ProPlanT as a Multi-Agent Technology for Decision-Making Support

ProPlanT as a Multi-Agent Technology for Decision-Making Support

Vladimir Marík (Czech Technical University in Prague, Czech Republic), Michal Pechoucek (Czech Technical University in Prague, Czech Republic) and Jiri Vokrínek (Czech Technical University in Prague, Czech Republic)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-885-7.ch169
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Production planning and resource allocation is a complex industrial decision-making problem. Sophisticated computational model of a manufacturing domain may support this decision making by simulation of multiple variants of alternative plans and thus help identifying the most suitable one (according to defined conditions). Multi-agent system is an example of such a computational model as it can naturally represent the hierarchical and distributed structure of the manufacturing enterprise that is modelled. This item presents and discusses ProPlanT (Marík, Pechoucek, Štepánková, & Lažanský, 2000), a specific multi-agent technology/methodology for production planning and scheduling in the manufacturing domain. This methodology resulted in a framework for decision making support which was successfully applied in several pioneer applications.

Key Terms in this Chapter

ProPlanT: Multi-agent technology/methodology for decision-making support in the manufacturing domain. It supports production planning, scheduling, and simulation on the intra-enterprise and extra-enterprise level.

Intra-Enterprise (IE) Agent: An agent operating on the intra-enterprise level of the system.

Extra-Enterprise Level: The part of the system operating outside of boundaries of a company. On this level, the cooperation with the customers/suppliers, supply chain planning and optimization, and simulation is taken into account.

ExPlanTech: Multi-agent system for intra-enterprise production planning and simulation based on ProPlanT technology.

Extra-Enterprise (EE) Agent: An agent operating in the extra-enterprise level of the system.

Private Knowledge: Information owned and administered by an individual itself. The private knowledge is not shared and can include collaboration preferences, restrictions, but also planning and scheduling algorithms and criteria.

Semi-Private Knowledge: Information shared within the members of a cluster or an alliance (e.g., availability of resources).

Public Knowledge: Information available to everyone in the system (e.g., enterprise name, address, and scope of interest).

Agent: Autonomous software or hardware entity loosely coupled into a multi-agent system. Operation of an agent-based system is based on collaborative (or sometimes self-interested) interactions of agents.

ExtraPlanT: Multi-agent system for extra-enterprise cooperation and collaboration by proactively communicating external agents based on ProPlanT technology.

Agentification: Process of integration of software and hardware equipment already existing in the enterprise into a multi-agent system.

Enterprise-to-Enterprise (E2E) Agent: An agent that establishes extra-enterprise cooperation and collaboration by proactively connecting external E2E agents.

e-Cat: Concept and research prototype of a catalogue for advertising and searching competencies and profiles within a cluster of cooperating partners. It is based on hybrid peer-to-peer architecture supported by two centralized units ensuring identity of partners and common understanding of competencies that are advertised within the community.

Intra-Enterprise Level: The part of the system operating inside a company. It should include planning and scheduling internal activities, simulation, and product/process flows of the company.

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