finished performing a requested action. We use the KAoS policy language to define such rules. Because the rule is written in a machine readable language, the computer understands what needs to be done, and could take over this task which would otherwise have to be performed by humans.
We tested the policies using a Mars mission scenario where a hypothermic astronaut needs to be brought to the habitat for recovery.
Agents as Team Members: Treating Agents as Equals
By allowing agents to assume the role of an equal team member, we could fully exploit the capabilities of agents. For example, in the Mars mission scenario, we could allow a robot to fulfill part of the teamwork by bringing the hypothermic astronaut to the habitat. To allow agents in a team to be treated as equal to humans, agents should behave a little like humans. We have studied this type of human-like behavior in agents by identifying patterns of human teamwork and implementing these using KAoS policies. For example, we have defined a policy which states that a leader is responsible for its team, and a policy which states that another team member should take responsibility if the leader is absent or temporarily inaccessible. These policies directly affect the behavior of the agents in the team and might make them more predictable and understandable to humans. Of course this does not fully achieve the ambitious goal of human and agent teamwork, but we believe we have captured some important aspects in a rather concrete way.
Please contact any of the project participants to obtain a copy of the source code of these applications.
Ubismart, is a simulation environment for ubiquitous computing. It builds on the Protege ontology editor, developed at stanford.
- J. van Diggelen, Human-Agent Teamwork,
on Rich Cognitive Models for Policy Design and Simulation , 16 January
- J. van Diggelen, Fulfilling Collective Obligations in Human-Agent Teams using KAoS Policies, IHMC Afternoon Lecture Series, 10 September 2008.
- J. van Diggelen, Information Supply Mechanisms in Ubiquitous Computing, Crisis Management and Workflow Modelling, 7th International Workshop on Task Modelling and Diagrams (TAMODIA), 25 September 2008.
- J. van Diggelen, Agent Communication in Ubiquitous Computing: the Ubismart Approach, Seventh International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multi-agent Systems (AAMAS), 14 May 2008.
- J. van Diggelen, Modeling Decentralized Information Flow in Ambient Environments, Ambient Intelligence Developments, 17 September 2007.
J. van Diggelen, R.J. Beun, R.M. van Eijk, P.J. Werkhoven, Efficient
Semantic Information Exchange for Ambient Intelligence, the Computer Journal,
Special Issue on Artificial Societies for Ambient Intelligence, 2009
J. van Diggelen, R.J. Beun, R.M. van Eijk, P.J. Werkhoven, Information Supply Mechanisms in Ubiquitous Computing, Crisis Management and Workflow Modelling, Proceedings of the 7th International Workshop on Task Models and Diagrams (TAMODIA), LNCS 5247, pp. 72-83, Springer Verlag, 2008
Arlette van Wissen, Jurriaan van Diggelen, Virginia Dignum, The Effects of Cooperative Agent Behavior on Human Cooperativeness, proceedings of BNAIC 2008
J. van Diggelen, R.J. Beun, R.M. van Eijk, P.J. Werkhoven, Agent Communication in Ubiquitous Computing: the Ubismart Approach, Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multi-agent Systems (AAMAS08), ACM Press, pp. 813-820, 2008
J. van Diggelen, R.J. Beun, R.M. van Eijk, P.J. Werkhoven. Modeling Decentralized Information Flow in Ambient Environments, in Developing Ambient Intelligence, Proceedings of the second international conference on Ambient Intelligence Developments (AmI.d'07), pp. 23-33. Springer Verlag, 2008
Jurriaan van Diggelen, Robbert-Jan Beun, Peter J. Werkhoven, Intelligent Agents in Crisis Management: from PDA to TDA, submitted to ICIS Scientific Book 2009. Please contact first author for more details.
Jurriaan van Diggelen, Tim Grant, Mark Neerincx, Policy-Based Design of Human-Machine Collaboration in Manned Space Missions, submitted to SMC-IT 2009. Please contact first author for more details.
Jurriaan van Diggelen, Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, Matthew Johnson, Andrzej Uszok,
Paul J. Feltovich, Implementing Collective Obligations in Human-Agent Teams
KAoS Policies, Submitted to COIN workshop in January 2009. Please contact first author for more details.
Arlette van Wissen, Jurriaan van Diggelen, Virginia Dignum, The Effects of Cooperative Agent Behavior on Human Cooperativeness, Extended Abstract, AAMAS 2009, to appear.