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PhD scholarship in Multi-Agent Systems (CS), Montpellier (France)

Title: Towards an agent oriented programming language
Laboratory : LIRMM (
Research Team : Kayou (
Supervisors : Dr. Abdelkader GOUAICH (), Prof. Stefano A. CERRI ()
Duration: 3 years

How to candidate: Send an email to or with your CV. Deadline for completing official application files: 30 MAI 2008

Thesis description:

The research question of this thesis is about facilitating the design the implementation of flexible and autonomous embedded and communicating software systems by using the multi-agent systems (MAS) paradigm. In fact, as a paradigm for building flexible distributed software systems, multi-agent systems (MAS) define some fundamental concepts such as: autonomous agent, environment, interaction and organization and this thesis suggest offering MAS design and implementation frameworks through a domain specific language (DSL)

The state of art of agent oriented programming languages shows that few programming models specific to MAS have been proposed and most of existing languages have been deeply inspired by dominant programming paradigms such as logic programming and object-oriented programming. By reusing existing programming paradigms, some of fundamental features of MAS are neglected or challenged. For instance, autonomy of agents is seriously challenged when working within object oriented or active objects frameworks.

Besides, concepts such as environment, organization, coordination and dialogues are not explicitly reified as first-class entities within the programming language. These facts contribute in deepening the gap between the theoretical and conceptual MAS models and their implementations.

The approach proposed by this thesis is to explicitly reify fundamental concepts of MAS in an agent programming language. The programming process can then be viewed as establishing an explicit dialog between a programmer, playing the role of a controller, and the software agent playing the role of an autonomous system to be controlled.  This process is interactive: the (human) programmer instructs the (artificial) agent how to behave in different situations; conversely the artificial agent reports to the human supervisor about its run time experiences.

The first stage of the thesis will establish the state of art of techniques and theories used for specification and implementation of MAS. The second stage will propose an agent oriented programming language including its corresponding operational semantics. Finally, a third stage will present an evaluation of the proposed framework through experimentation within the domain of embedded and networked systems.

Candidates interested by this thesis are kindly invited to send an email in order to submit the formal application documents and engage in the selection procedure.

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