A Formal Method for the Development of Agent-Based Systems

A Formal Method for the Development of Agent-Based Systems

P. Kefalas (CITY College, Greece), M. Holcombe (University of Sheffield, UK), G. Eleftherakis (CITY College, Greece) and M. Gheorghe (University of Sheffield, UK)
Copyright: © 2003 |Pages: 31
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-046-2.ch004
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Recent advances in testing and verification of software based on formal specifications of the system to be built have reached a point where the ideas can be applied in a powerful way in the design of agent-based systems. The software engineering research has highlighted a number of important issues: the importance of the type of modeling technique used; the careful design of the model to enable powerful testing techniques to be used; the automated verification of the behavioral properties of the system; and the need to provide a mechanism for translating the formal models into executable software in a simple and transparent way. This chapter presents a detailed and comprehensive account of the ways in which some modern software engineering research can be applied to the construction of effective and reliable agent-based software systems. More specifically, we intend to show how simple agents motivated from biology can be modeled as X-machines. Such modeling will facilitate verification and testing of an agent model, because appropriate strategies for model checking and testing are already developed around the X-machine method. In addition, modular construction of agent models is feasible, because X-machines are provided with communicating features, which allow simple models to interact.

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