Systems, Man & Cybernetics - October 2015 - 10

of the agent; b is the available memory space of the
agent; r c means a role that the agent is currently
playing; if it is empty, then this agent is free; R p
means a set of roles that the agent is potentially to
play (rc b a.R p); R o means a set of roles that the
agent played before; N g means a set of groups to
which the agent belongs.
We use a to express a specific agent and A to
express the set of all agents. All the current and potential roles of agent a (i.e., a.R p , {a.rc}) form its repository
role set. If a.rc is empty, then a is currently free. In fact,
an agent is a role player. This definition leaves space to
express the traditional agent concept. In E-CARGO, we
could conduct "divide and conquer" and "optimizations"
to deal with collaboration problems among agents. In the
context of ACSs, agents are independent software or
hardware components that have abilities to do jobs specified by roles. In this article, we do not concentrate on
the internal behavior of agents.
◆ Definition 3: An environment [15]-[18], [20], [21] is
defined as e ::= , where: id is the identification of the environment; R e is a finite set of roles
(in e); is the shared object for all roles in R e; B (symbolized by the letter "b" from the word base), called the
role requirement, is a finite set of tuples
consisting of roles and related parameters,
i.e., , where r ! R e is a role, q is
the role range (also called cardinalities; it is
symbolized by the letter "q" from requirements, because "r" and "e" have been used)
expressed by  and tells how many
agents must (l, i.e., the "l" from lower
bound) and may (u, i.e., the "u" from upper
bound) play r in this environment, and w !
[0, 1] is the weight of role r in this environment e; and Ce is the class of objects shared
Yes!
by the role players in a group built on e.
◆ Definition 4: A group [15]-[18], [20],
[21] is defined as g = < id, e, A g, J >
where: id is the identification of the
group; e is an environment for the
Is
group to work in; A g is a finite set of
Re-Evaluation
Needed?
agents (in g); and J (symbolized by
the "j" from junction) is a finite set of
tuples consisting of agents and roles,
i.e., J = {< a, r > a ! A g, r ! e.R e} .
Note that in the above definitions, Ac,
A
,
and Ao in a role and rc, and Rp in an
p
No!
agent are empty or null before a group is
formed. These elements are used to
express the dynamic properties of agents
and roles.

messages including M in and M out , where M in
expresses the incoming messages to the relevant
agents and M out expresses a set of outgoing messages or message templates to roles; s is the qualification
requirement for an agent to play this role; d is the
credit requirement for an agent to play this role; a is
the space specification for an agent to play this role;
b is the time specification for an agent to play this
role; A c is a set of agents who are currently playing
this role; A p is a set of agents who are qualified to
play this role; A o is a set of agents who used to play
this role; R r is a set of roles interrelated with this
role; and Or is a set of objects that can be accessed by
the agents playing this role.
We use r to express a specific role and R the set of all
roles. Roles are entities that represent a combination of
responsibilities, rights, and objects that can be concentrated or ignored based on concrete applications.
◆ Definition 2: An agent [15]-[18], [20], [21] is defined
as a ::= , where: id is
the identification of the agent; c is a special class
that describes the common properties of agents; s is
the qualification value of the agent; V is a set of services provided by the agent; a is the available time

Start
Yes!

Role Negotiation

Abort
Is it
Negotiable?

No!

Is There an
Agreement?
Yes!

No!

Agent Evaluation

Role Assignment
No!

Role Transfer
Yes!
Can
Roles
Transfer?

Role Playing

Yes!

No!

Is There a
Problem?
No!
Is the
Collaboration
Done?
Yes!
End

Figure 1. the life cycle of rbC.
10

IEEE SyStEmS, man, & CybErnEtICS magazInE October 2015

What Is AC?
To clearly specify what AC is, some more
definitions are required as follows.



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